From data to insight – bridging the gap with user research
by Ali Carmichael, Managing Director and Owner

From data to insight – bridging the gap with user research

User research and usability testing cover much ground, but a common aspect that I refer to is the value of understanding the “why” behind the “what.” But what does this mean?

Simply put, website analytics help owners to grasp what is happening on their site, but rarely do they understand why. This is where moderated observational research helps repair leaky user journeys.

The importance of context

Looking at the data, we can see where people are leaving our website, which campaigns perform better, and the differences between desktop and mobile device use. From this insight, we can identify issues and suggest possible fixes, which then go through split testing and iterative changes.

However, these well-intentioned fixes miss a key insight – the human experience. Data alone cannot capture this. The human experience is both simple and complex. It’s simple when we’re relaxed and focused, and complex when we’re stressed and busy. We shift between these states throughout the day, and your website can either ease or complicate this experience.

Understanding the narrative

Leaning in to this broader narrative helps to design user-friendly experiences through your navigation and content. Understanding these user experiences helps to establish the reasoning behind usability issues. To create an accurate fix for both users and companies, we need the full picture: data and experience.

This doesn’t mean the website owner is getting it wrong. It’s challenging to see from all angles and we’re unable capture user experiences from an inside out perspective, even with access to session cams and heat maps. Context can only come from the user side, seeing things from their perspective.

Integrating data and experience

If you’re focused on website reporting and improvement, data is crucial. Knowing “what” is crucial. But to make accurate improvements quickly, you need to understand the user experience. This is less reportable and less uniform, It is as it is today and it will be what is it tomorrow. Your data doesn’t show this natural aspect to behaviour.

This all might seem a bit abstract, but let it sit. And get out and do more user research. The proper kind involves you, a colleague, or a partner sitting one-on-one with real customers or your audience as they use your website. Conducting small, regular sessions is a neat way to deepen your insights, which will trigger ideas to improve the user experience and your reporting data.

Investing in user research will enhance your data, improve your decision-making, and ultimately, your website.

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Got a question? We’re here to listen and help you and your organisation become more user-centric. Talk to us about how usability testing and user research can help you. Contact us today.

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