Each user experience designer develops her own unique approach to problem-solving. In that approach, is a unique user experience research flow.
After years of practice, a UX designer learns to finesse scenarios, uncover innovation opportunities, and provide decision-makers with actionable next steps that lead to results-driven design deliverables.
This post walks through a few tools from the user experience research stack.
UX Research Stack
In this article, I review a few of the foundational research methods that provide me with a baseline to measure the current state of affairs at the start of a project. After the initial assessment of what exists, what’s missing, why is it there, how does it function, what’s it like for the customer, etc.
This approach helps you crystalize more actionable insights that you turn into projects with clear focus on impacting specific metrics.
User experience research methods included in this article:
- Experience Map
- Journey Map
- Empathy Map
- Persona Canvas
- Value Proposition Canvas
- Business Model Canvas
- Petal Diagram
Keep in mind, no two projects are the same. Think of the user experience research methods above as tools. Learn how to use the tools, place them in your toolbox, and remain focused around the customer’s needs. Assess. Evaluate. Figure out what’s happening so you can pull out the right tool at the right time for the right reason.
The Experience Map is a comprehensive design artifact to help better understand customers and your business. The Experience Map builds consensus among the team and helps manage the knowledge across your organization. The Experience Map includes information like opportunities, pain points, CTAs, qualitative insights, department responsible for a touchpoint, operational justification for a touchpoint, and how does a touchpoint enhance/weaken the customer experience.
The Journey Map helps to tell the story of a customer’s experience with your brand from first touchpoint through the long-term relationship developed overtime.
The Empathy Map exercise helps to gain an empathetic understanding of the customer. The Empathy Map helps the team put themselves in the shoes of your customer. “How would it feel? What would I see?”
Personas help to get a grip on who exactly is the customer. Putting a face, name, and characteristics of the customer into a persona makes it easier to develop solutions, products, and services designed to serve the needs and goals of the user.
Value Proposition Canvas
The Value Proposition Canvas helps us articulate the solution to your customer’s unsolvable problem. If there is no problem, there is no product. Nobody is going to pay you to solve a non-problem for them.
Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas helps to comprehend the way a business creates, captures, and exchanges value with customers.
The Petal Diagram helps to assess the competitors when attempting to resegment existing markets or create new markets. The Petal Diagram helps to visualize the position of your product in reference to parallel and adjacent competitors. The Petal Diagram helps to launch a unique product by offering a new way to analyze the competition.
As incumbents from institutions that are near the brink of complete redefinement are intimately surrounded by various distinct emerging markets, the Petal Diagram helps to quickly differentiate the value of a startup’s hypothesis for its first customer.
There are various other exercises and tools in a designer’s toolbox, but these are typically most critical to define in the early phase so you have something to measure against for the many micro-decisions you will make along the product design journey.