User Interface Design (UI) Explained For Beginners

User Interface Design (UI) Explained For Beginners

Learn the basics of User Interface Design (UI) in this beginner’s video.

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Snapchat Up During COVID-19, Data Shows How User Behavior is Changing

Snapchat Up During COVID-19, Data Shows How User Behavior is Changing

Snapchat gained 11 million daily active users in the first quarter of 2020, bringing the total count to 229 million.

An additional 11 million daily active users (DAUs) represents a 20% increase over last year.

Engagement hit record highs as well.

On average, more than 4 billion Snaps were created each day in Q1 2020.

As people flock to Snapchat to stay in touch amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has published data about how users’ online activity is changing during this time.

Here are some key highlights from the report.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Snapchat Users

Engagement hits all-time highs

By far, people are turning to Snapchat as a way to stay connected with people face-to-face.

Time spent voice and video calling has grown by more than 50% during late March compared to late February.

During the same period, group chat engagement reached an all-time high.

The number of snaps sent between friends reached new highs as well, exceeding Snapchat’s typical peaks on Christmas and other major holidays.

Time spent with Snapchat’s unique features is up

Users are finding new ways to stay occupied on the Snapchat platform.

Time spent with games, AR lenses, and Snapchat shows is all up.

“We’re seeing highly elevated engagement in Snap Games, with our highest figures since launch for overall time spent, player count, and usage of in-game social features like Voice and Chat.”

Users are spending more time playing around with with Snapchat’s various lenses, with usage up 25% during late March compared to late February.

Time spent watching Snapchat Shows is higher than ever, the company says.

In particular, content within the News, Health & Wellness, and Gaming categories are seeing increases in engagement.

What else are Snapchat users doing?

Snapchat released data on what their users are doing off the platform, according to survey and location data gathered in mid-March.

Snapchat users are staying inside:

  • 73% Lower University and School Attendance
  • 29% Fewer Bar Visits
  • 22% Fewer Air Travelers
  • 59% Fewer Music Venue Visitors
  • 41% Fewer Gym Trips

Snapchat users are changing their habits:

  • 62% are streaming more
  • 21% are shopping more
  • 38% are gaming more
  • 23% are ordering more food delivery

Snapchat users are consuming more content:

  • 39% are consuming more online news
  • 39% are watching more TV
  • 29% are spending more time on social media

Ad Revenue Declining

Despite Snapchat usage reaching all-time highs in several categories, ad revenue is down month over month.

Snapchat’s year-over-year growth in ad revenue from January and February reached 58%, which dropped to 25% in March.

As Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel notes, advertising is down due to the pandemic:

“While many advertising budgets declined due to COVID-19, we experienced high revenue growth rates in the first two months of the quarter which offset our lower growth in March.

These high growth rates in the beginning of the quarter reflect our investments in our audience, ad products, and optimization, and give us confidence in our ability to grow revenue over the long term.”

Spiegel remains confident, however, saying the company will shift resources as necessary to better serve advertisers.

Sources: Snapchat (1, 2)

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User centered design

How to Use PWA and AMP for User Centered Design — Front End Development

In our previous post on creating user centered design flows, we saw how you can build a user centered design strategy for your clients and why it’s so impactful. A lot of what we covered in that article comes down on common sense: it makes sense to design user flows in a way that helps the user in their purchase journey. 

But if it’s so logical, why then is this not the standard way of doing things? Why aren’t all brands doing it? The answer lies in how software has evolved and how brands use technology. In this post, we will dive deeper into the technical challenges involved in putting the end customer at the center of design. Given how critical it is to the shopper purchase journey, we will also discuss building the mobile experience, from the perspective of the new technologies that are now at your disposal for implementing user centered design: PWA and AMP.

The technical challenges of a user centered design strategy

As important as it is, the challenges of building a user centered design strategy can deter brands and the designers, developers, and marketers who work with them. There are two main technical roadblocks they come up against.

1. Understanding the user

As we’ve said previously, the best brands have a deep understanding of how their customers interact with them, down to the last detail. In an ideal world, a brand wanting to implement user centered design would have all their customer data in one place, to better inform their design decisions. All their data from retail stores and online storefronts would feed a single data source. All business activities such as logistics, inventory management, fulfillment, customer support, and post-delivery experience would be controlled by a single source of truth. That way, building a coherent picture of the user journey would be straightforward. This, however, is far from what businesses really get, and the reason is quite fundamental.

“In an ideal world, a brand wanting to implement user centered design would have all their customer data in one place.”

Software is hard to build, and software companies consequently spend a large amount of time developing expertise in just one area. There are dozens of software providers each solving a unique problem. A business owner looking to understand their user now has to work with all these different providers for their data. Data is the new gold, and so software providers try to find all the ways possible to lock people into their ecosystem. This makes bringing data together a nightmare for business owners. 

Thankfully, things have changed significantly now. Software providers have realized that integration is a fundamental software need. Excellent silos are silos nonetheless. 

2. Finding the right solution for the problem

Once a potential point of friction is discovered in the user journey, the next step is to identify potential solutions. For example, if you find out that shoppers are dropping off during the checkout flow, you then need to think of ways in which that flow can be smoothed out. 

Given how ubiquitous software is today, it’s generally not hard to find solutions to a problem. The challenge instead is often in getting the new solution to play well with the rest of the infrastructure. The new solution has to push relevant data into the existing CMS, has to ingest data and events from the rest of the system, has to maintain the overall branding and positioning of the business, and has to abide by the legal requirements. Finding solutions that do all of these is hard. 

You might also like: Creating User Centered Flows in Ecommerce Design.

The main principles of support user centered design

Now that we understand why implementing user centered design is hard for brands, let’s go over the principles that you should follow while designing technical solutions to help change that. 

1. Build a headless/API-first product

Competitive advantage is necessary for businesses. However, if natural forces demand a different approach to building software, you should be willing to tweak what constitutes your competitive advantage. More and more, it makes sense to give the business owner complete control over their data. This means that right from the beginning, there should be an emphasis on building a generic layer of software that allows third-party software to consume your data, given that’s what merchants want today.

At Swym, we call this our eventstream. As events such as adding products to a wishlist, adding products to a cart, or purchasing products happen on a store, we push these events to the eventstream. Now, other pieces of software can subscribe to this eventstream and consume the data that they are interested in. This generic implementation allows us to extend our integrations with several different providers effortlessly. Whenever a merchant request comes in, all we need to do is subscribe to our eventstream and push the data that the merchant is interested in into the provider’s APIs.

The UI layer should also build on the same guidelines. Merchants using your software should have complete control over the UI manifestation of the software. When a merchant is implementing a user centered design strategy, they will have a very clear picture of the user flows they need. Like we discussed in the last post, these flows are unique. Software we build should have the flexibility to accommodate these custom flows. At Swym, we have an extensive JavaScript API that allows merchants to dictate the complete user experience of our apps. Additionally, our UI layer is built using modular components, each of which can be overridden both with respect to the look and feel and with respect to the business logic.

2. Surface usable data

To help merchants build a user centered design strategy, it’s important for you to think about what data points the merchant might need to get the complete picture of what the user did. For example, whenever we push data about a wishlist event on the eventstream, we also add baseline product data to the event. This is important because the merchant might want to know what price the customer saw when they wishlisted a product. 

“The best way to surface usable data is to understand what the merchant intends to do with the data downstream.”

We have iterated with merchants several times on the data they need, and we have seen that the best way to surface usable data is to understand what the merchant intends to do with the data downstream. We have seen some very interesting use-cases come up during such discussions.

You might also like: Research 101: How to Conduct Market Research for Your App.

3. Document your API

An undocumented API is as good as no API at all. For a third party software provider, your software should be easy to integrate into. We have seen time and again that APIs that are well documented and that are available to go look at and play with tend to be loved by developers. 

4. Aid with buyer education

In our experience, helping buyers understand how to use your product is very important if your product is buyer-facing. At Swym, we saw this first hand when we built a feature that allows buyers to create collections in wishlists. With this feature, buyers can create sublists within the wishlist and organize their wishlisted items in whichever way they like. 

Most of the merchants who used this product wrote help text or sent an email to their shoppers to tell them that this new feature had come up. Our educational material helps buyers better understand how to take advantage of this feature.

Without thinking deliberately about shopper education, even great features can underperform. There are several ways of tackling this problem, including creating short onboarding flows, adding help text to icons, providing helpful error messages, creating short video tutorials, etc.

You might also like: 10 Ecommerce Trends That Will Set Your Client’s Brand Apart in 2020.

Technical implementation of user centered design

Now that we have talked about the general challenges of implementing a user centered design strategy and how you can help merchants create one, let’s look at a specific example: building a mobile experience for a merchant through the lens of user centered design. This example will highlight the methodology and the technical details of how technologies need to interplay to give that wow experience to shoppers.

Understanding the problems today

Let’s start with the extremely overused but the most accurate representation of any ecommerce business’s audience: a typical sales funnel.

The sales funnel follows this path:

  • Acquisition: Users discover a site from a Facebook or Instagram ad, or a blog post the merchant published, or a video the merchant uploaded on YouTube. 
  • Conversion: If they like what they see, they make a purchase or agree to give the merchant their contact information. Once they do, we know they are interested in the offering, so we try to market more products to them. 
  • Retention: If the buyer had a positive experience, they might even become the brand’s ambassadors and talk about it on social media. They might suggest products the merchant should add to the inventory, features they should add to the site, or report bugs that they encounter.

Let’s dissect what the shopper expects at each of these phases with respect to user experience. 

1. When the shopper is just jumping in

When the user is just jumping off from social media, the top priorities are the following:

  • Show the landing page quickly. This is a user who was interrupted in the midst of a social media session and might be interacting up-close with your client’s brand for the first time. First impressions matter. Making sure that first page loads fast is critical. If it doesn’t, it is highly likely that you’ll lose the shopper even before they saw the merchant’s offerings.
  • Show them what they came for. It’s important to match the shopper’s intent based on what they clicked on with what you show them when they land on the site. This is easier said than done. You might be running several different campaigns concurrently, targeted at different audiences and with different CTAs. One campaign might be to help the merchant’s email contact list, another to promote a new product, and some other might be trying to drive traffic to a recently published blog. With such diversity of campaigns being run, it’s very difficult to present the right copy to the right user, especially when the merchant is running on a tight performance budget. Despite these challenges, it’s important. Landing site copy that matches the shopper’s intent is shown to convert much better than general landing pages.

2. When the shopper is learning more

This is the stage when the user returns to your client’s site to view more products. Sometimes they are pulled back to the site through an email marketing campaign, Google search, or direct lookup. In these situations, the following are top priorities:

  • Show the page fast. This remains a priority, given that 53 percent of traffic will bounce if nothing shows up for 3 seconds. This time though, the loading challenge is quite different from the last time. As the user is flowing deeper into the sales funnel, they are looking to explore everything on offer, including all the collections, offers, rewards programs, shipping times, etc.
  • Make shopping easy. What this means to the user comes in two forms:
      • Extensive personalization: Repeat visitors to a site expect extensive personalization: they want shipping address autofills on their future purchases, they would like recommendations based on their browsing activity, they want to be notified when an out-of-stock product back in stock, and they would like this context to flow into whichever medium they are on.
      • Make browsing easy: Users expect tools that aid their exploration, such as search, wishlists, recently-viewed, social feeds (eg. Instagram), reviews, and even Q&A widgets. 

Now that we have seen what the user’s expectations are, the next question is to determine how far along we are, and whether shoppers are getting the experience they expect.

The danger of a one size fits all approach

We have been working with ecommerce merchants for more than four years now, and time and again, we have seen one single culprit for lousy user experiences.

“From a user centered design perspective, user experience should be dictated by where the user is in the sales funnel.”

All too often, sites are optimized for a single type of user. Most commonly, for a repeat visitor. Ad campaigns drive traffic to a product page that has all the features available on the site. This leads to unnecessary loading of assets that the user is just not ready for. Users are left struggling through pages that take forever to respond, when all they really wanted was see the product images real quick. There is no gatekeeper that dictates what should load and what shouldn’t, and the result is a user experience that suffers from bloat. From a user centered design perspective, user experience should be dictated by where the user is in the sales funnel.

AMP and PWA: A path forward

In the front end development stack, two technologies are making the rounds for revolutionizing user experience. They are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progessive Web Apps (PWA). 

AMP was written off when it came out as “mostly static” and was adopted mainly by media outlets, while PWA was crowned as the next leap in the pursuit of a better UX for interactive experiences. However, PWA wasn’t seen as a replacement for a mobile app. Many wrote it off as a Google thing that would only work on Android and even then, only with limited use-cases.

Over time, it has emerged that both these technologies have a lot more personality to them than anticipated and their boundaries aren’t written in stone. When they were originally launched, each had a specific purpose that it was intended for. The understanding of the use cases that they each help address has evolved, and these technologies have refined themselves to adapt to those needs. The initial judgements passed on their inadequacy for certain types of applications are therefore no longer accurate. Let’s take a fresh look at both AMP and PWA and ask ourselves how they can help us build that ideal experience we talked about in the first part of this blog series.

AMP thought experiment

Assume we were tasked with making an ecommerce site fast for a first-time visitor. What would we do? 

We would probably start stripping things down. We’ll ask “do we really need this” for every script on the site, every stylesheet, every image, and every API call. We might even throw everything away and start from scratch to try and build the same facade as before, with as little as possible. We will try to optimize along two dimensions:

  1. Minimize time taken to perform the first contentful paint
  2. Minimize time to interactive by reducing the JavaScript evaluation that needs to happen on page load

To keep the process focused, we might set a budget and set the threshold time-to-load to 3 seconds or less. This budgeting will force us to make some tough calls—our fancy animations might have to go, all the analytics widgets we had added to the site might have to go, and most of our script tags might have to go.

This is exactly what AMP does. The optimizations we stated above are in line with the two biggest architectural decisions AMP takes:

  1. Custom CSS has to be below 50 kilobytes. This allows AMP to quickly calculate the position and size of elements to be rendered on the page, leading to a faster first contentful paint.
  2. AMP pages can have no script tags. Script tags lead to slower page loads since the browser has to spend a lot of time evaluating the JavaScript. Also, if the rendering of DOM elements is controlled by JavaScript, the user has to wait until all the script tags are fetched and evaluated. This is the primary contributor to lousy experiences. 

It’s funny that this is where the web started—mostly static pages with very little or no JavaScript. As the web began to unravel interaction, JavaScript began to do more and more work until we got to where we are today, where most websites simply fall flat in the absence of JavaScript. 

Coming back to AMP, coupled with a Google-backed cache, AMP helps websites gain near-instant load times (<1 second). In less than a year, you will find almost all media publications running an AMP site. Why then, has ecommerce not jumped on AMP?

You might also like: Indexable PWAs: Making Progressive Web Apps Perform for Users and Search Engines.

Reconsidering AMP for ecommerce

Some of ecommerce’s core scenarios depend largely on interaction. For example, a user will want to scroll through product images, pick a variant, add it to cart, etc. Also, ecommerce relies heavily on analytics—merchants measure every aspect of the user experience. This data is then used to fine tune the audience, build a personalization suite, and ultimately sell more. 

When AMP came out, pulling off these use-cases was simply not possible. Over time, AMP has added a thin layer of interaction controlled by the core library that allows developers to build image carousels and variant selectors, load data from remote sources, maintain application state, and add analytics. The rules are still quite stringent—building a truly interactive experience is well out of reach, and that’s exactly the point. It is a tool optimized for first-time visitors. As of today, all the use-cases that make sense for first-time visitors are supported by AMP.

PWA thought experiment

A shopper using a mobile app to browse a shopping site is three times as likely to convert as a shopper using the mobile website.

User centered design: conversions for mobile versus app
Conversion rates on a mobile browser versus an app (image from a Branch and Criteo webinar).

Clearly, mobile apps are able to provide an experience that’s superior to mobile sites. This can be credited to the following features of mobile apps:

  1. Superior performance supported by smart caching
  2. Offline browsing 
  3. Notifications support
  4. Ability to create richer experiences, such as an augmented-reality based try-on tool for glasses 

Unfortunately, apps as we know them suffer from three major shortcomings: 

    1. User has to download it from an app store. Apps live in their own ecosystem, which has very little to do with your mobile site. Even if a user lands on the mobile site, you are forced to redirect them to the app store to download the app. This is friction that many of your users won’t tolerate. 
    2. Users have a threshold for the number of apps on their phone. An average smartphone user installs close to 40 apps on their phone. This means thousands of apps compete to be one of those 40 spots. With apps like Uber and WhatsApp that have become a part of the daily lives of users, even fewer spots remain.
    3. Making apps is expensive. Building apps is fraught with platform-specific details and quirks. Supportability and version updates are a nightmare. For an ecommerce business to build and maintain a native app is a huge investment.

Let us take a step back and ask an important question: What is there today that ONLY mobile apps can do, and sites cannot?

Truth is, very little remains in that category. There are two advancements in the state-of-affairs of web development that has bridged the gap between native apps and websites. Firstly, with the service workers API, sites can run scripts in the background that are independent of a web page. This means push notifications, background data syncing, and offline support are all possible with the web today. Secondly, the Web App Manifest file provides one place for developers to add metadata about a web application. Pulling a few lines from the W3 spec:

“Using this metadata, user agents can provide developers with means to create user experiences that are more comparable to that of a native application.”

This means websites have everything they need to become installable, offline-friendly, fast, and interactive. If that’s the case, why can’t mobile sites become the new apps? Why can’t they unravel the rich experiences we until now have associated only with native apps? 

As you might have guessed, that is exactly what a Progressive Web App is. With a PWA, you can write native app-like user experiences with web technologies. No platform specific code, no browser quirks. Additionally, PWAs don’t have to go through an app store review process. Users can discover your PWA right from your site.

User centered design: how PWA's are installed
How PWAs are installed.

PWAs for ecommerce

PWAs aim to make repeat visits great. They are optimized for engagement and interaction. This fits nicely with any ecommerce business’s most loyal user-base: the users who have interacted with your client’s business before and are looking for more. From the lens of giving the best experience to the user wherever they are in the funnel, PWAs open the doors to everything you might need to create wow experiences for repeat visitors. You can allow users to discover your client’s site right on their home screen, browse offline, receive notifications about products of interest, and even interact in the next generation of experiences such as trying out products in augmented reality.

PWAs and AMPs as the future

I hope this exercise brought some clarity around the thought process that goes into implementing a user centered design strategy. In the context of an entire ecommerce business operating across various channels, this becomes a far more complicated exercise with many more variables and technology options. With the next generation of software solutions that are API-first, it should become a lot easier to bring data together and build custom experiences for audiences. 

In the near future, user centered design is going to become the default way of building user experiences and when that happens, technology solutions have to reach a state where they are like Lego blocks: modular and flexible.

What are your thoughts on using these technologies to build user centered design experiences? Share your thoughts below.

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Step-by-Step Dummy’s Guide to User Experience Design

Step-by-Step Dummy’s Guide to User Experience Design

UX design multiple times before you can finally come up with a specific idea, just by having a passion for problem-solving can be very useful.

Work as a team: Always many companies provide the best product for their customers and its all the effort of a team, who work together to make the best product for users, so work with a team is the most valuable stuff that provides the better choice for a company.

Eventually, it’s all about solving the user’s problem understanding your user, how can you solve their problems? And interacting with your user and product. making the best product that is usable, useful, for your user. I hope you have found inspiration in many processes and skills I have mentioned in this article. 

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user research methods

13 Expert Tips to Master the Process — User Experience

Understanding your client’s customers is crucial for running a successful business. User research, therefore, should be an essential part of the design process, but it needs to be planned carefully. Not only are there are a ton of different user research methods to choose from, but recruiting participants for user interviews and learning how to ask the right questions to get to the information you need isn’t quite as straightforward as it might seem.

That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. In fact, user research can be done on a shoestring budget, and a lot of the best techniques are simple to implement. 

For this article, we invited leading experts to suggest their favorite practical tips and tools to help you get the most out of UX research. Keep their advice at the back of your mind, select the user research methods that are best suited to your next project, and you’ll be able to gather valuable information about your audience. You can then use this information to validate product ideas and improve on existing sites or apps.

Let’s dive in!

1. Understand that user research methods are not just limited to usability testing

Usability tests are great for finding problems with digital products, and giving you insights into how to fix those problems. Freelance user experience consultant Jesmond Allen recommends also conducting generative user research, as it helps you avoid those problems in the first place.

“Generative—or ‘discovery’—user research happens before you embark on design work,” she explains. “It’s brilliant for ensuring you make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions. It’s about really understanding your users’ needs and thought processes before you start designing for them. [This is] vital if you’re trying to innovate or provide a world-class ecommerce offering.”

There are lots of generative user research methods to choose from, depending on what you’re designing. Example techniques range from card sorting to help you understand how to structure a website, to diary studies to paint a vivid picture of how your product might intersect with your users’ lives over time.

Task models: Ground digital design in user needs

Jesmond’s favorite technique to inform ecommerce design is task modelling. A task model ensures you really understand what your customers are trying to do. 

“That might sound simple,” she acknowledges. “You know they want to buy one of your widgets, of course. But how, exactly, do your customers narrow down their options from your wide range of excellent widgets? If you run research to discover this, you can prioritize your designs, showcasing the different widget features in your users’ journeys at the point at which they are most helpful.”

Carry out generative research, Jesmond advises, and you’ll spend more time making design decisions that genuinely help your users choose the right widget for them, and less time fixing problems after you’ve got things wrong.

user research methods: task model diagram
The steps you would go through to create a task model diagram.

2. Know what you need to know first

Before you make an observation based on your research results, you need to understand that what you want to know about your customers and what you can ask them directly are two totally different things. According to Erika Hall, co-founder and director of strategy at Mule Design and author of Just Enough Research, this is a huge source of confusion in research, which leads to bad business decisions and a loss of faith in the research process. 

“Your research question is what you want to know overall, sometimes called a research objective,” Erika explains. “A good research question is specific, actionable, and practical. This means that it’s within your means to answer the question well enough to base decisions on what you’ve learned.”

“A good research question is specific, actionable, and practical. This means that it’s within your means to answer the question well enough to base decisions on what you’ve learned.”

Your interview questions should help indirectly answer your research questions and to collect user feedback. So, for example:

  • Research question: Why do our customers shop online?
  • Interview question: Tell me about the last thing you bought online.

Furthermore, your research question will help you identify how to approach the entire research process. Erika recommends identifying your questions before you select the best research method to use. 

“If you want to know how many of your customers have children living at home, a survey might be good. But if you want to know the top three barriers to purchasing your products, interviews are a better choice,” she suggests. 

Some research questions are completely unanswerable if you pose them directly, especially if they are about health, money, or motivation. 

“You won’t get a good answer if you ask someone directly why they do things,” Erika cautions. “To get at the why, just ask about the chain of events. ‘Walk me through your day yesterday’ is often a good starting point.”

You might also like: Research 101: How to Conduct Market Research for Your App.

3. Start with your support team

Every product or business decision should be informed by research, but not every decision warrants a full-blown research project. You might not realize it, but helpful information might already be within your reach.

“If your team makes a product, you have users, leads, or prospects,” points out user and product research leader Gregg Bernstein. “Let’s assume they have questions, complaints, and suggestions. And assume these questions, complaints, and suggestions are going somewhere—perhaps an inbox. A help desk. A social channel. A support team. And a support team is, without fail, the best place to start any research project. Cultivate a relationship with support, and you’ll have easy access to the voice of the customer.”

“Cultivate a relationship with support, and you’ll have easy access to the voice of the customer.”

Going further, Gregg recommends talking to your sales team, which can probably tell you the product questions they receive the most. Your marketing team, meanwhile, probably has Net Promoter Scores and market segmentation data. 

“All of this is readily accessible data that’s waiting to be put to good use,” Gregg suggests. “Instead of making decisions in the absence of information, develop internal partnerships and form data sharing relationships that give you ready access to helpful information.”

4. Get participant recruiting right

A rookie mistake in research is not to take participant recruiting seriously,market and UX research consultant Lauren Isaacson has found. 

user research methods: open laptop with data displayed in graphs

“Getting the wrong people in the room for your study will punch your research in the face and leave it for dead,” she warns.

“Getting the wrong people in the room for your study will punch your research in the face and leave it for dead.”

Here are a few tips she recommends for making sure a bad participant recruit doesn’t ruin your research:

  • Have explicit criteria of whom you want to recruit, and make a list of their ideal characteristics. For example: age, gender, education level, job type, family status, things they buy, services they use, customer or non-customer, etc.
  • Craft your questions to the participant list, but be tricky about it. You want to make sure that the questions will cover the traits you want the participant to possess without tipping them off as to what you want. For example, are you looking for people who buy bananas? Ask the question in this way: In the last month, which of these grocery items have you purchased:
      • Apples
      • Bananas (must select to qualify)
      • Celery
      • Potatoes
      • Kale

If they choose all of the answer options, then it would be wise to dismiss them from the study to avoid the chance that they might be trying to outsmart the system to get the incentive.

  • Do you expect these participants to be vocal and express themselves well? Have a question that requires them to write a few sentences. For example, ‘Name a person, alive or dead, you would like to have dinner with and explain why’.

5. Use your imagination when offering incentives 

Andrew Rajaram, senior UX researcher at Shopify, agrees that user research recruitment can be quite stressful, and has found that incentives are an important part of the process. 

“Once you’ve identified potential participants, incentives help when trying to convince them to take time out of their busy day to participate in a session,” he explains. 

For most typical research initiatives, it’s often common practice to offer financial incentives, such as gift cards to popular retailers. 

“These work well because they are easily transferred, and you can adjust the amount offered to suit your specific study. The only issue with this is that it can be very expensive to offer financial incentives, especially if you are looking for certain types of merchants who might be really busy trying to manage their businesses.”

When working within the app space, Andrew has seen a few partners offering interesting incentives directly tied to their app as a way of saving money.

“If it’s an app that offers a paid subscription plan [or pricing model], an incentive might be to offer three to six months for free,” he suggests. “Another option might be early access to upcoming features or participation in a beta program.”

Try to consider what might be useful or of value to your target audience and experiment with different options to see which ones help with recruitment the most. 

You might also like: 3 Strategies for Collecting User Feedback Onsite.

6. Know how to recruit participants when you don’t have any customers

When an organization sells a product to a customer, the transaction typically yields more than revenue. The organization also receives customer data—contact information, purchase history, and perhaps some demographic information. While this is helpful to all parts of an organization, the information is especially beneficial to teams focused on user research methods, providing a steady stream of potential research participants.

As Gregg Bernstein points out, for organizations that don’t have traditional “customers” or don’t collect user data (for example, ad-supported media, non-profits, and brand new startups), the absence of this pipeline of potential participants makes research a logistical and creative challenge. 

He suggests the following pathways for recruiting research participants when you don’t have direct access or budget:

  • Recruit site visitors by placing a signup form on your website
  • Use your social media accounts to post a call to action
  • Include a participant signup link in any outgoing newsletters or emails your org sends
  • Work with your support team, if you have one, to identify prospective research participants
  • If you have a forum (or know of other places where potential participants congregate, like Reddit or an industry association), post a call to action there if it’s within the community guidelines

If you have a bit of research budget, your avenues to reach participants expand:

  • Hire a professional recruiter to find the specific people you want to hear from
  • Use a web-based service (for example, UserTesting, User Interviews, or dscout) to connect you to interview or usability testing participants
  • Pay for a panel of survey participants (SurveyMonkey)
  • Pay to promote your social media calls to action to your desired audience

Shopify’s Andrew Rajaram agrees and advises that when you work on a project that requires really specific users that are not available through any of the more conventional channels, you need to get a bit more resourceful. 

“Online communities can be a great source for remote research participants,” he suggests. “Don’t be afraid to post in online communities asking for participants. You can create a screener to ensure the users satisfy the criteria of the profile you have built, and be sure to emphasize the incentive you are offering. If there is a Reddit forum or Facebook group, it never hurts to create a post and see what types of responses you get back.”

If you have the time and budget, then you might want to consider attending a few in-person events such as meetups or conferences that your target users might attend. “While you will likely not be able to actually execute on any research at the event, you should be able to build a list of contacts that you could potentially reach out to after the event,” Rajaram explains. “And because you’ve met them in person and built a connection, they will be less likely to ignore your request outright when they see it.”

user research methods: dscout interface on mobile and desktop
Dscout enables fast and easy recruiting for remote qualitative research. 

7. Learn what people are willing to pay

The number displayed next to a product’s “Buy” button represents more than just the amount of money changing hands. Erika Hall says it’s a signal to your client’s customers about quality, intended use, and intended audience. 

“This is why one brand of dental floss is $9.00 on a luxury wellness website and another is $1.79 at a chain drugstore,” she explains. “The price, along with the packaging and description, indicates one is meant to sit unused on display in the homes of influencers, and the other unused in a common drawer. We are all irrational, emotional buyers who want to think of ourselves as logical decision makers. Identifying and understanding your client’s target customers, their mindsets, and their habits is critical to successful pricing. Perceived value depends on context.” 

“We are all irrational, emotional buyers who want to think of ourselves as logical decision makers. Identifying and understanding your client’s target customers, their mindsets, and their habits is critical to successful pricing.”

As a good way to find out what your client’s target customers may be willing to pay in the future, Erika recommends interviewing them about how they’ve actually spent money in the recent past. 

“No one can predict their own behavior,” she cautions. “So, never ask ‘How much are you willing to pay for floss?’ unless you want to hear some dental hygiene fanfiction. You’ll get better results starting with a broad prompt like ‘Walk me through how shopping happens for the things you use around your house’. This will tell you what triggers purchase behaviors and how decisions are made in general.”

While it’s easy to narrow the subsequent questions and answers to specific items or categories, Erika advises against starting narrow as you’ll miss what you didn’t think to ask about. 

“Once you learn what prices your customers are exposed to on a regular basis, and what your customers value, you’ll have a better sense of how to fit what you offer into their world.” 

8. Show stimuli to users 

When it comes to showing prototypes to test participants, user research consultant Steve Portigal finds a lot of teams default to taking artifacts that have come out of the current design process. But, by only user testing their design solutions, they are missing the opportunity to show new things in the field. 

“I mean something that is not an example of what they’re planning to build,” he explains. “Maybe it’s something that can’t even be built. But instead, these new things are tangible, experiential, visible artifacts, that people can play with or react to as a way to provoke a deeper reflection on the underlying issues that you want to understand.”

“You might paper-prototype a checkout flow that provides barely any information, as well as another that resembles the information overload of a CVS checkout receipt. Neither are good or likely implementations. The point is to elevate the research from ‘Here’s our best guess at a solution, do you like it? Why or why not?’, to, ‘Let’s talk about these examples. What does this reveal about the issues we are grappling with in our design efforts?’”

9. Build rapport in interviews

Steve Portigal defines “rapport” as the energy that crackles between the researcher and their participant. 

“It’s why research participants thank the researcher after the interview when we might think it should be the other way around,” he points out. “It’s the researcher’s job, however, to build that rapport.”

Assuming that you can connect with someone by telling them the ways that you are just like them would be naive, Steve warns. When someone reveals a preference or details an experience, blurting out ‘oh my god, I’m the same!’ would take focus away from the participant. 

“The best practice is to hold off on that reaction,” Steve recommends, “and keep asking them questions about themselves. That focus on them is what builds rapport. The researcher can very occasionally and calmly reveal their own perspective or experience only to normalize something the participant is uncomfortable about, saying briefly, ‘Yes, I understand. That happened to me as well’.” 

10. Don’t lose the language

Understanding the languages that your client’s customers use is an incredibly important part of designing great services. However, when we interview customers for user research, the most common way of capturing the discussion is to take a trusty notebook (or laptop) and make notes as we chat. According to independent design consultant Donna Spencer, however, this is the worst way to capture what customers have to say, particularly around the nuances of language they use.

“When we make notes, we take shortcuts,” she cautions. “We write down key points, losing a lot of detail. We use our own lingo and jargon, and the actual words that people use get lost. But as researchers, we need to know what they call a product, and whether it’s the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ name. We need to know how they think about groups and categories, and what they call them.”

So, the next time you are examining different user research methods and choose to conduct an interview, Donna suggests that you record the audio and make a detailed transcript. That way you won’t lose the richness and nuance of real language. A service like Rev can help you with transcription.

You might also like: How to Learn More About Your Users with a Contextual Inquiry.

11. Design inclusive surveys and questionnaires

When designing surveys, market and UX research consultant Lauren Isaacson acknowledges, it’s tempting to use all of the fancy features a platform makes available—such as sliders, drag and drops, and animations. After all, they can make the study more engaging and fun for the respondents. 

However, Lauren suggests considering how someone who is blind or navigates the web with a keyboard would have difficulty using those features. 

“You could be alienating six percent or more of your potential respondent pool by being fancy when you don’t need to be,” she warns. “Simplicity is best when designing a survey. Try to stick to basic multiple-choice questions whenever possible. Use uncomplicated and jargon-free language to accommodate people with cognitive disabilities or [who] aren’t fluent in your native language. And keep the question and answer options short to help retain the attention of people with any form of ADD.”

“You could be alienating six percent or more of your potential respondent pool by being fancy when you don’t need to be.”

For more on survey design, check out Lauren’s article, 11 ways to improve the UX of online surveys.

user research methods: make a survey more inclusive with multiple choice
To make surveys more inclusive, Lauren Isaacson recommends short multiple-choice questions. 

12. Write a use case

A use case is a written description of how someone uses a particular feature of a website or app—outlining, from the point of view of the user, how a system responds to a request. It starts with the user’s goal, and concludes when the user has fulfilled that goal.

Gary Carruthers, managing director of Shopify Plus Experts Underwaterpistol, points out that, in ecommerce site design and development, use cases help to explain how a system should behave. They also determine what could go wrong when someone is using your client’s site or app.

“It’s straightforward enough to write a use case,” Gary advises. “In essence, all you have to do is identify a typical type of user for the site, define what they want to do on the site, and then describe what the user actually does on the site.”

Once you have described the basic course of events for a particular action (or use case), Gary suggests considering alternative courses of events and adding these to ‘extend’ the use case, which will further assist you in teasing out potential usability issues and how they could be addressed.

user research methods: team standing around a white board
Discussing and planning use cases can help you explore what actually happens when someone uses your service.

13. Carry out a heuristic analysis

A heuristic analysis can help remove any elements from a site or app that hamper the ease and intuitiveness of the overall UX design

To get started, Gary Carruthers suggests you ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Is a user able to navigate your client’s site or app and find what they want with minimal time, hassle, and effort? 
  • Does the site look clear and relevant to the user within five seconds of them seeing it?
  • Is there a clear call to action, and can the user buy a product or service from the site without encountering any barriers that needlessly slow them down, such as multiple unnecessary steps, or overly long forms? 
  • How are user errors processed and reported?

This evaluation method will help determine if your site or app is simple, organized, functional, and consistent. If it’s not, you have a much better idea of what you need to fix. 

“This evaluation method will help determine if your site or app is simple, organized, functional, and consistent. If it’s not, you have a much better idea of what you need to fix.”

Better user research = better products

Good product design is all about understanding the user, and so it may come as no surprise that a lot of the techniques to improve user research that we covered here revolve around communication and language. 

Don’t be afraid to tap into user data that already exists before inviting real users, dedicate some time to crafting your research questions (before you select from our list of user research methods), and prepare user interviews with care. Offer enticing incentives when you recruit test participants, and get a bit resourceful when searching for users of more niche products/markets.

In the interview itself, keep your questions broad to start with, and be creative in what you’re presenting to test participants. Build rapport with them, and make sure you don’t lose the exact language they use. If you conduct remote usability testing, try and put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other end to make the experience as inclusive as possible. 

Even if you only implement a couple of the above tips, the payback of the time invested in reading this article will be immense. User research exists to improve the experience, which will result in better products. Do it upfront—and throughout the project—and you’ll spend more time designing, and less time fighting fires. 

What are your favorite user reasearch methods? Let us know below!

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feature creep

What Causes It and How to Avoid It — User Experience

Feature creep is a common problem that comes up in many projects. When it comes to product design, it’s easy to assume you’ll create a better product if you include more features. More features will translate into more value for your users, right?

Actually, in most cases, the answer is no—it will not.

In this article, we’ll discuss what feature creep is, and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening on your project. This way, you have a better chance of staying on budget, finishing by your deadline, and making your end users happy.

What is scope creep (or feature creep)?

Feature creep, more commonly known as scope creep, refers to when you add excessive features to a product that make it too complicated or difficult to use. Any additional features that you introduce in to your product add to the complexity of your design. In turn, this can diminish the usability of your product.

feature creep: Microsoft Word 2000 interface
The Microsoft Word 2000 user interface is one of the clearest scope creep examples we could find. Here, you can see that there is a lot for users to comprehend, and it makes the software feel overly bloated and confusing. Image credit: amansinghblog.

Here’s where it gets even worse:

Feature creep is also a real problem when it comes to project management. It’s relatively easy to get over budget or miss deadlines when the team and (or) the stakeholders don’t understand the impact that changes in product backlog can have on available resources and schedule. This can continue forever where someone requests more and more changes to a product that never ends up being launched.

Other terms you may hear of referring to feature creep

While feature creep and scope creep are the most common terms describing this issue, you may also hear it described as:

  • Concept creep
  • Project creep
  • Project scope creep
  • Feature bloat
  • Featurism
  • Featuritis

These all refer to the same concept that you should work to avoid in your project.

What causes feature creep?

Feature creep is typically the result of poor planning, insufficient product strategy, and incorrect priorities. Typically, requests for new features are added after the project has started, are out of scope, and the changes are not properly reviewed.

You might also like: 3 Effective Ways to Help Your Clients Get Their Products Seen and Sold.

How to manage feature creep

It’s important to follow some guidelines to prevent feature creep from overtaking your project. Here are a few simple techniques that will help you:

1. Focus on the core features

The golden rule of product design is simple:

“Ship the right features to the right people.”

Although this rule is simple, it’s tough to achieve it in practice. You need to identify the parts of your product (the core features) that provide the maximum value to your target audience.

“The golden rule of product design is simple: Ship the right features to the right people.”

Dan Olsen, the author of The Lean Product Playbook, stresses the importance of focusing on core features in his book:

“Swiss Army knives are incredibly useful, providing a set of tools to address a wide range of needs all in one convenient package. But at some point, as you add more and more tools, a Swiss Army knife gets wider, heavier, less usable, and less valuable. Focus is critical when defining a new product.”

To help focus your project on core features, you need to:

  • Start with user and market research. Identify your target audience, their needs, and their wants. Know what problem you are solving, and for what user.
  • Prioritize all features in your product according to the needs of your users. You should have a strong rationale for every feature that you want to introduce to your product. It’s recommended to use the Job-To-Be-Done framework to identify the key features that bring value to your target audience.
  • Ensure that your target audience is willing to pay money for the solution. If your potential customers won’t buy your product, all of your work might be wasted. Do some up front research to ensure that once the product is launched, people will actually buy it!

Even after going through these steps, the total number of features that you may want to include in your product might be overwhelming. So, the next step is to apply a Pareto analysis. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the outputs come from 20 percent of the inputs. It’s important to note that the 80/20 ratio is not exact.


You might find that the numbers change slightly, but there are many examples of this ratio coming up in a variety of fields, including marketing, science, and economics. This principle can also work for product design: you need to find 20 percent of the features that bring 80 percent of the value for users and businesses.

For example, if you have a MVP (minimum viable product) or fully realized product, you can measure the adoption per feature. Create a simple 2-axis chart to analyze the adoption per feature, where the X-axis shows each feature in your product, and the Y-axis shows the percentage of customers using the feature. You can then easily see which features are the most important for your users.

feature creep: the feature usage chart
By analyzing the feature usage chart, you will see which features are more useful for your target audience. 

The logical question then is what to do with the features that have a low adoption rate? If a large percentage of your users aren’t using a certain feature, get rid of it. This decision might be hard for products that have already shipped on the market—some users may already be using those features, and removing them from an existing product can be painful. However, keeping features and bloating the product is not a good practice to encourage.

You might also like: Data Visualization: Interpreting Uncertainty in Product Design.

It’s important to note that the process of removing a feature with a low adoption rate from a product can take many forms, but no matter what form you choose, do not tear it out from the UI without sending a message to the users who actually use it.

Send a message to your current users letting them know that you’re going to kill the feature, and give them time to prepare. Otherwise, you could create a large backlash from your current users, and lose a lot of trust in the process.

2. Create a roadmap and follow it

It might be hard to prevent feature creep when you don’t even realize that it’s happening. The chances of feature creep are much higher when product design teams don’t have a clear roadmap. Not having a roadmap means that every problem that a team faces along the way will be solved reactively, rather than proactively. 

The universal law of product management is simple:

“To end well, you need to start well.” 

Planning ahead is vital to your project’s success. Here are a few simple things that will help you to create a roadmap:

  • Formalize the scope. It is vital that before a team begins to work on a project that it has a written scope of work. This should have also been approved by stakeholders.
  • Review our article on writing a product roadmap. This will give you a solid base to start with.
  • Identify the major and minor milestones of the project and put them on a timeline. Review milestones when scope changes are requested to ensure that the project won’t suffer from delays. 
  • Introduce a clear protocol for change implementation. Define rules on how changes are reviewed, approved, or rejected.
  • Use zero-sum game for incoming feature requests. When stakeholders ask to introduce a new feature into the scope, project managers need to make sure that some features come out of the scope to meet the product design deadlines. This may make stakeholders re-consider the value of the feature that was requested, or give a team an extension of time and project budget.
  • Create an Impact vs. Effort Matrix. The Impact vs. Effort Matrix is a useful tool mapping features against two factors: the potential value and the effort required to implement them. The matrix can serve a reference point for the team—you should show the history of product decisions as well as the rationale behind them.
feature creep: the impact vs. effort matrix
The Impact vs. Effort Matrix helps a product team get the most effective results without putting in unnecessary work. Image credit: hygger.

3. Stay away from gold plating

Gold plating is the tendency of the product team to over-deliver on the scope and add features. When this happens, product teams introduce features that the stakeholders didn’t ask for just to try and make them happier.

Gold plating requires extra effort from the product team, and in many cases, the work is unnecessary. You might even upset your stakeholders when you add complexity that wasn’t originally requested, so be mindful and put a stop to it.

You might also like: 7 Essential Digital Project Management Best Practices.

4. Learn to say “no” to feature requests

The ability to say no is one of the most critical skills a project manager can have because it helps prevent scope creep.

Yet, for many people, it’s one of the hardest things to do.

All too often, product designers follow the idea that because stakeholders want this feature, and we want to make our stakeholders happy, we should include this feature. This introduces unnecessary features into the product roadmap.

feature creep: image depicting user needs vs. stakeholder ideas
Users needs vs. stakeholders ideas. Image credit: Anton Nikolov

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” It’s tough to say no to your boss or colleagues, but you need to learn how to do it.

The ability to say no is one of the most critical skills a project manager can have because it helps prevent scope creep. Yet, for many people, it’s one of the hardest things to do.

Always remember to back your decision with good reasoning. For example, whenever stakeholders propose a new feature, evaluate it in accordance with the product vision, value for users and businesses, and the resources required to build it. Use this reasoning to explain to them why it does not make sense to add the feature, and the associated costs that come along with trying to add it.

5. Establish a quick build-measure-learn cycle

The old proverb says, “Measure thrice and cut once.” When it comes to product design, it’s essential to validate ideas before investing the time and effort in building them. When adding features, always test them with real users. Ensure that the features are linked to the users’ needs and they deliver value to your target audience.

Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, perfectly summarizes the importance of validating design ideas:

“What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and on budget?”

The simple task of validating your design ideas may save your team wasted hours and expenses down the road. Jeff Gothelf, the author of Lean UX, describes how to apply lean principles to improve user experience. Lean UX design is both a mindset and a process that embraces lean-agile methods. Teams who follow Lean UX implement functionality in minimum viable increments and determine success by measuring the results with their users.

feature creep: the UX cycle depicting 3 steps
The Lean UX cycle consists of three steps—think, make, check. Image credit: Lean UX via UX Planet

Focus on simple design

Product teams that suffer from feature creep usually have good intentions—turn a good product in to a great product. Unfortunately, quite often, this good intention leads to bad UX. Additional features add to the complexity of a product, which in turn leads to overly-complex products that can be expensive, delayed, or in the worst case, not what the users want.

feature creep: the featuritis curve
A featuritis curve demonstrates a relationship between features and user happiness. Image credit: plutora

It’s impossible to find any magic bullets for feature creep. But, it is possible to build up proactive defense mechanisms. The main goal of these mechanisms revolves around the KISS principle (“keep it simple, stupid” ): maintaining simplicity is something that every product team should have as their number one goal.

Simplicity should be a key goal in design because simple solutions have better usability. People love simple products because they don’t have to invest a lot of time in learning how to use them. That’s why, in most cases, designing a product with a limited number of features to prevent feature creep from happening is the best approach. In the end, you should carefully select the product’s features, and all of the features should work exceptionally well to provide value for your audience.

Have you ever worked on a project that suffered from feature creep? Let us know what happened in the comments below!

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What does great user onboarding look like? : marketing

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User Onboarding Best Practices

These are some of the key points which you might consider on your way to an excellent user onboarding and setting your product for continued success.

#useradoption #useronboarding #userexperience #guidedtour #producttour #productled #walkthrough #digitaladoptionplatform #DAP #usertraining #productledgrowth #engagement #usermanual #ux #SaaS #GuideChimp

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Growth-Hacking User Adoption Webinar

Growth-Hacking User Adoption Webinar

Growth-Hacking is a mega trend in Tech-Startups nowadays. See how Growth-Hacking methods can be used to drive user adoption in organisations
About this Event
What is this webinar all about?

Growth-Hacking combines Design Thinking, Data Analytics and Marketing to drive and change behaviour of customers. We believe that exactly this method can be used to drive user adoption in organisations. Classical ways of training people without measuring of impact of training is like fishing with no bait. It’s really hard to get results.

We know that the way of approaching this topic in the way of Growth-Hacking manner is the key to success and we would like to share our story with you.

What will you get when you attend this webinar!

– Insights to the world of Growth-Hacking / Growth Marketing
– A clear plan how to address user adoption challenges in Office 365 projects
– Useful tips and tricks when it comes to user adoption
– A list of tools which help to drive growth marketing and user adoption


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user feedback

3 Strategies for Efficiently Collecting User Feedback Online

User feedback helps ensure that the store or site you’ve designed meets the needs of your user. User Experience (UX) is one of the most critical aspects of success for a company. Without a streamlined UX, your clients will experience the Four Horsemen of online commerce: a high churn rate, user frustration, one-star reviews, or even negative public opinion.

Oftentimes, this is simply a result of a lack of optimization: things that seem obvious to developers or creators may be entirely obscured to users. This is why user feedback is so critical to gather when planning out your development roadmap. Without knowing how your users experience your site/platform, how can you begin to solve the most relevant issues?

Too few companies seek this information out and rather inadvertently take a reactive stance to the inevitable negative reviews that appear online, or only try to collect these opinions from clients who churn, far too late in the game.

It’s obvious, then, that a proactive approach to UX is the smartest option. By collecting feedback and seeking out user opinions (perhaps with a discount as a reward), you’re guaranteeing that you’re aligned with your audience’s needs and concerns. To successfully grow your business and give your clients a competitive edge, your ultimate resource are your users.

Remember, the customer is always right.

In this article, we’ll walk through three key strategies for efficiently collecting quality user feedback to create a proper roadmap of improvement.

1. Collect user feedback via live chat

user feedback live chat

Live chat is one of the best ways to interact with and engage users while they’re on your website. Live chat allows customer support to resolve a variety of user issues before they escalate into a negative review or heated email to your support team.

These chats are an opportunity for your client to better understand their user’s needs, and for the user to feel heard by the company. Plus, the feedback gathered during the chat is immensely valuable—it can help uncover trends and eliminate recurring pain points in the user experience.

You can help your clients collect this feedback by using live chat strategically, especially as resources for a 24/7 support platform are likely limited. 

Examples of efficient use could be:

  • Have a live chat modal appear after a certain threshold is reached, such as time on page, navigation to specific URLs (such as contact or support), or clicking through multiple support documents.
  • Use chatbots to automate and initiate chat flows, directing them to a live person if their issue isn’t easily solvable. 

Lastly, be sure to create a feedback form for users after the live chat session has been closed. This helps collect valuable information on how customer support operations are functioning, and will highlight areas for improvement.

You might also like: How to Learn More About Your Users with a Contextual Inquiry.

2. Collect user feedback via survey popups

Surveys are the tried and true method for collecting user feedback and can be formatted to suit a variety of needs. The ultimate goal of a survey is to collect an unbiased selection of user feedback in an efficient, scalable manner.

Surveys often offer users an anonymous feedback option, which translates to a more honest opinion. Format your survey based on what type of information you’re looking for: long-form answers, multiple-choice, checkboxes, NPS scores, and so on. Display the survey via onsite popups to encourage visitors to fill them out while browsing through your website (or at least do so before they exit). Trouble getting survey conversions? Add in a small discount in exchange for entering feedback.

Targeting rules and audience segments can also help you narrow into your audience, depending on your survey’s focus. This is especially useful, as it can highlight when similar groups of people are facing the same issues. 

Based on a visitor’s survey responses, you can enroll them in different automated email flows to continue the engagement. When users share positive feedback, send them an email encouraging them to leave a review in exchange for a discount or reward points. If they share negative feedback, seize the opportunity by reaching out to them personally to discuss the issues further. Conversions from users with negative experiences can become some of your most loyal customers.

You might also like: Research 101: How to Conduct Market Research for Your App.

3. Rescue the unsubscribe

user feedback email unsubscribes

All marketing emails should contain the option to unsubscribe from a mailing list somewhere in their layout (and it shouldn’t be difficult to find, as that will just annoy users further). But, just because someone has clicked to unsubscribe, it doesn’t mean all is lost! You can still help your client rescue the relationship.

Once a user lands on your client’s unsubscribe page, you should have several alternatives to full unsubscribes available. Consider a frequency option: allow users to choose to only receive emails at certain times such as once a month, when a new product launches, or when there are service updates. 

Sending frequent emails to your users doesn’t necessarily equate to better relationships. Sometimes your most loyal and engaged users only want to hear from you once a quarter or for a major product launch. Perhaps certain user segments only want to hear from you for a weekly round up or for information about their account. Providing options for those users will help further nurture that relationship. 

Despite you and your client’s best efforts, unsubscribes are a simple fact of life for online businesses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. Understanding your users’ email expectations and preferences is the key to creating satisfied, engaged users. 

Collecting this type of information offers the potential to reveal behavioral trends and an opportunity to create new segments. A larger pattern may emerge among users that leads you to create new or improved communication strategies that lead to more engaged relationships. 

Eliminating user annoyances in their tracks 

As we’ve seen, user feedback is one of the most important elements of any development roadmap. Without knowing how people are using and responding to your website, you’ll be taking shots in the dark hoping things get better. 

The strategies listed in this article are, while not exhaustive, the most common and effective methods that we recommend you try. With all things digital marketing, there’s always ample room for creativity—run A/B tests for different feedback forms or combine locked email discount offers with a survey. These experiments will help you better understand your users, and help your client on their path to conversion.

What user feedback methods have you tried? Share your thoughts below.

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