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TwentySix Life

User research

The user underpins everything we do at twentysix, be that a website build, service design, ad hoc campaign or full digital strategy - an understanding of users is essential, and the way to do this is through research. We offer a number of research methods dependent on your budget and requirements. Every project is unique and we can work with you to define a tailored approach to deliver robust insights, specific to your objectives.

Understanding user needs

User needs are the needs that a user has of a service, and which that service must satisfy for the user to get the right outcome for them. Services designed around users and their needs:

  • Are more likely to be used
  • Help more people get the right outcome from them - and so achieve their intent
  • Cost less to operate by reducing time and money spent on resolving problems.

 

For many public-sector clients, user research has now become an essential component in service design, in order to meet the requirements of the Government Digital Service (GDS) Service Design Manual.

Ideally, user research should be carried out throughout each development phase to make sure your service continues to meet user needs as it progresses. For example, in the Discovery phase, we may want to find out:

  • Who your likely users are and what they’re trying to do
  • How they currently do it (for example, what services or channels they use)
  • The problems or frustrations they experience as they do it
  • What users need from your service to achieve their goal.

In the alpha, beta and live phases, we may want to:

  • Improve your understanding of your users and their needs to drive better site performance
  • Test new design ideas and new features with likely users
  • Continually assess users’ experience of your service, to make sure it meets their needs.

Our services

Interviews

Purpose

Useful for gaining feedback and observing challenges users have with real websites and systems. This involves taking our testing set-up out to end users if they are unable to visit our in-house facility.

Features

  • One to one
  • In-depth
  • Qualitative

Workshops

Purpose

Useful when working with disparate audiences or teams. Format facilitates discussion and hands-on activities/tasks to engage teams.

Features

  • Multiple participants
  • Discussion based
  • Often task-based
  • Qualitative

Lab-based user testing

Purpose

Useful for gaining feedback and observing challenges users have with real websites and systems. We have an in-house usability lab facility.

Features

  • Task-based
  • One to one
  • Test websites and prototypes with end users
  • Qualitative
  • Lab-based

Location-based user testing

Purpose

Useful for gaining feedback and observing challenges users have with real websites and systems. This involves taking our testing set-up out to end users if they are unable to visit our in-house facility.

Features

  • Task-based
  • One to one
  • Test websites and prototypes with end users
  • Qualitative
  • Location-based

Remote user testing

Purpose

Remote user testing online remote usability testing is useful when looking for wide and rapid feedback on early iterations.

Features

  • Wide and rapid feedback
  • Test websites and prototypes with end users
  • Qualitative

Surveys

Purpose

Useful for collecting information from dispersed sets of users or stakeholders within a relatively short time period.

Features

  • Collect widespread research quickly
  • Can include qualitative and quantitative outputs

Website analytics

Purpose

Useful for reviewing how existing users interact with and use your website. Can identify interesting user behaviour which further research can then challenge and interrogate.

Features

  • Patterns and trends in existing behaviour

Contextual research

Purpose

Useful for seeing how users behave in an environment that is natural to them, for example in their home office.

Features

  • Seeing users in their natural environment
  • Qualitative

Guerilla research

Purpose

Guerilla research is useful for gaining insights quickly and cheaply. It typically involves less formal research alternatives, such as speaking to users briefly in the street to gather opinions rapidly.

 

Features

  • Quick and efficient insight gathering
  • Qualitative

Desk-based research

Purpose

Desk-based research can be useful to build a picture of the wider landscape. Desk-based research can take many forms. it may include a review of existing market or user insights, or other existing, secondary research. Competitor and comparator research can also be useful.

Features

  • Build a picture of the wider landscape or operating context
  • Can include qualitative and quantitative outputs

Visual website optimiser

Purpose

Useful for reviewing how users interact and behave with different versions of website pages.

Features

  • Test website variations with end users
  • Quantitative

Quantifiable results

Some of our key achievements in User research are:

  • Our user research team were commissioned by a leading UK charity delivered audience insights to improve the site and conversion path to sponsor a puppy. We used a number of the techniques outlined above, including surveys and more than 20 moderated lab-based testing to increase their conversion rate.
  • For a leading online retailer, we used user research to improve site performance coupled with conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to give qualitative and quantitative insights to improve conversion.

User research

The Brief

To meet Government Digital Service (GDS) guidelines, NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) wanted to undertake user research to better understand the needs and objectives of the people using their organ donation website. As a result of this testing they also wanted to prioritise the needs of the identified users and improve their site to meet their needs.

The Solution

  • We conducted lab-based user testing to support inform how we would run the organisation’s stakeholder workshops
  • We did desk-based research to audit their current SEO performance, analytics and social channels. We did an expert review of their site to see how well the website was performing and the experience users had online
  • We delivered stakeholder workshops designed to get as much knowledge from the NHSBT team as possible about their users and their users’ journey.

The results

Once we’d completed the user research we mapped each user group’s story and associated them with NHSBT themes. These were reviewed with their internal stakeholders and became the basis of a second workshop where the users were grouped and prioritised.

Following the workshop, we made recommendations to NHSBT, detailing a suggested sprint plan and appropriate resource to take the project to its next stage.