Re-Designing and UX Research

Laura was a UX research analyst at a software company. She was working on a project to redesign the company’s website and was tasked with gathering input from users about their needs and preferences. Laura knew that open-ended questions would be the most effective way to gather this type of information, so she prepared a list of questions to ask during her interviews with users.

Laura interviewed Sara, who was a business owner. Sarah had a lot of specific ideas about what she wanted from the website, and Laura was able to uncover a wealth of valuable information by asking open-ended questions. For example, when Laura asked Sarah “What do you like most about your current website?”, Sarah responded with a detailed list of features and functionality that she relied on every day. This information was crucial to the redesign project, as it helped Laura and her team to understand what was most important to small business owners like Sarah.

Thanks to the open-ended questions Laura asked, the company was able to design a website that was tailored to the needs of its users and met their expectations. The new website was a huge success, and the company saw a significant increase in traffic and engagement as a result. Laura’s use of open-ended questions made a huge difference in the outcome of the project.

10 Open-Ended Questions in UX Research

  1. What do you like most about this product/service?
  2. What problems or challenges do you face when using this product/service?
  3. How can my product/service be improved?
  4. Can you describe a recent experience you had using this product/service?
  5. How do you currently solve the problem that this product/service addresses?
  6. What other products/services have you used to solve this problem?
  7. How do you think you will use this product/service in the future?
  8. What do you wish this product/service could do that it currently does not?
  9. If you could change one thing about this product/service, what would it be?
  10. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience using this product/service?

Asking open-ended questions is an important aspect of UX research, as it allows researchers to gather in-depth, qualitative data from users. This type of data can be particularly valuable in understanding user needs, motivations, and behaviors, and can help to inform the design and development of products and services. However, it is important for researchers to approach the process of asking open-ended questions in a strategic and effective manner in order to get the most value out of these types of questions.

Start Open-Ended UX Research

The first step in asking open-ended questions is to determine the purpose of the research and the specific information that needs to be gathered. This will help the researcher to identify the types of questions that will be most useful in achieving the research goals. For example, if the researcher is trying to understand how users currently solve a particular problem, they might ask questions such as “Can you describe your current process for [task related to product/service]?” or “What other products/services have you used to solve this problem?” On the other hand, if the researcher is trying to identify areas for improvement in a product or service, they might ask questions such as “What problems or challenges do you face when using this product/service?” or “How can  this product/service be improved?”

User experience is about feelings. When you interact with a product or service, it creates emotions within you – whether positive or negative. These emotions shape your perceptions of the product and ultimately determine how you feel about it. – Don Norman, Co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and author of “The Design of Everyday Things

It is also important for the researcher to consider the specific audience they will be interviewing and tailor their questions accordingly. For example, if the researcher is speaking with users who are unfamiliar with the product or service in question, they may need to ask more general, foundational questions to establish a baseline understanding. On the other hand, if the researcher is speaking with more experienced users, they may be able to ask more specific and targeted questions to dig deeper into the user’s experience.

Avoid Bias Questions in UX Research

When asking open-ended questions, it is important for the researcher to avoid leading or biased language, as this can influence the user’s response. For example, rather than asking “Don’t you think our product is the best on the market?”, the researcher might ask “What do you like most about our product compared to others on the market?” This allows the user to form their own opinion and share it freely, rather than feeling pressure to agree with the researcher’s perspective.

It is also important for the researcher to create a comfortable and relaxed environment for the interview, as this can encourage the user to be more open and honest in their responses. This might involve establishing rapport with the user, setting ground rules for the conversation, and providing clear instructions for how to participate.

Examples of Bias Questions:

  • “Don’t you think our product is the best on the market?”
  • “Why wouldn’t you use our product/service?”
  • “How often do you use competitor products/services?”
  • “Would you say that our product/service is easy or difficult to use?”
  • “Do you think the design of our product/service is attractive or unattractive?”

Bias questions in UX research can lead to biased or skewed results, as they may influence the user’s response or lead them to answer in a way that aligns with the researcher’s expectations or assumptions. It is important for researchers to avoid bias in their questions in order to get accurate and unbiased data from users.

Bottom Line

It is important for the researcher to listen carefully to the user’s responses and follow up with additional questions as needed. This can help to clarify and expand upon the user’s perspective, and can also help the researcher to identify patterns and trends in the data. Asking open-ended questions is an important aspect of UX research that allows researchers to gather in-depth, qualitative data from users. By approaching this process in a strategic and effective manner, researchers can maximize the value of these types of questions and gain valuable insights that can inform the design and development of products and services.

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