How can I find out what my users need?

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Why should I learn about what my users need?

What do your users need? Users needs is an important part of User Experience (UX) design. UX design includes designing for the whole experience a user have on a site/app or while using a system. It’s not “only” graphic design. Still the visual experience is also important.

User Experience is how information is structured and presented. It’s also about how the interactions between the user and the system work. It’s also about letting users to find things they look for and navigate easily on the page.

The most important skill for a UX-designer is, in my opinion to always try to think like the users. To understand them. This might sound a bit strange but I will explain how I mean. If you don’t understand your users or their needs, how are you going to create a great User Experience for them?

Methods

I don’t mean that you have to read someones mind here. There are methods that help UX-designers examine the users needs. Nonetheless I think the mindset is also important, to always start with your users needs.

Methods for User research:

User research methods, summarized by NNGroup

You need to manage different methods to be able to choose which method is most suitable for the current situation. Not all situations allow you to make field studies, sometimes you have to set up a situation and make your observations. The important thing is to understand your users:

  • What are they doing on a daily bases?
  • What problems do they have?
  • Is there a current site or system? Where are the issues in this site/system?

It is important for you to notice all these things to get an understanding of your users. They might need other things than you think they do. No, they NEED OTHER THINGS THAN YOU THINK THEY DO!

It’s amazing how much you find out if you meat your users and observe what they do.

Here is some inspiration on tools to use for user research: https://uxdesign.cc/ux-tools-f… These tools are for recording screens when doing remote user research. There are also tools for capturing in-site feedback and tools for surveys. My recommendation is to actually meet your users first and examine how they work. Then you can use remote research and surveys. See all this as a way to learn and gather tools to utilize. When you are going to perform your user research, you should choose the tools that you think will be best for the situation at hand. The purpose of all this is to find your users need. The way to do that is to get to know them.

Some final words

When you have done your research and think you know your users need its time to ideate and visualize your ideas. It is important inorder to always get back to the users during these stages in the design process. When you have made sketches and prototypes you need to make user tests. Read about usability testing. Usability is just a part of the whole User Experience but your can use the same methods to investigate other things on your site.

Make sure your users participate through the entire design process. Involve them, let them test your ideas and iterate as many times as it takes. If you are designing a website with various users and you don’t exactly know who they are, try to find a few people that you are targeting with your site. I think there always are a target group, also for huge web sites with millions of users.

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4 Replies to “How can I find out what my users need?”

  1. Excellent breakdown of UX. You really do need to do research on your people and understand them. To not do so is to strive after wind…

    There are certain graphic techniques that can help retain readership, but those are tweaks and not necessarily UX techniques. But I would say that a very strong #1 in UX is for you to BECOME one of your people and learn to be the leader of the band!

    All the best today,
    Steve

    1. Hi and thanks for your comment! I guess many aspects together makes the UX great. Visual appearance and usability are some of them. But also that you wow people and as you say become number one in your niche.

  2. I agree, it is important to understand how you would structure and present your information. Understanding your audience is a must to become good within your niche. I have not heard about UX but I am going to check it out. Thank you for the great explanation and why UX is important.

    1. Hi and thank you:-) UX is a bit complex to understand but also very simple… UX is the whole experience a person have when using a site, a system or an app. To design good UX you need to know and understand your users. Not just focus on visual design, features and functions from a designers or developers point of view.

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