UX Research Strategies + SEA Case Studies

May 21, 2023 | UX Strategy & Planning

In today’s digital age, user experience (UX) plays a pivotal role in shaping the success of products and services. 

To create exceptional user experiences, businesses must gain deep insights into their target audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviours. 

UX design is crucial to creating products that are user-centred, intuitive and enjoyable to use. As such, it’s important for businesses to understand their customer’s problems and expectations, and then tweak their products to optimise the user experience. 

This is where UX research strategies come into play, allowing companies to uncover invaluable user insights that drive informed decisions.

The blog aims to emphasise the importance of UX research strategies with the help of two case studies from South East Asia (Neitzen’s clients).

What is UX research?

UX research, or user experience research, is a process of understanding user behaviour, and motivations in order to design and improve products, services, or systems so that they meet user needs and expectations. 

This means the goal of UX research is to provide insights into how users interact with products, services, or systems and to identify opportunities for improvement.

UX research can take two forms, including qualitative research methods such as:

  • Contextual inquiries
  • User interviews 
  • Card sorting
  • Usability testing
  • Field studies/diary studies
  • Focus groups
  • User persona creation
  • Tree testing
  • Heuristic evaluation/UX audit

The second form involves, quantitative research methods, such as:

  •  A/B testing
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Digital analytics
  • First click testing
  • Website intercepts

All these methods are used, sometimes in tandem, to gather data and feedback from users throughout the design and development process. This can further be analysed to identify patterns and trends in user behaviour, needs, and motivations. 

For more details on UX research and methods, read here.

The importance of UX research

User research is a systematic approach to understanding users, their behaviours, needs, and preferences. 

By delving deep into it, businesses can gain valuable insights that drive the design and development of products and services that truly resonate with their target audience.

UX research ensures that user needs are at the forefront. This, in turn, leads to intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, enhanced satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, and, ultimately, business success!

Here are some key reasons highlighting the importance of UX research:

Understanding user needs

By conducting user interviews, surveys, and usability testing, UX researchers can uncover user pain points, preferences, and goals. This knowledge feeds the design process and ensures that the final product or service meets user expectations.

Designing user-centred experiences

By involving users in UX research early on and throughout the development cycle, designers can incorporate their feedback and insights to create user-centred experiences. This will help you create products and services that are more intuitive, easy to use, and relevant to the target audience.

Identifying usability issues

By observing how users interact with a product or service, UX researchers can pinpoint areas of confusion, usability issues and bottlenecks. This way, designers and developers can make iterative improvements and create a more seamless and enjoyable user experience.

Validating design decisions

UX research provides a data-driven approach to design decision-making. By testing design concepts, prototypes, or wireframes with real users, researchers can gather feedback and validate design decisions. This reduces the risk of making assumptions and ensures that design choices are grounded in user insights.

Enhancing conversion and engagement

A well-designed user experience can significantly impact conversion rates and user engagement. UX research helps in identifying barriers to conversion, optimising user flows, and improving user engagement so that researchers can make informed recommendations to enhance key interactions and drive desired user actions.

Mitigating risk and reducing costs

Investing in UX research early in the design process helps identify issues and nip them in the bud. This allows organisations to mitigate risks, reduce costly redesigns, and avoid negative user experiences that could harm their reputation and business outcomes.

UX Research Tools

To create exceptional user experiences, UX researchers rely on a variety of powerful tools to gather data, analyse interactions, and make informed design decisions. The insights they gain regarding user behaviour, preferences, and needs are a great asset in optimising their designs accordingly. 

In general, these tools can be broadly sorted into the following categories: 

  • Active Research (Ex. Usability testing, specialised testing, surveys)
  • Passive Insights (Ex. Analytics, A/B testing, automated feedback)
  • Insights Management (Transcription, research repository, note-taking)
  • Design (Wireframing, brainstorming, prototyping)
  • Research Ops (Scheduling, recruiting, payment)

Check out our list of UX research tools and their benefits. 

What is a UX research strategy?

Even the best team needs a plan that funnels their efforts into the right places. 

A UX research strategy outlines the goals, methods, and approach for conducting user research and provides a framework for systematically gathering insights, including checkpoints, objectives and best practices. 

Let’s look at a step-by-step plan for developing your own UX research strategy.

Step 1: Define research objectives

Clearly articulate the goals and objectives of your research. Involve any stakeholders and organisational leaders in the discussion so that you can identify what specific insights you aim to gain from the research, and how they align with the project or business goals. 

Ensure that your objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Step 2: Conduct market research

Apart from finding out the target audience and market demand for your product, the most important element of UX research is cataloguing the field’s best practices. Not only will a well-defined set of principles keep your team’s progress consistent and on track, but it will also ensure that the data collected follows an approved ethical and methodological standard.

Step 3: Allocate resources

Consider the resources needed to execute your research strategy. Determine the required budget, form a research timeline, and start assembling a team for respondent recruitment, research activities, data analysis, and reporting. Ensure that you have the necessary tools and technology in place to support your research efforts effectively.

Step 4: Research, iterate, repeat

As you conduct research and gain new insights, iterate and refine your strategy accordingly. Incorporate feedback and learnings into future research efforts to continuously improve the effectiveness of your UX research strategy.

Netizen’s UX research case studies in SEA (South East Asia)

Case Study 1- Insurance company in SEA

An insurance company in SEA was seeking to digitise its product customer journey but faced several challenges with its mobile sales kit app. For example, policyholders and agents were unable to use the digital tools provided in that app with the ease and efficiency they’d anticipated. 

As the company has recognised the need to engage with these stakeholders–including business managers, agents, and policyholders–in order to develop products that met their expectations, we were tasked to tackle these challenges. 

After carrying out user research to engage with agent panels and understand their workflow, we gathered feedback to guide how the internal tools should be designed and tailored to their needs. 

This approach enabled us to identify user pain points and areas for improvement in the agent experience, gaining insights to further improve the product app. 

Not only that, we also conducted usability testing to consistently engage with policyholders while testing new concepts, prototypes, and service flow for the customer app. 

Our user research strategy, including user testing, helped identify areas for improvement and ensured that the app is user-friendly and intuitive.

In conclusion, our approach to digital transformation for the insurance company involved a continuous process of engagement with the users and feedback gathering from all stakeholders. 

By understanding the needs of agents and policyholders, we were able to create targeted UX research strategies and design digital tools that meet their needs and expectations to provide a positive user experience.

Case Study 2- Private Sector Bank in the SEA

A renowned private bank that relied on its website for banking services needed to compare the UX performance between the existing and new versions of its website’s design before launching to its large customer base of 10 million registered users. 

As such, we were tasked to analyse the UX performance of the new design as well as to create UX research strategies to make any improvements that were needed. 

One of the technical challenges for this project was that the new design prototype was only accessible via the bank clients’ network, making it impossible for us to test the prototype online. 

To solve this issue, we shifted our user research approach and conducted it in person at clients’ offices instead. Our next UX strategy in order to better analyse UX performance, was to conduct usability testing to get insights on the new design’s usability for the customers compared to the existing website design.

Further, to further improve quality assurance and deliver a better experience for the users, we made sure to conduct usability testing on both desktop and mobile, since different platform users tend to have different user experiences. 

Continuous usability tests were conducted over many weeks, and insights were fed to the design team for continuous design iteration and improvement. 

Our systematic UX strategies and implementation helped manage the risk of launching a defective user interface, which could have caused major embarrassment for the bank and frustration for millions of users. 

By continuously testing and iterating the design, this private bank was able to ensure that the new website design was user-friendly and met the needs of its customers before launching it to its large customer base.

Conclusion

UX research is a critical component in creating user-centred and intuitive products. By understanding user behaviour, needs, and motivations through qualitative and quantitative research methods, businesses can optimise the user experience and meet user expectations. 

In the realm of user experience (UX) design, the use of effective research strategies is paramount to understanding user needs and preferences. 

This blog explores the world of UX research strategies, specifically through our captivating case studies from South East Asian Countries. By delving into the proven UX methodologies, we uncover how UX research drives informed design decisions and transformed the way businesses create digital experiences.

Reach out to us at Netizen Experience for creating UX research strategies and planning for your next project!

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