Conducting enterprise user research can help businesses understand users and their needs, which in turn helps to understand product requirements better.
The overall state of enterprise UX is strong and increasing. As per reports, 70% of enterprise CEOs see UX as a competitive differentiating factor.
When conducting user research for enterprise UX, keep in mind that your users are other employees. This can make it a little more challenging to conduct user research because most people are not used to talking about their work or the process. The best way to get around this is by using surveys and interviews.
In this article, we will explain what preparations you have to make before conducting user research and its process. Let’s get started.
Preparing for Enterprise User Research
Enterprise User Research is a critical aspect of product development. It’s where you get to know your target audience and what they want, need, and desire from your company. It’s also where you test out your product ideas before implementing them at an organizational level.
If you’re looking to bring in a third party for this research, here are some strategies for preparing for an enterprise user research project:
1. Plan for Users That Aren’t Buyers
When planning for enterprise user research, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with people who aren’t necessarily buyers.
A large enterprise may have a dozen or more decision-makers who may be in different departments. As a result, enterprise UX design is often more complex than user experience design for smaller companies. In addition, since senior executives and other decision-makers conduct the buying process, the customer is often overlooked or forgotten.
Understanding the people using a program can help you design it better. You can define segments of the project according to the needs and demands to better understand what customers want. On the other hand, users are internal employees and have a direct relationship with your company.
So how do you get users engaged? You’ll need to provide them with value before asking them questions about what they want. And this value can take many forms:
- A free trial of your product or service, with no commitment
- A free consultation with a member of your team
- An educational webinar
- An industry report from one of your customers
To avoid wasting time on a product that doesn’t work, you need to plan for users who aren’t buyers—people who aren’t going to buy your product immediately or even at all. You’ll want their feedback on how your product could fit into their workflow and increase productivity.
Then you can use that information as inspiration when you go back and make changes based on what users do when they use your product instead of what they say they’d like to do with it in theory.
2. Cultivate a Research Mindset Among Employees
Research is the key to understanding your users’ needs, wants, and desires. Understanding these things can help you create a product or service they value and want to use. To do this, you need to empathize with your users, and that’s where cultivating a research mindset comes into play.
The next step in preparing for enterprise user research is cultivating a research mindset amongst employees across all levels of an organization. There are many ways to cultivate a research mindset among employees. One is to inform employees of the purpose and benefits of doing the research.
For example, if an employee is going to be working on a new website, it’s important to let them know why they’re doing this project. Otherwise, they may not feel like it’s important or worthwhile. It’s also important for them to understand how their work will benefit the company as a whole—for instance, by increasing sales or making customers happier.
To cultivate this mindset, you should consider using ethnography as your primary tool for uncovering value. Ethnography enables you to understand how users interact with your product or service in their natural environment (i.e., what’s important to them). It also allows you to see how those interactions change over time and why those changes occur.
Once you’ve completed ethnographic research, the next step is iteration—repeating the process until you’ve uncovered all of the valuable insights within your target audience’s behaviour patterns around your product or service. This will give you insights into how people use it now, how they want it to be used in the future, what needs improvement, and why those improvements are needed (or not needed).
Finally, once these insights have been uncovered according to user feedback, it’s time for documentation, design, implementation, testing and deployment!
3. Treat Users as Experts
One of the most important things you can do when running enterprise user research is to treat your users as experts. This means that you should not just ask them questions but give them the freedom to be creative and think about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. You should also ask them about their needs, preferences, behaviours, and attitudes.
To do this, you’ll want to use direct data collection techniques such as interviews and surveys. These will help you uncover users’ motivations, behaviours, and attitudes so that you can make informed decisions about how best to market your products or services.
This approach also has another benefit: it ensures that your company can create products that meet users’ needs rather than creating products based on assumptions about those needs.
User research is a crucial part of UX design, but it can also be one of the most time-consuming and difficult parts of the process. It is important to not only understand what user research entails but also how to conduct it in a way that yields actionable results.
Continue reading to get a list of steps that will help you conduct enterprise user research that will yield actionable insights and data to inform your design decisions.
Steps to Conduct Enterprise User Research
Conducting enterprise user research is a complex process requiring much planning and testing.
The following are steps to help you get started with your enterprise user research:
1. Write a Concise User Research Plan
Creating a user research plan is one of the most critical steps in conducting enterprise user research. A good user research plan should be clear and concise, with each step clearly outlined. The goal is to ensure no ambiguity about what you’re doing and why, so your team can follow through on the plan without difficulty.
Start by creating an outline for your user research plan. Use bullet points for each section of your outline, then expand on those bullet points with more detail when necessary.
To help you get started, here are some topics to consider including in your outline:
The first step in conducting user research is to establish the background of the research. This should include a description of the problem you are solving and an explanation of what you are trying to accomplish with your research plan.
- Methodology and Schedule
The second step is to describe how you will conduct your research, including who will be involved and how long it will take. You should also include details about how many users you plan to interview, what job roles they are into, and any other relevant information to your situation.
- Goals (overall and specific)
The third step is to write down your goals for the research project so that everyone involved understands why they’re doing it in the first place. You’ll want to make sure these goals are specific enough so that there’s no room for ambiguity later on when things start getting hairy (or smooth sailing).
Finally, it’s essential for everyone involved in this project to understand what success looks like for them and the company so that everyone can work toward those same outcomes together. The outcomes section can include a list of recommendations like product recommendations or product marketing recommendations.
2. Select Appropriate Research Methods
When you’re conducting enterprise user research, there are several different methods you can use. Some are more effective than others in certain situations, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs.
Ethnography is a research method that involves observing users while they perform their daily tasks. This method is beneficial when you want to understand how people interact with your product or service in their natural environment. It can also help identify key pain points and areas where improvement may be needed.
- Remote Usability Testing
Remote usability testing is a method of conducting user research where the researcher observes the user in their natural environment. The researcher does not interact with the user directly, but rather observes them via video or audio recording. Remote usability allows researchers to collect data from users who are located across the globe, which can be helpful for companies whose target market spans multiple countries or continents.
Remote usability testing enables UX researchers to conduct studies and collect feedback from these employees without requiring them to travel back to the office and meet with the researchers in person.
3. Carry Out the Actual Research
User research for enterprise UX is no easy task. It’s challenging to get the right kind of people in a room and have them talk about what they need from your product, and even more difficult to know how to interpret their answers. But these challenges are worth it: user research can tell you what your users want, what they’re having trouble with, and how best to improve the experience of using your product.
Here are some key strategies for implementing user research in your enterprise UX plan:
- Identify a diverse group of potential customers who represent your target audience’s full range of demographics and spectrum of needs.
- Ask them about their challenges and goals concerning your product or service.
- Reach out to these individuals by phone, email, or even through social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.
- Listen carefully to what they tell you; write down everything you hear so that later on, you can analyze it in depth.
- Then use this information to make improvements based on the insights gleaned from these customer conversations!
The benefits of user research for enterprise UX include:
- Identifying pain points: User research helps you understand where users are struggling with your product so that you can address those areas in future iterations.
- Gaining empathy: User research helps you understand the needs of your users—and by extension, their businesses—so that you can create products that meet those needs. This makes it easier for both parties to work together without as many misunderstandings between departments or individuals within the company.
- Building consensus: When everyone has a shared understanding of what their users need from a product or service, there’s less confusion about how best to implement those features into an existing system or build new functionality from scratch.
4. Communicate and Culminate Research
When it comes to enterprise user research, it’s important to remember that there are three key steps:
- A concrete yet flexible interface
A well-designed interface is the result of the proper implementation of user research findings. The design based on just assumptions eventually falters out and is not flexible enough to accommodate changes.
- Unique yet holistic insight
The best user research projects are the ones that can accommodate both enterprise-level insights and individual-level insights into users’ experiences with a product or service. By incorporating both types of information into your findings, you can ensure that your final report truly represents how people use your product or service as a whole.
Researchers need to interact with participants to ask open-ended questions that encourage them to elaborate on their thoughts rather than just answering straightforward questions with “yes” or “no.” This helps provide more valuable insights into their experiences and preferences while allowing them to feel comfortable.
5. Translate Research into a Strategy
The last step to conducting enterprise user research is translating your research into a strategy. This step requires you to take all the information you’ve collected and interpret it in terms of how it will help you achieve your goals.
Since enterprise products are used by many employees in large organizations, it is important that these products are user-friendly and easy to use. This can only be accomplished if there is extensive user research done before the product is built.
Octet Design Studio, being an enterprise UX design agency has an extensive experience in conducting user research for enterprise UX projects. If you have an enterprise product, or an idea to build an enterprise product, then let’s get in touch. You can contact us or send us your requirements at email@example.com
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