Conduct research to spend effectively when improving your product

So, you have yourself an existing website, service or application and you might be asked to find a way to improve the customer experience. You have plenty of ideas of where you could add cool features, make an area look more appealing or speed things up, however it can be quite difficult to select one area to focus on that is worth the investment and is likely to produce noticeable results.

The thing that comes with being so close to a product is that you can easily lose sight of what really matters to the user and what changes would benefit them the most.

 

 

There are many ways to gather data about your users to influence any decision made. One of these methods is Generative Research.

This type of research is used to define the problem before you even know what your doing to solve it. This requires you to thoroughly understand about what perceptions, usability issues, behaviours and habits your users have about the product.

By doing generative research you are ensuring that you are fixing the right issues or adding the right features. You might not personally like how a page looks but in reality, how many people really visit it and how much effect does it have on the conversion rate? You could add functionality which nobody ends up using, in turn, slowing down the overall experience. This is known as “Feature creep”.

Whilst you are gathering research, it is important to keep an open mind, you do not yet know what issue you are trying to solve.

Here are a few good testing activities you can carry out to help you get the information you need:

User Interviews

By having a face to face with your user, you can more accurately monitor their behaviour and reactions. Ask questions like “how do you feel about” or “what do you think of” to see the product through their eyes.

User Testing

One of the most visually telling ways that something is not working as expected is to conduct user testing. This can be done in house or using an online tool. When creating testing scripts, keep them broad to allow the user to find their own way and naturally encounter issues.

Note: You can also save any journeys that are working particularly well. Show these off internally! It can give the people working on it that extra confidence boost as well as shareholders in the final work that is being produced.

Analytics

Delve into your analytics and have a look at where your people are dropping off along your user journey. Are there any patterns emerging? Take into account the speed of your pages, heat-maps and most clicked elements.

Behavioural Recording

If your product is physical then you can use video to understand how people are looking at your branding, what information is missed? What is appealing to them?

As is with most forms of data gathering, once you have completed your research, you should prioritize it. To keep the requirements consistently written, we can use User Stories to describe what the user would like to do. We put our findings into groups for the customer types, then we write our user stories under each one like this:

As a… I would like to … So that I can…

As a User I would like to access my app profile offline so that I can use my loyalty points when i have little or no internet at a bar.

If you are simply trying to focus on one fix, try to find the most commonly unment user need which you can write out like a hypothesis:

“Our users would like to be able to use use their loyalty points when they have no internet connection”

This is the problem that you should be paying attention to. Once you have found this out, you can begin to look into how you are actually going to solve the problem. See the transition between “what problem should we be solving?” to “how do we solve this problem?”.

Bring in people from different teams to have their say on how they would go about fixing the problem. Conduct further research to underpin the final decision – ask users how they would like to see the issue fixed.

 

 

Here are some example ideas which could be used to achieve the hypothesis above:

  • Create a lightweight area of the app which stores the latest data known and can be displayed offline.
  • Accessibility via alternative connection methods (Bluetooth, QR codes)
  • Get them to login to a Wi-Fi hotspot or Intranet
  • Get the venue to send the data instead via their connection

From this point you would proceed through different testing methods such as A/B testing and user testing to find out which is the best solution to the problem.

The take-away

The companies that create the best experiences for the user are the ones that take the time to research their user needs before making change. You shouldn’t invest into a your product until you have proof that change is wanted or needed. Do the research and you can be sure to find patterns you didn’t know existed. You may find new positive opportunities too.

Has this article taken your interest? Give us a call and we would be happy to discuss any ideas or future projects you have. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with the latest posts and to also share this content!

Designing a chatbot for your e-commerce business

Last year, a leading cloud communications platform company (Twilo Inc.), released the results of it’s Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report. It went on to show that 9/10 consumers across 3 continents including North America, Europe and Asia would prefer to communicate directly with brands by using a messaging system. This test was conducted with over 6,000 consumers. With such a finding, it’s hard to believe only less than half of businesses around the world have the ability to interact with their customers in this way. To learn more about the survey and to download a copy of the report, visit http://bit.ly/consumermessagingreport

 

Today, this method of consumer interaction has integrated itself into some of our most loved social platforms.

 

Dominoes Pizza Chatbot
Image Credit: Domino’s

The need to make digital communications as fast and seamless as possible is always evolving. Mobile devices have evolved the requirement of entering a password from physically tapping in your password, to swiping a combination lock, to more recently fingerprint identification and Apple’s Face ID. The concept of needing less input from the user to get to what they need has been heavily invested in. The result of this period of trial and error has resulted in much of how chatbots now communicate with us.

We are going to look at some methods that you can use to improve the success of an existing chatbot or if you are looking to create your own, these tips will also give you some ideas about what can be achieved.

First of all let’s look at some of the benefit’s chatbots can have for your users.

 

Chatbots are useful for…

 

Basic information

If a customer is going to require more knowledge about your product or service, your chatbot must be ready to give a suitable answer from its database or provide an alternative method to get this information. Can it send you to a FAQ page? Can it bring up details to call your company directly?

Personalisation

A chatbot can make a great difference to what a user thinks about your brand and website. If it has learnt about your preferences and habits, a good chatbot might recommend items of interest to you.

Gathering Data

By keeping track of your users’ input to the chatbot, you can see how many users are after the same products or information. This can help you to make marketing decisions to become more user-focused.

 

When should a Chatbot surface?

 

Page Dwelling

Has your customer been loitering on a page for too long? Can a friendly bot point them in the right direction?

Physical Click

Sometimes once an event has been triggered on a page, this can be the perfect opportunity to bring up your bot.

Interface Problems

Has your user got into a strop and started rage clicking all over the page? Try and ease the mood.

 

What questions should it ask?

 

Query ordering

When discovering what queries may be asked, it is a good idea to group these into sections (Level 1 – Basic Queries) (Level 2 – Mid level) (Level 3 – Top tier). Then, figure out your answers for these tiers.

Funneling

The first question should always be an open question which can allow the user to answer with what they would like to do. This is where the bot needs to be at its most clever to be able to handle most requests from the user. The rest of the questions should keep the user on a closed path to provide them the desired information.

 

What should your bot sound like?

Here are some points to measure when designing the personality of your bot

Is it on brand?

Think about how your brand is perceived by your customers. This should be reflected by your bot. Are you selling high-ticket items? You should probably steer away from any jokes.

Is it personable?

Has your bot got a name? The user is more likely to remember the service if the bot is personable and has a name or its own personality.

What role does it have?

Is it clear to the user what the bot is going to be able to help you with?

Who should your bot be like?

Think of a figure you would like your bot to be like. What decisions would they make? How would they talk to you?

 

Ways of delivering content

How can you use more interesting ways of displaying information? We have got accustomed to seeing interactive media and widgets across the web. Why not try to use them here?

Cards

Cards are a great way of displaying content to break up the conversational UI. The example below is a great way of showing your products by using a horizontal scroll which is generally preferred over a vertical scroll in a chatbot.

Image Credit: Domino’s
Integrations

What external applications can you use to make your design more user-centered? If a user wants to know how to get to a venue, why not bring up a map for directions which they can follow with a tap?

Quick Replies

You might have seen these being used in gmail’s mobile app. This is a great way of persuading your users’ answers to get them to say what you want them to. It also means they don’t have to type!

 

Emojis

Why not!

Image Rights: Jamie Oliver
Gifs, Images, Videos!

Make the experience engaging and memorable. Remember to use these mediums to aid the user in what they want to get to!

Things to remember

  • The chatbot should always be helping the user to get the information they need quickly
  • Ask a broad first question and then funnel the user down to a path you want them to take
  • Make sure your bot is on brand with your business
  • Set your bot targets to ensure you are making the most out of this marketing method
  • Write shorter but more messages
  • Ditch unnecessary text
  • Minimise user input!
  • I don’t know is OK

 

I hope these methods will help you when designing a chatbot of your own.

There are nearly limitless possibilities for what can be done. Don’t miss out on this huge opportunity to help, engage, or sell to your customers.