You’ve worked hard to get your product to market, and the big day has finally arrived. You’ve done your marketing, hyped the launch, and you’re sure your target users will be just as excited to sign up as you are to see them do so.
And then the first reviews begin to filter in, and you realize: some aspects of the product are resonating, there is still much work to do. Users find aspects of your interface clunky, and your graphic design is just meh. Some of the important functions you’ve worked so hard on are ignored, while everyone clamors for features you never knew would be in demand.
That’s the story of too many company’s launched products, and they’ve all got one common thread. They needed more user research. Just as important as engineering and marketing to your long-term success, user research is absolutely essential in ensuring your offering has a perfect product market fit.
User research can take many forms, from continuous feedback and frequent surveys to user research interviews and user research meetings in pilot programs. If you’re still pre-launch, interviews with your beta testers can be an especially helpful way to get ideas flowing as users discuss their favorite parts of the UX—and what they especially hate. Remote UX research methods—such as utilizing web conference calls for your data gathering—can help streamline the process and enable you to work directly with users in multiple locations.
Using Remote Research To Understand Your User Base
In general, user research is defined as research that elucidates the user experience and how that can be optimized. It’s what you do when you want to know how users are impacted by your internal decisions—whether that is in look-and-feel, feature roll-outs, or core functionality. Remote research is a key strategic approach that can help you develop a better understanding of your user base.
In remote research meetings you can get face-to-face with your user while using conferencing software like Zoom, Jitsu, or Microsoft teams. Your user gets questions answered, and you get a much better understanding of their overall experience. Screen sharing can give you a look at your product in use from the outside, as your user interacts with the systems you’ve designed. This type of firsthand user feedback is invaluable as you hone in on what makes your product good—and what you need to do to make it better.
Tips For Remote UX Research Meetings
If you’re preparing for your first round of UX research meetings, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Be courteous, respectful, and let your user be the expert. You may be used to customer interactions in which you are giving advice and explaining how things should work—but now, it’s your user’s turn to give advice. Ask open questions and let your user do most of the talking.
Keep it focused. Respecting your user’s time involves keeping the conversation on track as much as possible. If there are certain features or capabilities you need to focus on, make that clear at the outset of your meeting.
Concentrate on now, not the future. UX research meetings work best when the user focuses on your current capabilities or bugs rather than create a wish list of what they’d like in an ideal world. Where the conversation goes off track, steer it back: you are more interested in figuring out how you can do a better job solving the current problem than changing gears and solving an entirely different problem altogether.
Ensure you record your conversation. Notes taken after the fact may be incomplete and lack key information, so ensure you have a full record of everything done and said.
Use standardized interview techniques for conducting your meetings. Being consistent in your interviews ensures you cover similar topic areas with all of your users.
Take advantage of high-quality note-taking and research assistant AI software to streamline your information gathering. An AI note taker like Hyperia can produce structured notes that make your later analysis much less time consuming.
Gone are the days when you had to juggle a writing pad, pen, and your landline while completing remote research on user experiences. Not only has communication software seen some sharp upgrades, AI assisted user research is rapidly becoming part of standard protocol.
What Is AI Assisted User Research
AI assisted user research is UX research enhanced by machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. When you are conducting user studies in an online environment, AI assisted user research algorithms can assist by:
Providing semantic analysis of customer opinions using natural language processing
Transcribing conversations (providing AI minutes for UX meetings or interviews)
Analyzing AI meeting records to provide a summary of key points
Providing AI clip creation and sharing of key points in the dialogue
An AI notetaker or smart meeting assistant not only takes comprehensive transcripts of the conversation, it can also use machine learning and natural language processing to highlight key points. It can summarize meeting notes into a one-page writeup, pull out actionable insights, and even provide relevant video clips of key points in the conversation. To add to the machine generated summary of a zoom recording you would only need to select key segments of the transcription, and generate a short clip that can be shared with others.
What this means in practice is that previously time-consuming analytics can be done in a fraction of the time. Keeping a searchable record of all user research meetings is both straightforward and practical, and all the data from your conference calls can be made easily accessible to those it is relevant to.
Tips For Using AI In Remote User Research
Here are tips for using AI in remote user research:
Get permissions to create recordings and transcribes of the meeting from all attendees before it happens. Use the first few minutes of the meetings to get these legalities taken care of.
Test drive your tools before implementing them in your user research meetings, and make sure you are comfortable using them when multi-tasking. There’s nothing like realizing you forgot how to turn on your AI notetaker when you’re trying to engage with a user, and tools seldom work the way you expected if you don’t try them out first.
Do your research and choose AI solutions that have a proven track record doing exactly what you’d like done. There is a wide range in both capability and usability when it comes to AI research tools, and you’ll want to implement a solution that is both powerful and easy to use.
This last point is an important one. All AI assistants are not created equal, and it’s important to choose a solution that is capable of supporting the type of remote UX research you plan to do. You’ll want to find a meeting assistant that is not limited to basic word search and structure analysis but can use semantic indexing and search to get at the actual meaning of what is being said. You’ll also want to look at what analytic features will be available, and whether you will get searchable key points and interview minutes you can refer to for later reports.
Making The Most Of Your User Research Meetings
If you’re going into your user meeting ready to listen, with a well-defined focus and a good set of remote research tools, you’ve got a good start.
Remember to stay impartial throughout the course of the conversation, and don’t ever defend your product or company. You want your user to feel comfortable sharing both negative and positive feedback. Sometimes, you may need to actually invite criticism and ask the user to share what he or she liked least about your product. Where possible, encourage your user to demonstrate on their shared computer screen rather than simply describe.
Be aware throughout the meeting that the information you are gathering will be shared with your entire team, and should be as comprehensive and understandable as possible. If you are left guessing at any point, don’t be afraid to ask your user to clarify.
Write-ups are always best done when the topic is fresh in your mind. Make it a priority to go over your meeting minutes and notes directly after the meeting is finished and use your AI-generated reports to send feedback to your development or design teams. If you’ve used a smart meeting assistant like Hyperia you’ll be able to pull up a list of actionable insights derived from the discussion, and will also have access to video clips of key points in the conversation. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video at least ten thousand!