User research is the practice of methodically studying the users of a product or service to identify needs and pain points that arise during their experience. A detailed user research process might include user interviews and customer persona development.
Designers and Product Managers can utilise user research frameworks to identify potential opportunities to improve the user’s overall experience, remove friction and tailor content and messaging to better reflect the needs and pain points of their target audience.
In the simplest sense; you cannot create user-centric products and services without the foundation of good user research. Performing user research before committing to design decisions will ensure that your teams effort and resources are not wasted as a result of misguided assumptions.
User interview preparation takes time and thoughtful planning. It is good practice to prepare an interview structure document in order to make sure that the necessary topics are covered and that the conversation stays on track.
When designing questions to ask of your interview, it is important to ask ‘What is the goal of this research? Whether you are interested in the user’s experience of using a specific feature or their overall impression of the product, it is crucial to make sure your questions remain focused and goal-oriented so that your insights are actionable during the design stage.
A customer persona is a hypothetical representation of someone who might use or purchase your product or service. Creating a customer persona can help teams to better visualise their customers and help to shape crucial concepts such as product messaging and positioning.
When creating a customer persona, in can be helpful to start with basic information such as name, age and location. These demographic points (plus a photo if possible!) can help to give context to your persona before diving into deeper questions such as potential motivations, frustrations, goals and personality.
Though you customer persona is fictional, it needs to be believable and representative in order to become a useful resource. In some cases, teams will need to create multiple customer personas in order to get an accurate picture of their customer base.