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The convergence of user research and market research - The best of both worlds?!
Christian Graf1, Thorsten Wilhelm2
1UXessible GbR, Germany; 2eresult GmbH, Germany
The relationship between user research (user research as part of the user experience design) on the one hand and market research on the other hand has been repeatedly discussed lately. While one part of the community tends to emphasize differences, the other one clearly sees overlaps. We were interested in the subjective reality of professionals with market-research background and user experience research background and how members of each group see their contributions to each phase in a standard development process (early idea gathering, conceptualisation, implementation, market entry and operations). In each of those phases different questions must be answered to ensure the success of the to-be-product/service with the customers. The hypothesis was that each group does not regard its contribution at the same level to each phase, but that they complement each other depending on the phase.
As of today, we collected 37 answers from two groups (user researchers or market researchers) with a qualitative online 10 item questionnaire with open and closed questions. The data collection and processing is ongoing.
The primary results support our assumption. The contribution of the both groups qualifies to be complementing, i.e. when one group sees its contribution as high, the other group regard its contribution as low, and vice-versa. This might be interpreted as if both groups see its contribution as very distinct. Nevertheless, the other answers show that both groups share similar methods, where user research is often more qualitative and market research more quantitative, but not exclusively.
From the results, we propose a structured combination of market research methods (often quantitative) and user research methods (often qualitative) depending on the phases in the product development. Based on the findings we urge every product team to ensure an approach with mixed methods (this should be a no-brainer today) and a mixed team of heterogeneous mindsets, i.e. people coming more from market research and people from user research. The results could be interpreted in a different way too: the transition from market researcher to user researcher and vice-versa might only be a question of the mindset. This is future research.
Do Smartphone app diaries work - for researchers and participants?
Zacharias de Groote
Liveloop GmbH, Germany
Mobile diary apps are one of the latest developments in the field of research diaries. They allow participants to provide spontaneous and in-the-moment feedback with their smartphones. By utilising mobiles for digital qualitative research, diary apps represent the next step in closing the gap between participant and researcher.
By providing the opportunity to gather valuable insights on physical and digital product and service usage, smartphone diary apps are especially promising for user research (as part of UX). They allow to identify users’ needs and desires, their usage patterns as well to collect installation, setup and usage feedback over the course of time.
Like other feedback channels, the response behaviour and input quality of smartphone diaries rely heavily on consumers’ motivation to participate and contribute. Engaging participants in a digital diary without the social glue of a community, with little moderator response and without reactions by community peers to their contributions can be quite challenging, especially on the long run. In fact, there appears to be little evidence on how qualitative smartphone diary studies perform as long-term projects with regard to participant engagement.
We will present first results on participant motivation and satisfaction derived from a long-term User experience smartphone diary study with a duration of more than 12 months. We observed relatively high satisfaction rates with the feedback process and the research mode across the user base, as well as low drop-out and non-response rates over the course of the study.
The results show that it is possible to engage consumers and collect insights over a longer period of time in a digital app diary model – making smartphone diaries an interesting alternative to conduct and accompany In-home-Use-Tests and other product and service research models for Market and User experience research the like.
CoCreation in Virtual Worlds for complex questions and technologies
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology & USECON, Austria
One of the most relevant differences between User Experience (UX) research and market research for us is the creative involvement of the participants in the design of the study settings. UX research is usually the beginning of a user centered innovation approach and provides essential inputs to the future design process. CoCreation methods are an essential part of this research phase to collect sticky information, to uncover user needs & ideas and to consider these results in the further creative process.
Co-Creation can be considered to be a subset or contemporary form of Participatory Design (PD) while using tools and techniques that engender people’s creativity, which is in part motivated by a belief in the value of democracy to civic, educational, and commercial settings.
New technologies (such as virtual reality, artificial intelligent, robotics, etc.) make it possible to reduce the cost of carrying out CoCreation and, moreover, they offer easy access for a broad group of users for collaboration. The focus is particularly on virtual and augmented reality technologies for the implementation of these studies and these technologies provides new possibilities to transform CoCreation into an engaging digital playground for serious collaboration. For example, participants could meet from any point in the world in a virtual workshop setting and work together on topics. Enhanced interaction methods combined with simulation or AI empower non-experts to work on a professional design level for resolving complex challenges. Furthermore, the results of the CoCreation process is immediately available and editable in the virtual world and could be shared on the internet for widespread user involvement.
We will present innovative approaches from ongoing research projects and how virtual CoCreation methods could be used and what we can expect from the future technologies and possibilities. On the one hand we will introduce our H2020 Research Project SHOTPROS and the involvement of Law Enforcement Agencies in the user centered design process. And on the other hand, we will show ideas and approaches with virtual reality in the domain of architecture and urban planning. Especially VR for participatory planning offer a completely new medium to walk through virtual worlds providing a high level of immersion and presence. This will completely change participation: Citizens no longer look at content but become part of the virtual world which is perceived as real and enable people to interact with and feel connected to the world.