One of the biggest struggles that all UX professionals face is understanding user needs. Users often surprise UX designers with their different expectations and reactions when using products or services. To manage this information gap, we need to collect user feedback and gather relevant data.
In this article, I’ll first cover the reasons why user feedback and data are important in UX design. I’ll also explore some of the best ways of collecting this information and provide some examples of how to apply your learnings. Read more to keep learning.
The Benefits of User Feedback and Data in UX Design
Understanding the fundamentals of how user feedback matters can give you greater clarity as you learn how to apply this feedback throughout your UX design process. You must also learn about the best ways of collecting user data. Here are a few reasons why user feedback is critical and how it benefits not just your design process but your business overall:
Connect user goals to business goals. While the user is at the center of the UX design process, you can’t ignore your business’s goals. Having a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs and activities can help you match business goals with users’ needs.
Improve user satisfaction. With the right data, you can leverage user feedback to identify painpoints in the user journey and improve them. This leads to better overall satisfaction with your product or service.
Enhance usability. User feedback and data can show you where users struggle the most with a user interface, enabling you to make the necessary adjustments to create a smoother experience.
Test your assumptions. Sometimes UX designers have ideas they think are great, but that do not resonate well with users. Collecting feedback from real users lets you test your assumptions and make evidence-based decisions instead of relying on guesswork.
Save time and money. While it might seem like collecting user feedback just uses up more resources, the process ultimately saves time and money by allowing you to make informed design decisions that result in fewer revisions and rework in the long run.
As you can see, gathering feedback and other user data is critical to informing your design process. Understanding your users better can lead to better decision-making and result in a more effective app or Web site.
5 Effective Ways of Collecting User Feedback and Data
Before considering the best ways of collecting user feedback, there are two essential steps that you must complete:
Define a research goal. What do you want to accomplish by gathering user feedback and data? Do you want to make your app or site easier to use, or do you want to increase conversions? Are you trying to fix bugs or something else? It’s critical that you start by knowing what your overall goal is.
Be clear about your target user. You must focus your feedback-collection methods by approaching your target user base to get their responses. Therefore, you need to know who your users are. Are they gamers? Millennials? Young professionals or a group with a specific interest? The better defined your audience, the more useful and accurate feedback data will be.
Once you’ve defined these elements in detail, let them guide your overall research process. Now, let’s consider five effective ways of collecting user feedback.
1. Surveys and Questionnaires
Surveys and questionnaires are two of the most popular ways of collecting user data. You can distribute them through various means, including email, social media, and on-site pop-ups. The key is to keep them short and the questions relevant to your research goal.
An easy way of setting up a survey is to use a flexible online form tool that makes building surveys easy and, for your users, easy to answer, as the example in Figure 1 shows. You can easily embed a survey on your Web site and send an email invitation to your target audience.
Think of a time when you downloaded a new app and got a follow-up email message asking about your experience. Perhaps you responded to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey or provided open-ended feedback. Similarly, you can create a survey and learn more about how people experience your company’s product, app, or site.
2. Running Polls
Polls are another effective tool for collecting user feedback and data. Participating in a poll is quick, easy, and often more engaging for users. One advantage of conducting polls is that they allow real-time feedback, so you can get insights into user preferences and decisions instantaneously.
Some tools integrate visual elements into polls, which can significantly enhance your data-collection efforts. For example, check out the poll in Figure 2, which asks users to choose between two color schemes. In this case, users chose a clear favorite—Option B—which made it easier for the UX designer to design the rest of the app. You can also conduct polls to do brand market research, which is a critical input to your designs.
It’s smart to get feedback on different design elements as you build your prototype. By getting feedback from the start, you can create your designs on a solid foundation.
3. Conducting Focus Groups
Focus groups are another useful way of collecting user feedback. They involve holding a group discussion with a set number of participants, who can share their thoughts and opinions on a particular product or service.
The key benefit of focus groups is that they can provide in-depth insights into user behaviors, preferences, and attitudes, so can be particularly helpful in gathering qualitative data that provides feedback on different UX design elements.
However, you must select your participants carefully and ensure diversity within the group. It’s also crucial to have an experienced moderator who can guide the discussion effectively. Managing a focus group can be complicated. Consider leveraging online focus groups instead conducting a focus group face to face.
You can reach out to your audience, or user base, and ask people to share their time in return for some benefit. For example, you could offer people a discount on their next purchase or a free trial of your product in exchange for participating in the focus group.
Then, all you need is a video-conferencing tool, a calendar tool, and your prepared questions, and off you go. Record the session and take notes for later review.
4. Analyzing User Behaviors
Collecting user feedback doesn’t always have to involve directly asking users for their opinions. You can also accrue valuable insights by analyzing users’ behaviors on your app or Web site.
For example, track click-through rates, bounce rates, and the time users spent on different pages to understand how they navigate through your site. You can get this information from Google Analytics or your app’s dashboard on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Heat maps are another option that can help you see which parts of a page are getting the most attention from users. Tools such as Hotjar can help you get more data on user activities in this way. You can identify areas where users struggle or lose interest, giving you insights into potential improvements.
Figure 3 shows a heat map that reveals user behaviors in an app. A case study by Hotjar helped identify distracting sign-up text, an under-utilized call-to-action (CTA) button, and other issues. By making a few changes based on the right user feedback, this app increased conversions by 40%.
A/B testing is another way of analyzing user behaviors and preferences. By testing different versions of your designs, you can see what resonates best with users and make informed design decisions that are based on data. Doing this provides similar benefits to running polls.
Alternatively, you can create a minimum-viable-product (MVP) version of your design, then conduct a user-behavior analysis, using the methods I’ve outlined here to test its usability. There are many ways of gathering user feedback, but you don’t have to gather it directly from users.
5. Doing Desk Research
Desk research, or secondary research, is a powerful yet straightforward method of gathering valuable user feedback. Actively monitor what people are saying about your brand or product in online reviews, social-media comments, and in various online communities.
By carefully listening to your audience, you can gain crucial insights into their experiences and preferences—essentially by listening in on people as they chat about your app or Web site. You can get useful clues about their experiences, which can feed into your design decisions.
How can you conduct desk research effectively? While you could manually sort through social-media comments, forum posts, blog content, YouTube reviews, and other user-generated content (UGC), you would be best served by using a media-monitoring tool such as BuzzSumo or Mention. For social media, use HootSuite or Buffer. These tools consolidate information from across the Web into a single dashboard on which you can find helpful information.
This approach to research lets you tap into the wealth of information that is present in user-generated content, comments, and online reviews, giving you a much deeper understanding of how users perceive your design solutions.
You can collect user feedback and other relevant user data at any point in the UX design process. By collecting such data early on, when building a Web site, app, or product experience from the ground up, you can gather users’ feedback and embed what users want and need into every aspect of your work. You can also collect such information midway through your design process or even at the end, at launch. Then use this data to improve any area of your design that needs it.
There’s always room for improvement. When incorporating helpful feedback from users, make sure you find the method that works best for you. In this article, I’ve shared several methods that I hope you’ll find helpful. Apply what you’ve learned to create a navigable, user-friendly experience that not only serves your audience but also your business.
As the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site, Syed is one of the leading WordPress experts in the industry, with over ten years of experience,. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social-media networks. Read More