Customer Research Best practices

Streamline the UX Research process

April 8, 2022
5 min
Streamline the UX Research process

With the growth in the field of UX research, there are many tools available to help streamline research processes, keep track of research findings and improve the visibility of research across your organization. As a UX researcher, it’s important to consider your list of requirements before selecting any one or a number of tools. In this list, we capture most of the capabilities we’ve found are foundational requirements for MOST research teams. We’re always learning and adding to this list, so if you have feedback, please let us know!

Five functional areas that research tools can streamline processes

  1. Participant Management
  2. Conducting Research
  3. Rewarding participants
  4. Codifying and Analyzing Research
  5. Reporting & Visibility of Research

And then there are some other capabilities when evaluating tools that would fit with your current tools and organizational priorities:

Each of these functional areas and capabilities has sub-features that we’ve listed here as a simple checklist. 

And, we’ve included detailed descriptions of these features and questions you can ask to validate capabilities below.

Participant Management

When managing participants in your research tool, you want to be able to do three things: source a list of panelists or build a panel, match with specific people within that list and then easily invite folks to participate in your research studies. 

Characteristics to look for are flexibility, quality, and personalization. 

Flexibility comes into play when you consider sourcing your candidates. You never know how you are going to want to recruit participants, so the more options you have the better. When you get a list of folks, then you need the flexibility to tag and filter how you want to. 

Do keep in mind, that quality of candidates matters. No one wants people just looking for a quick incentive. You want to build a panel of true users, ones that are invested in the future of your product.

Lastly, being able to personalize all communications that touch your prospective candidates gives you an opportunity to connect in your own personal way. 

Ways to source candidates

  • Pay for a vendor managed list and ask people to complete a form/survey
  • Integrate with your own lists/systems to bring those candidates into your panel management system
  • Use landing pages or forms to recruit people to your panel

Find your perfect candidate

  • Tag and filter candidates based on existing properties 
  • Add new tags/properties based on survey answers
  • Build segmented lists based on filters or tags
  • Share lists with other team members for approval/input
  • Remove or ignore dis-engaged participants (people who haven’t engaged in the past or have opted out)

Inviting participants

  • Branded and personalized emails
  • Add screeners before interviews (to help get to the perfect match)
  • Branded (with logos) landing pages for recruitment
  • Throttling email distribution: so you don’t invite a bunch of folks when you’ve already booked up your interview slots.
  • Rich HTML email composer: to help with your branding and to make it look professional
  • Two click scheduling: make it so easy for a participant to book an interview with you, that it’s just two clicks
  • Calendar integrations: make sure that bookings don’t interfere with your existing work

Conducting Research

The second functional area is all about making it easy to conduct research. This starts with being able to support all of your typical research methods and includes the participants' experience of completing research tasks or studies. 

The characteristics to look for in these features are: comprehensive and frictionless.

You are conducting research and you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of every interaction with your participant. Hearing and seeing their reactions, even while they participate in an unmoderated study or survey can make a big difference in how you view their specific answers to questions.

For a participant, you want something that’s not going to make it hard for them to complete the study. No apps to download, no extra extensions to install, just click a link and go. Reducing friction can drastically improve your completion rates, which means you get more feedback to make your product even better.

Research methods supported

  • Surveys
  • 1:1 interviews
  • In-person interviews
  • Unmoderated prototype tests
  • Moderated prototype tests
  • Integrations to quantitative methods: if you are looking at a tool that might have 80% of the methods that you need, but you REALLY need that additional 20%, you can use two tools, as long as they speak to each other via an integration.

Participant experiences

  • No apps
  • No extensions
  • No more than two clicks to get to the first question
  • Clear expectations communicated: the participant should know upfront how long this study will take and the expected reward for their participation.

Rewarding Participants

Now that your study is complete you have to send off incentives. This can be one of the most administrative tasks in the research process, and yet, it can be the most critical for the participant experience. 

When considering research incentives look for a solution that’s global, flexible, and easy to redeem and manage.

Incentive Types supported

  • Gift cards
  • Cash
  • Product gifts
  • Donations

Reach & access of incentives

  • Offered in foreign currencies 
  • Redeemable in countries where you have participants
  • Two click redemption for participants

Incentive management

  • Send incentives immediately upon completion
  • Ability to approve incentive redemption communications
  • Set and fund budgets by study
  • Set and fund budgets  by department/organization

Codifying & Analyzing Research

Now that the research has been executed it’s time to codify and analyze the responses so you can start to improve your product. The most critical part of this functional area lies within the UX repository. To truly democratize research and share insights this part of your platform needs to be accessible and easily organized. 

Make sure that the repository is easy to organize and share access.

Repository

  • Searchable repository
  • Highlight and tag insights
  • Record video transcripts
  • Download survey results
  • Charts created from survey results
  • Share clips, whole videos, survey results

Reporting & Visibility

Conducting customer research is a lot of work, and when done right, can not only impact your product roadmap, but your entire culture. Building a culture of research starts with sharing. As we learned from Roy Olende at Zapier, Brad Orego from Auth0, and Nicole Wright at Honeybook, sharing is the first step in democratizing research in any organization.

The keys to a great platform when it comes to reporting and visibility are ease of access and readability. 

Available reports

  • General dashboard on upcoming and previous projects
  • Reports on opt-in rates/engagement of panel
  • Reports on incentives (budget spent, amount per study)
  • Reports by method (number of interviews, surveys, etc)

Research visibility for other teams

  • Shareable links accessible without login
  • Tracking views
  • Share upcoming research integrations with Slack/Teams for updates
  • Easily shareable observer accounts for upcoming research
  • Dashboard access for non-primary research teams

Security & Compliance

A UX Research platform touches customer data, and employee data. It’s important to know that this data is secure and can be extra protected (PII) if desired. 

The key characteristics of these capabilities are flexibility and trust.

Security

  • Multi-factor authentication enabled
  • Single Sign on via SAML 2.0
  • Hide PII
  • Customize PII fields

Compliance

  • GDPR Compliant
  • Enforce governance (as to not burn out lists & limit incentives)
  • SOC Compliance level
  • Disaster Recovery Plan from vendor/platform
  • 3rd party risk assessments & audits
  • Data portability
  • Capture consent
  • Capture customizable NDA sign-off

Additional Considerations

There are two other areas to consider integrations with your existing systems and the obvious one, pricing. 

Available Integrations

  • Video recording software (ex. Zoom)
  • Calendars (Ex. Google Calendar or Microsoft O365 Calendar)
  • Email sending tools (ex. Google, Microsoft O365)
  • CRM tools (Ex. Salesforce)
  • Other connectors (URLs or Zapier)

Pricing

  • Free view-only accounts
  • Scaleable: No one wants a big contract right out of the gate, make sure you can pay based on the adoption of the tool and the access for your internal teams

These are a few things to help you streamline your UX Research Process. What else have you done? How are you evaluation solutions to help?

Similar posts

Ready to dive in?

See the only all-in-one customer research platform