Understanding Behavioral and Attitudinal UX Metrics

UX metrics are a set of quantitative data points. These metrics can be used to measure, compare and track user experience. They are, therefore, vital for ensuring that UX design decisions are informed by relevant facts and measurable data.

Is your design strategy working? How are your designs working over time? Are your designs serving your user base? The number of UX metrics is always growing, so you may be tempted to ask, “Which metrics are most valuable for my project?”

Below we explore two of the key UX metrics and how you can use these metrics to inform your designs and products.

Behavioral Metrics

Behavioral metrics tell you how users interact with your product and the issues they may have had. Many of the behavioral metrics mentioned below are relevant to a design’s usability, which is an integral part of UX.

Good usability is key to ensuring that users are happy with your product and don’t start looking for alternatives. Behavioral metrics can be collected using digital analytic tools or during lab usability testing.

1. Time on Task

Time on task is the time that a user spends doing a particular activity. It is usually measured in seconds, minutes, or hours. This metric is ideal for task-focused activities that need to be efficient. For example, you can track the time it takes for users to complete an online shopping experience.

2. Average Session Length

This metric measures user engagement. Normally, the more time users spend using your design or product, the more engaged they are.

3. Abandonment Rate

The abandonment rate is the ratio of the number of abandoned purchase attempts to the overall number of initiated transactions. This metric is relevant to the online shopping experience. A high abandonment rate is a key indicator that something is wrong with your checkout experience.

4. Error Rate

The error rate is the number of users who make errors while completing a task. If users accidentally choose the wrong option or enter data incorrectly, this can be tracked. These kinds of errors often relate to usability issues. Once you know more about the kinds of errors users are encountering, you can start solving them.

Attitudinal Metrics

Attitudinal metrics will give you an idea of how users perceive your product. Examples of attitudinal metrics include Adoption (Which features do people use?), Satisfaction (Do users enjoy your product?), Credibility (What are the levels of user trust?), and Loyalty (Do users want to return to use your product or service again?).

1. Daily/Monthly Active Users (DAU/MAU)

Measures-Loyalty

How many users do you have? Tracking the number of users you get on a daily or monthly basis will help you measure user retention. The DAU/MAU ratio, also known as stickiness, is about how many users engage with your product on a regular basis. For example, an MAU ratio of 50% means your users engage with your product or service 15 out of 30 days.

2.Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Measures-Loyalty

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is measured using a survey that asks users one question- “How likely is it that you would recommend our product to a friend or colleague on a scale from 1 to 10?”  Those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 = are detractors. Those who respond with a 7 or 8 = are passive. And those who respond with a score of 9 or 10 = promoters. Then a final NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

3. User Retention Rate

Measures-Loyalty

User Retention Rate is the percentage of users you have retained over a period of time. It is an indicator of whether your retention strategy is working. It is calculated by subtracting the number of acquired users during a period from the number of users at the end of the period divided by the number of users at the beginning of the period.

4. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)

Measures-Loyalty and Satisfaction

The CSAT is an indication of how satisfied a user is with a particular interaction or with the overall experience. A CSAT is gathered using a survey or questionnaire. This is a measure of a specific part of your product rather than the more generic NPS metric. The downside to this metric is that many users will not take the time to fill out the survey.

5. System Usability Scale (SUS)

Measures-Loyalty and Satisfaction

The System Usability Scale (SUS) is a set of questions that you allow to assess the usability of a product. It usually consists of 10 to 12 statements that users need to rate on a scale (Strongly Disagree - Disagree - Agree - Strongly Agree). SUS requires a relatively small sample size but can still provide you with some valuable user experience data.

Summary

Unfortunately, there is no universal set of UX metrics that works for every project. The best way to explore UX metrics is to understand your business model, your business goals, and your ideal user base. What are the models and KPIs that your company tracks? What do you need to pay attention to? Learn what has a significant impact on your bottom line and use metrics to help you grow your knowledge.

It is also important to tie these UX metrics to design decisions. You will then be able to track changes over time, benchmark against iterations, and measure your product evolution. You will also see whether your design and product designs have reaped the results you expected.

Finally, remember that data only tells part of the story. Data allows you to understand what’s happening, but it may struggle to tell you why it’s happening. Alongside data, it’s essential to conduct qualitative studies such as contextual inquiries and user interviews. Together, UX metrics and qualitative research will help you create a comprehensive vision of your product and how it performs.

To learn more about exploring UX metrics, feel free to get in touch with our UX experts.


How & Why Storytelling is Vital for UX

What is Storytelling?

In today’s day and age, brands are selling much more than a stand-alone product; they’re also selling potential realities. Companies make subtextual promises when marketing to potential consumers, and people buy products because they want to embody the brand’s story. Successful activewear companies sell items by showing potential buyers a paragon of fitness and health, not to shame them into buying, but to emphasize, ‘This could be you!’. Belief in this story begins long before the end user; it starts with interdepartmental teams, stakeholders, and clients.

“I’ m writing my story so that others may see fragments of themselves,” Lena Waithe, screenwriter.

Design is the birthplace of a company story, which can find its beginnings in User Experience (UX) storytelling. To create an exceptional product, designers must consider the experience or story they want to unfold around a product. Every production level uses this story to help the collective vision of the product.

How to use Storytelling, and why?

The benefits of storytelling are best showcased by examining the elements of creating a story for design. When reduced to its basics, there are three key things to consider.

  1. UX personas play characters. They help the audience empathize with the user and create more valuable products. Perhaps the persona is a young businesswoman called Hannah, who struggles to leave her pet at home during the workday. She worries about something happening to them at home while she’s away, which creates stress.
  2. The Plot is why a person needs the product we’re designing. Take our example, Hannah. She sees an advert for our product, an app-based home camera designed for monitoring pets. She buys the camera and tests it out throughout her workday. Her phone buzzes if there’s a loud noise, or lots of movement, which lets her concentrate on work, assured that her pets are fine.
  3. The Setting is the envisioned place for users to use the product. In Hannah’s case, this is probably in her office, where the app must have a long-range video stream that she can access anywhere. What if she uses it on the train? Or abroad? Consider how this would change the design.

Having characters, a setting and a plot is half of the storytelling process; the other half lies in rules and techniques.

Rules for Storytelling

The next things to consider are rules, which ensure the story is useful for the team. Without them, it’s easy to overlook necessary details or be tempted into including useless information.

Design for the user’s needs.

Creating a product that doesn’t meet the right needs will ground a project before it hits the runway. To be aware of what a user wants from a product, we must focus on meeting the persona’s needs and avoid their dislikes. Our example persona, Hannah, needs to trust her camera and have a good video stream throughout the day. If she doesn’t feel like the product does this, she’ll stop using it and look elsewhere.

Speak the user’s language.

Using UX design terms when making a product for non-design professionals will alienate potential users and dissolve the credibility the potential user places in your company. To avoid this, we should use the language the customer uses appropriately. We need to take a pet-focused approach with Hannah, and notifications should use mild language like, “We’re playing!”. If we were designing a home security app, the language needed would be more direct.

Use data, not speculation.

Like designing a UX Persona, when storytelling, designers must base the plot, setting, and characters on accurate data; this data can be drawn from in-depth interviews, market research, or customer service logs and should be used to create a story that mirrors the actual customer experience as much as possible.

Equally, UX designers should create physical references and data logs throughout the storytelling process. Resources like storyboards, mood boards, and team brainstorms can be raised in later meetings as a point of contact or to refresh a colleague’s memory on a story element.

Techniques for Visual Storytelling

Creating a resource for other departments, executives, and clients can take time to approach, even with the above rules and aspects of storytelling. As psychologist D. L. Butler highlighted, visual aids like diagrams, flow charts, and other graphics help communication. If we’re struggling to find the words to explain a concept to another person, we can defer to a visual storytelling resource.

Visual storytelling is a story told through visual media, such as graphics, videos, or pictures. They can be used in-house or shown to clients to help them visualize the product in their daily lives. Two examples of visual storytelling resources are mood boards and storyboards.

The table above is an excellent demonstration of the impact visual aids can have when conveying information. It makes comparing the two techniques easy to understand and eliminates unnecessary and confusing words.

Tying up Storytelling in UX Design

When creating a tailored user experience, there is no better tool than Storytelling. It’s inclusive, research-driven, and forces the designer to empathize and create with a solid user in mind. Done well, storytelling can elevate an excellent product to a great one, and it’s fun!

To find out more about storytelling in design, get in touch with our UX experts; we’d love to chat.

Knowing the story of the user and their need for the product is at the heart of great UX design, but how and why do we write that story? Please find out the rules and techniques we use when storytelling below.

 


How to Create Useful Personas: Making an Impact

What are UX Personas?

Carefully moulded to feel realistic and believable, a UX Persona is a collection of target user data shaped into a character for designers to connect with and design for. But some companies struggle to understand the point of putting so much effort into creating an accurate but fake user.

Think about writing a birthday card. If you were told to write a card for a person who is upper-middle class, in their late thirties, and likes little dogs, you could probably write a generic but acceptable greeting. It would be ok, but nothing special. Now, if you were given a sheet with the same person’s photograph, demographic, goals, and preferences, it’s likely that you’ll find writing that birthday card much easier. Even if you’ve never met the person, you’ll begin to arrange these details into a personality you can connect with, allowing you to see that person’s needs more clearly, and write a better message. Persona work in the same way by allowing the designer to stop trying to empathize with an impersonal data sheet and instead consider the needs of a plausible user.

Why Create a UX Persona?

Generating a UX Persona is a process that requires a considerable investment of both time and money, so why do companies create them? When using a UX persona, many designers find the persona will naturally guide the designer's choices towards the target user group, making decisions feel more structured and logical. This steers companies from spending needless time and money trying to appeal to user groups with no interest in the service or product and attract users who are likely to benefit from it instead.

This is not to say that creating a character out of nothing but thin air and speculation will help focus a project. Creating a UX persona representing only the designer’s idea of a stereotypical user can do more harm than good. Without proper research and consideration, creating a persona in one’s image is risky. It sometimes feels logical to ask questions like, ‘What would I look for?’ when creating a product, but sadly, more often than not, the intended user group is not UX designers.

Creating a useful persona for product design

So, your team has weighed the pros and cons and decided to invest in a UX persona. Where do you start? There are hundreds of UX persona templates and guides online, but it’s difficult to choose the information to fill them. Perhaps none of the templates fit your product completely, so creating your own UX persona may be preferable.

A standard UX persona generally contains the following data:

  • A Persona name that is age and demographic-appropriate.
  • A photograph gives designers a face to match the character’s personality.
  • Demographics, such as age, gender, location, civil status, and career.
  • Behaviours, like where a user goes first to find help or usage by time of day.
  • Goals and needs to focus on the designer.
  • Dislikes and frustrations to be wary of.
  • A Spark of personality, like a favorite saying, quote, or value that expresses the personality.

Now, how do companies find the data if this information can’t be made up? Research and analytics, to put it simply. The guide below is a more in-depth template for creating a UX Persona for your own company:

Step One: Gather user information

The most useful UX personas are formed using field research, specifically collecting data such as demographic information, goals and needs, and behaviors. The character can be built on interviews, prior research, and communicating with company stakeholders from a large sample of the target audience. It’s important to make the persona as true to life as possible and avoid using baseless assumptions.

If the option of conducting this much research doesn’t exist, UX Personas can be created using customer support logs or web analytics. Although not a fair comparison, this ‘Provisional Persona’ is a useful proxy until a research-based persona can be made.

Step Two: Analyse and Collate Research Findings

Next, the collected research must be analyzed to find trends used to identify promising user groups. You can select the most appropriate user group and weave the accrued data into the UX persona. If multiple users are in the same age range, make your persona an average of that age. If most of your users are single, make the persona single, and so on, until you have a document that feels like a natural person. Choose a stock photo that matches, settle on a name, and that’s it! Your UX persona can be distributed to the team and put to work.

What if the research conducted identified several potential user groups? The guide above is for a product with only one target user demographic, and the likelihood of designers finding themselves in the position of having multiple target user groups is high. In this case, it is recommended to create one primary persona and up to three secondary personas. Any more than four personas can make decisions more complicated and confusing for designers than having no persona at all, which undermines the whole process.

Making an Impact

When made well, UX personas are the focal point for human connection. They make empathizing with the user, making informed decisions, and designing a helpful product simpler. Eventually, these fictional characters will start to feel like active members of the design team.

Although the process of creating a persona can be confusing to navigate, our UX experts would love to talk if you need any further guidance.

UX Personas are now standard tools for UX Designers, but what makes them worthwhile? Radiant has put together a helpful guide on creating exceptional UX Personas and how they can help give design teams an edge.


The Absolute Amalgamation of Service Design and UX Research

UX Research and Service Design are both essential elements of the design process. In many ways, they are closely connected, especially regarding personnel, expertise, and resources. However, there are also a few key differences that separate UX research from service design.

These differences and similarities are worth exploring, especially for those interested in UX design and process development. So, let’s take a closer look

The Differences between UX Research and Service Design

1.    Focus and Scale

UX research is very targeted and is often focused on providing granular insights. These pointed insights are then used to improve a specific experience or enhance a specific set of interactions. Service design is slightly more large-scale and is not as focused on the minute design details.

Focus and scale can change from one organization to the next, but in general, UX research is more focused and smaller in scale than the general and large-scale purpose of service design.

2.    Research Goal

The research goals of UX research and service design are often different. Service designers usually focus on researching larger, more significant and have a broader range of factors to consider. Whereas UX researchers often need to apply a higher level of specificity in their research and look to solve more granular issues.

3.    Craft

UX researchers and service designers leverage their crafts in different ways. In general, service designers take what they’ve learned during their research and use that information to sketch and prototype early concepts.

On the other hand, UX researchers are more focused on crafting ways to share insights across the organization and use their research to inform cross-departmental collaboration. UX researchers might use reports, scripts, and newsletters to communicate their senses to include the valuable details they’ve discovered during the investigation.

The Similarities between UX Research and Service Design

1.    Mission

Ultimately, the mission of a UX researcher and service designer is the same: to create an excellent experience for users. In this sense, there is a great degree of overlap between the two departments. Both UX research and service design are ambassadors for end users. They are paying attention to users' needs, desires, and expectations and ensuring they are acted upon by the company.

Daily, both departments will interact with users to learn more about the user experience and use their feedback to inform future UX developments. A UX researcher and a service designer play a role in deciding the next move for how the organization serves its users.

2.    Methods

While not precisely the same, there are many transferable methods from UX research to service design. Both can leverage collaborative canvas and workspace tools like Miro or Mural to workshop ideas, understand concepts and communicate within a team. The specific tools used may differ from one organization to another; both the foundational methods of communication, delivery, and collaboration are remarkably similar.

3.    Qualitative Skills

The last fundamental similarity between UX research and service design worth mentioning is the common qualitative skills. Individuals in both departments must be good at deep reasoning, empathetic thinking, pattern recognition, and listening. Indeed, there is an overlapping foundation that means that the skills required to do the job will always be quite similar.

Service designers often transition into UX research and vice-versa because these common qualitative skills, honed over time, are equally valuable and applicable across both departments. While the level of rigor and accuracy applied by UX researchers to qualitative studies may be slightly more intense, the practical steps and skills are ultimately very similar.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now know how UX research and service design interact, overlap, and dissect. While the two differ in important ways, there are a number of common skills, methods, and goals between the two. Moreover, there is a large degree of overlap between the kind of people that become researchers and designers.

In some ways, UX research is just one element of service design. As a result, both roles and departments can work well in tandem. Both methods of work enable design and research teams to find actionable insights and start working towards real solutions. The key to getting the most out of the research and design process is to pay attention to the granular details and keep the users at the center of everything.

To learn more about UX research and service design, please get in touch with our UX experts.


The UX of Notifications

Notifications usually evoke mixed reactions from users. They can be beneficial at times, but they can be a nuisance at other times. All notifications serve the purpose of informing the user. They are powerful tools that notify users about app crashes, new messages, new features, and possible updates. They are a great way to re-engage users who have forgotten about your app from a marketing perspective. From a design perspective, notifications are a key distinguishing element that helps to create an engaging user experience (UX). Let’s take a brief look at how notifications work, the common types of notifications, and their role in creating a compelling UX.

What are notifications?

 

Notifications are very easy to understand. Notification is simply the act of bringing something to the user’s attention. In the digital world, notification is the easiest way for an app or interface to notify the user about something or relay a message without opening the app. The primary example of a notification is an email alert. Most people receive emails every day. If you have your notifications turned on, a flash message will appear on your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen when you receive an email.

At this point, the user has several options. First, they can open the app directly by interacting with the notification. Equally, they can dismiss the notification by sliding it away or clicking a dismiss button. The notification gives the user a brief, to-the-point understanding of the matter without opening the application itself.

Types of notifications

 

Below we’ve highlighted a few of the most common types of notifications.

  • User-generated notifications are targeted towards particular people, and another user informs their content. For example, WhatsApp messaging.
  • Context-generated notifications are created by an application after receiving permission from the user—for example, a Google Alert.
  • An app creates System-generated notifications based on specific needs, ranging from re-engagement notifications to spam.
  • Push notifications are clickable pop-up notifications that aim to update new features, performance changes, and recommendations.
  • Notifications that require action from the user.
  • Passive notifications are merely informational alerts that require no user action.

There is a time and place for all of these notifications. In addition, most apps will enable or disable certain notifications to provide the right experience.

What makes a good notification?

There are a few key elements that make a notification effective. In general, a notification works best when it is:

  • Non-interfering: A notification is more often than not an act of interruption. To master the UX of notifications, you have to create reports that are as unobtrusive and non-interfering as possible.
    For example, a notification for an app shouldn’t pause or disrupt the user’s experience of another app. For instance, nobody wants to be watching a TV show on Netflix and have that experience interrupted with continuous pop-up notifications from their fitness app. It is all about timing and context. User research and artificial intelligence are great ways to understand when user’s want notifications and when they find them annoying. Then you can use this data to inform your design and optimize your notifications to make them as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Contextual: out-of-context notifications help no one. They will confuse and possibly annoy users, and the notification will probably not serve its purpose of drawing people to your app. Good notifications are deployed in the proper context and at the right time.
  • Small in size:  It is essential to make a notification big enough to read but small enough to allow users to continue using their screen visually. The best notifications are relatively small in size and never cover other essential information on the screen. Usually, notifications appear at the top of devices in a standard rectangular form that makes them easy to interact with or dismiss.
  • Used to serve warnings: Some of the most effective examples of notifications are warnings to do with traffic, weather, and health. Notifications are a quick and easy way to communicate essential and possibly life-saving information.

For example, a flashing light on your car dashboard to tell you something’s wrong with the car or a severe storm warning that pops up on your phone and gives you time to look for shelter are both examples of effective and necessary notifications.

The success of these notifications, and many other notifications, depends on timing and how concisely they convey the correct information.

To learn more about the utility of notifications and how you can take your digital transformation to the next level, get in contact with our UX experts at Radiant Digital.


Design Systems: An Overview

A Design System organizes various disparate components to enable a team to design, realize, and develop a product. The elements of this design system can be used and reused to build a wide range of products and help facilitate designers' skills and expertise. However, when choosing a design system, there are many elements to consider. And while many believe design systems are critical, some within the industry are divided on their use. 

Below we've highlighted the pros and cons of using design systems and attempted to overview how design systems work in the real world. 

What is a Design System? 

Essentially, a design system is a collection of elements that can build a product or service, or piece of software. A design system can evolve and adapt to meet new requirements while providing designers with useful UI and UX pieces to serve as building blocks for the finished product. Equally, a design system can guide designers' design process from creation to implementation to delivery. 

Benefits of Using a Design System

  • Brand Recognition: A design system that includes a collection of parts that reflect the company's values helps to maintain brand recognition. In addition, designers and developers can use these assets and components to create instantly recognizable designs and connect to the company. Design systems may also provide designers with a standardized set of colors, shapes, and typography that can serve as the essential building blocks of their creations. 
  • Saves Time: A comprehensive Design system allows teams to free up design resources and save time. In addition, design teams can use the components to structure and alter their products, software, pages, and apps. As a result, design teams don't need to spend so much time creating assets from scratch, and with this extra free time, they can work on more complex and vital design issues. Ultimately, this will result in a better user experience. 
  • Enables Design to Scale: As well as saving time, design systems improve the scalability of design teams and their designs. Team members will have to spend less time styling everything from the ground up and will be able to focus on maximizing the potential of existing components. Some design systems will also provide a roadmap. This level of guidance will help designers and developers anticipate their needs as they scale, hopefully making the whole process easier. 
  • Developers and Designers Have a Common Language: Design systems give developers and designers a common visual language to use. As a result, design hand-offs are a lot easier because they will appreciate the bigger picture and understand how one component fits into the creation of the whole design. In addition, communication is an integral part of any design process, and design systems are usually a reliable way to improve collaboration within teams and across departments. 
  • More accessible to Onboard New Developers or Designers: Design systems ensure that you gather the essential and relevant information in one place. For example, if you need to onboard new designers or developers, a design system can smoothly help the process. System onboarding can be quick and more effective with all the relevant information included in the design. 

Drawbacks of Using a Design System

There are quite a few pros to having a design system, but it is also essential to consider the downsides. 

  • Resource Intensive: One of the most glaring drawbacks to creating a design system that serves its purpose is a resource-intensive process. You can invest quite a lot of design and development resources into a design system before receiving any tangible progress.  This investment is usually worth it in the long run, but if you have a small team or low resources or need to create something quickly, a design system can be a hindrance rather than a helpful tool. 
  • Educating Developers and Designers: It may be challenging to get all your designers and developers to use a design system. Many of them will have been completing projects without a design system. Therefore, it can take some time to educate everyone. For some companies and teams, this may involve a cultural shift and a level of patience. 

Understanding Design Systems  

The purpose of a design system is to facilitate the team's work. Therefore, design systems are often created in collaboration with an entire product team. Ideally, this means that developers, designers, product managers, programmers, and engineers will all say how a design system looks and feels. This is important as it is a system that hopefully aids everyone's progress regardless of their place within the team. Most design systems are based on a standard setup. So first, there will be top-level navigation showing the main system categories, including Design, Code, Components, Branding, etc. Then within these main categories, there will be sub-navigation levels that include Typography, Color, Components, Forms, Guidelines, etc. 

Ultimately, when design systems are used properly, they should serve as a single source of truth for the design team and ensure that everyone who works on the product or project is always on the same page. In addition, they help to emphasize design principles, different brand identity, and language and provide all team members with the components and tools they need to succeed. 

Want to learn more about design systems? Feel free to contact our design experts here at Radiant. 


Powering Up your UX Research with Virtual Reality

Research is vital in UX development and usually involves questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. However, gauging the design's functionalities requires quantifying user interactions and participant behavior. Near-exact experiences of the actual UX design can be helpful in this regard. However, this involves complex concepts and expensive prototypes that are hardly modifiable. Virtual Reality implementation is a context-specific way to overcome these UX research challenges. It helps transport people to many places virtually, teach new skills, and even fight phobias.

We at Radiant Digital are excited about new technologies that can potentially transform how we work! Virtual Reality is one of them. In this blog, we deep-dive into where VR UX research is already in practice and how it powers up UX research.

Why VR in UX Research?

UX research involves gauging user-product interactions within a physical, social, and cultural context. Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance UX research by creating realistic-looking virtual environments (VEs) with better environmental control and ecological validity. Some of its applications include:

  • Researching workflows or interactions in developing virtual layouts.
  • Display or configuration-related details can be built, experienced, and judged in VR.
  • Safety and convenience in UX are other factors that can be effectively reproduced and evaluated by VR.

With VR, researchers can test a product’s user experience with higher visibility cost-effectively.

The Countless Possibilities

VR simulations apply to almost any actual space type in a variety of domains.

  • Workplace occupational safety: VR modeling helps tackle workplace hazards when included in training exercises.
  • Easing mental and physical health problems: VR applications are helpful in patient care, especially in diagnosis and curing phobias.
  • Educational and training environments: Educators can promote skills development by leveraging a virtual domain where the real-world consequences of failing can be avoided.

With multi-sensory features, VR helps replicate an environment for a design and its user interactions while improving the scope for understanding the product’s real-world acceptance.

VR User Testing in the Service Industry 

Providers, primarily in the IT service domain, need to test product performance in near-real environments rigorously. For example, UX researchers can use VR to inject variable attributes into their UX design in a lab setting. This helps evaluate different results for different scenarios, environments, & conditions, or geographic disparities.

VR as a UX Evaluation Tool

VR is helpful for UX research and human–product interaction. It helps with the following:

  • Obtaining insights on the users' needs and expectations by observing and evaluating the users' behavior during design interaction in a controlled environment.
  • Focusing on UX evaluation through optimizing human–product interactions.
  • Gaining information on target users and their behavior in a 3D multi-user virtual environment.
  • Gauging emotional levels during user interactions and translating that to data on the users' preferences and needs.
  • Enabling usage changes while observing natural and subjective responses.
  • Obtaining data related to performance, errors, and learnability.
  • Mediating interactions with realistic and directly controlled user avatars with motion trackers.

Best Practices for VR User Research

VR in UX combines conventional usability testing and a contextual interview. Some unique factors to consider include:

Preparation

The Environment:

  • Evaluate the space where you will conduct the VR experiments for your design.
  • Configure a "mixed reality lab" for the infrastructure to conduct augmented and virtual reality UX research.
  • Perform safety checks and remove any obstacles to free movement.

The Technology: It is essential to know the underlying technologies impacting your research in a cross-functional environment.

The Subject: Ensure your target users know what they are signing up for by briefing them thoroughly on the requirements and how to handle the experience. UX researchers should ensure:

  • Participant comfort.
  • The clarity in technology concepts and goals.
  • Digital data analysis is done before, during, and after an experience.
  • Awareness of possible motion sickness or mobility issues affecting participants.

The Equipment:

  • Test the VR equipment and the software for performance after synchronization.
  • Check if the gadgets are cleaned regularly and make users comfortable without disorienting them.

Privacy:  UX researchers should clarify what data they'd collect and how it will be used when conducting VR research from a participant's home or device.

Recruitment: Understanding the users' digital knowledge and experience in the VR space is crucial while recruiting them.

Research plan: VR combines physical, emotional, and digital experiences, which mandates clarifying the following:

  • Which aspects of UX design are you testing and whether it correlates to the device setup or the application?
  • What user behavior traits are you observing?
  • What you'll be recording and how?

Make your research seamless by setting up your research plan and the required tools.

VR User Testing

During VR sessions, you must consider the following differences between VR and conventional user testing.

Unfamiliarity with the technology: Users need buffer time to attune themselves to the technology, equipment, and environment. It is paramount to plan and explain the sequence in which the participant would navigate different experiences.

Cybersickness: Please note any symptoms and metrics (such as frame rate, session length, sudden acceleration, standing versus seated position, the participant's age, etc.) of cybersickness and only proceed when the participant is ready.

Facilitation: Noting verbal and non-verbal cues without distractions is crucial while observing the user and their interactions. VR facilitation is challenging because the user experiences a simulated environment context different from that of the interviewer.

Recording and notetaking: Ensure that participants look in your direction to record their expressions and emotional responses correctly. Use cameras and notetaking tools to obtain clear user feedback.

After the Experience 

Post-interview: UX researchers must keep a checklist to clarify the user’s experience with a design and note any negative feedback that can help fix loopholes.

Key Takeaways

VR helps identify the core concepts, evaluation methods, and limitations of your UX design to validate user acceptance. Though VR is still work-in-progress w.r.t market penetration, integrating it with UX research can unfold novel ways of fulfilling user-centric designs.

Radiant Digital can help you convert your Virtual Reality Vision to Enterprise Reality Designs. Contact us to know more.