CX Insights

The Future Of UCD: Conducting Remote User Research Successfully

6 min read

In times of constant technological advancements, high competition, and fast development cycles, time is getting short for extensive user research. Most companies today lack both time and resources for comprehensive in-person user testing. Which used to be the state of the art, is now getting out of style.

Time for a new, more contemporary approach to user research. A more flexible approach to adapt to the high speed of our time. It needs to be quick, simple, and seamlessly fit into an already optimized development process. The solution is simple: Automated remote user research.

Here are different solutions for doing remote user research in the different phases of your design process.

Phase 1: Gaining initial user insights

Before getting started on your design project — be it a redesign, or something entirely new — you need to learn as much about your users as possible. Who are they? What are their goals? How do they go about reaching these goals? The best way yet to draw a clear picture of who your users are is to simply ask them.

Run visual online surveys

Set up a visual survey with your existing design and ask people how they like it. Ask open questions and gather as much feedback as possible. You can also test how intuitive people think your design is. Find out what exactly people like or dislike about your current design and if they can find all relevant content.

Results of a Usabilla Survey identifying elements that build trust on this website.

To gather insights for an entirely new project, go ahead and test your first ideas based on paper sketches or rough wireframes. You can easily find out if people like your idea, if they understand your layout, and most of all if they have ideas or suggestions to help you improve your design right from the beginning.

If you don’t have a user base yet, or a big number of social media followers, check out our online panel service for high quality respondents for your online survey.

Gather real-time user feedback

Do you already have a live website and you are planning a redesign? Then make sure you ask your visitors what they think should be improved. With Usabilla Live, people can easily share their feedback with you while browsing your website. Gather compliments, bug reports, and suggestions for improvements — all valuable input for your redesign.

Visitors leave significantly more feedback if asked to do so with a personal message.

Phase 2: Verifying design concepts

In the next phase of your design process, you should verify your ideas. Have you drawn the right conclusions from your initial analysis? Have you translated your insights into an appealing and usable design? Is it safe to go ahead and build your website based on your current design concept?

Test static designs

Again, ask your prospective or potential users what they think. If you have a final design, set up a Usabilla Survey and invite as many people as possible to share their thoughts with you. This way, you not only verify your ideas, you might also get input for further improvements. Also, you can check whether or not certain expectations or doubts about your design are reasonable.

Results of a performance measure of different calls to action with Usabilla Survey.

Do you have different design alternatives and you don’t know which one works better? Set up an A/B or multivariate test and find out. With a simple performance measure, and open questions regarding personal preferences, you can identify and eliminate weak versions of your design in no time.

Gather live feedback in online test environment

Usabilla Survey is a great way to gather feedback from our customers based on early stage design versions, such as wireframes and mockups. — M. Besseling, Senior Interaction Designer,

Are you working with an online test environment? And are you curious what your employees or a closed group of Beta users think of your design? Why not place the Live Feedback button within your test environment and ask them? Giving someone the feeling that their opinion matters can be very motivating — leaving you with a bunch of constructive feedback.

Phase 3: Testing your live website

At one point, you have to jump in at the deep end and go live with your product or website. This does not mean you are off the hook in terms of user-testing. An up-to date and usable website, which additionally strives towards a great user experience, requires a continuous focus on the user.

Connect with your website visitors

Usabilla Live was built with that exact goal in mind — to help you keep your visitors in sight at all times. The visual and straightforward Live technology offers your visitors a fun and easy way to share their feedback about any part of your website. At the same time, you can analyze the feedback in real-time and learn what your visitors like or dislike on your site.

Continuously improve the overall user experience of your website and increase your conversion.

With Usabilla Live, you continuously improve the overall user experience of your website and increase your conversion:

  • Identify and fix bugs quickly
  • Analyze emotional trends on your site
  • Learn about your visitors
  • Connect with your visitors and generate leads
  • Gather ideas for improvements
  • Validate design decisions

Targeted insights with Campaigns

Are you only interested in a particular group of visitors? Then start a campaign and target visitors only if they match certain criteria. For example, you can target first time visitors, visitors to a specific page, or visitors with a high engagement. This way, you can conduct very effective user research with only a limited group of site visitors.

Usabilla Live was built with the goal to help you get in touch with your visitors.

With Live campaigns, you can (1) address your visitors with a personal message to boost the number of feedback responses. (2) Invite your visitors to participate in an external survey, such as a visual Usabilla Survey. This can be handy, if you want to run a survey among recurring visitors of your site. (3) Run a quick slide-out poll, or a full exit survey on your site to learn more about your visitors. Check out these 10 easy ways to gain targeted insights into the user behaviour for some inspiration.

Automed user research is for everyone

The good thing about automated user research is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to be a usability expert with years of experience to ask your visitors what they think. Just make sure you get familiar with some key concepts of remote user research before you get started.

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Sabina Idler
Sabina was technical writer & UXer @Usabilla for 5 years before she started her own UX research and consultancy firm; UXkids. With UXkids, Sabina leverages her academic research expertise, know how in child development, and strategic vision to help companies build successful digital products for children. You can connect with Sabina on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter.