As an award winning digital app and web development company, we have a great team more than capable of bringing our client’s ideas to life. Using strategy and experience, we can create a digital product that will help drive their business forward.
But before we get stuck into creating anything at all, we need information. And lots of it. Because the first step in any product development means understanding your users.
Undertaking research is a critically important part of understanding the needs of the client’s business as well as the behaviour of the end user. It helps understand both the business objectives and the user objectives, so we can respond accordingly, developing an app or website that focuses on fixing a problem or pain point to make their lives or processes easier and simpler.
But all this research isn’t done just to tick some boxes along the way - it’s valuable data that helps define the overall user experience (UX) design with no assumptions. The research should be applied at every stage of the product design and build, and by ignoring or misinterpreting it, the project could be doomed to failure.
So when we undertake our own research, we first look to understand the needs of the product’s current or potential users, learning about how they feel about it, and their likes or dislikes towards it. There are several ways to do this and some may be more favourable than others, depending on the users being targeted and what methods will work best.
Face to face interviews are useful and it gives us the chance to have a conversation with users, ask specific questions, and learn as much about them and their user habits as we can. Surveys, while being less accurate in data terms, can also give us fast and valuable information in key areas.
Business vs. User
Following this research, we can build up the key user objectives to understand what the user wants to get out of the app or website. We can look at what the main user goal is, and break it down into three primary, secondary, and tertiary user objectives. Armed with this information, we can then undertake similar research with the client to understand what they want, or sometimes what they think they want.
Utilising all this vital information, we work with the client on a discovery meeting workshop. This is where we explore the main business goal for the project, and again, break it down into three primary, secondary, and tertiary business objectives.
By marrying up the business objectives with the user objectives, we can discover what the overall purpose of the product should be. In turn it gives us the information architecture required to implement an effective and detailed user journey - all based on data.
Without this essential client and user research on board, we could end up with an app or website that doesn’t do what the user needs it to do. And that can be a very costly exercise. So, the research element really does matter to every product, all down the line.
In the very early stages of product development, we could turn to some form of user testing. Letting users loose on the product and actually putting it to the test gives us feedback on what works and what doesn’t. During the development phase, we might add a feature we think is really cool or helpful, but in reality could be irrelevant or awkward to use, so user testing is a great opportunity to make changes and avoid mistakes.
Your next step
Understanding the user through discovery workshops, user research and testing is paramount to creating the right product. As product developers and UX designers, we need to understand how clients and users think and act so we can create a product that really works and does exactly what it needs to.
If you’re considering app or web development for your business, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss a strategy that lets us understand your users and create a product that works.
Ready for the next step? Read our blog on "How to prototype your mobile app in 6 easy steps".