Why Marketing and UX Should Test Together

For many organizations, the sales and marketing team operate within a completely separate circle to the product development teams, but they are closely linked by the financial/budget calendars as well as the product release cycles. In the majority of cases the sales and marketing activities tend to dictate the initial business requirements and product specifications, if not the product sprint and release cycles.

Rather than proposing some radical concept or changing existing practices, here are some reasons why the UX practitioner should consider collaborating with the marketing department more closely so that the company gains the maximum benefit from its research activities and budget.

Completeness of research
Marketing research is aimed at understanding customer/user perceptions (i.e. their ‘wants’), which is an important component of the overall user experience. Complementing this is the user study and research on the customer experience of the products and services (i.e. their ‘needs’). When you can align the customer perceptions with their experiences then you will have a much better chance of meeting their expectations, or go one step further by exceeding them. Unfortunately, we often see business requirements created from market research and products designed based on user research as a result of the marketing department and the UX team failing to align their goals and objectives.

Efficient use of time and resources
In the current age of shrinking budgets and limited resources, it makes sense to streamline and maximize the resources available on hand. Creating two separate processes (and potentially using completely different tools) for conducting research within the company means having to duplicate the efforts of recruiting users, running research studies, not to mention the time and effort spent analyzing the results, managing the information and having extra personnel/staff to do the work as well as co-ordinating and scheduling the activities involved. It also means having people from the UX area chasing up data from marketing and vice versa rather than sharing and integrating the customer information knowledgebase.

Sharing/transfer of knowledge
A large number of UX researchers and designers are primarily focused on the observed or recorded behaviour and responses of users in the context of the product or service that they are trying to deliver. However, having access to information about user perceptions on a wider range of subject matter can reveal valuable insights about how to create better product or service for the user. Traditional marketing research techniques and consumer database contain a wealth of knowledge that UX researchers can tap into for creating better personas and user profiles. Conversely, a better grasp of user behaviour studies can also help the marketing team create surveys and studies that tailor to their target audience more than generic or standardized survey questions.

Last, but not least, in this day and age when many of the key business decisions are being driven by companies competing on the basis of understanding and delivering on customer expectations, isn’t it time for companies to start sharing a vision for what they want to achieve for their customers, rather than how to achieve KPIs that may or may not reflect if their customers are truly happy and satisfied? This means that marketing teams should not being seeing UX as a blackbox, and the UX teams should stop thinking about marketing research as secondary to the product design and development process.

Only by understanding the benefits and values of customer research and testing across the organization can research and testing activities create the maximum value. And that is the best reason for marketing and UX teams to start testing together.

 

Michael Lai is a freelancing and consulting UX architect specializing in infographic and data visualization design. He has worked and consulted in various industries (hospitality, retail, IT, science, and engineering just to name a few) and covered many UX related roles (including user research, copywriting, training, graphic design, business analysis, and information architecture) to make sure he understands the important UX issues first-hand.

UX Awards 2014 – Submit your best projects and get 15% off on us!

We’re extremely excited to announce our sponsorship of the 4th Annual International UXAwards, the premier awards for exceptional digital experience. This is the fourth year running that Loop11 has been a sponsor and a supporter of these great UX awards!

By honoring the most talented UX innovators, highlighting exceptional UX best practices and showcasing next-generation digital products, the “UXies” inspire technologists to create elegant, human-centered products that solve real customer problems.

This year, the UXies will be held from September 11-12, 2014 in sunny San Francisco, California. The 2014 UX judging panel is comprised of top UX thought leaders and practitioners from Etsy, Amazon, GE, LUXR, Facebook, HUGE and Frog.

Interested in submitting? The UXies welcome submissions from all levels, including agencies, companies, individuals and students. All prospective UXers are invited to enter online at UXAwards.org from May 1 to June 15, 2014. Be sure to use discount code “UXAwardsSupporter” to receive 15% off your entry!

The 2014 awards showcase will also feature the UXies celebration and advanced UX training workshops. These will…

  • Showcase each winning product and celebrate the creators
  • Share UX practitioners’ creative processes and approaches
  • Reveal each expert judge’s evaluation process and perspective
  • Offer concentrated and advanced UX training and education from the judges and other invited expert speakers
  • Provide many informal opportunities to meet winners, judges, applicants, senior UX professionals, hiring companies and UX service providers

Check out the schedule and buy tickets - and be sure to use discount code “UXAwardsSupporter” for 15% off any ticket level!  Visit UXAwards.org for more information.

UXA2014Logo-XP

Education Powerhouse Quantifies User Happiness

Teach For All logo

Teach For All is a growing network of over 30 independent partner organizations with a shared vision of expanded educational opportunity in their countries. Each partner recruits and develops diverse leaders to commit two years to teach in their nations’ high-need classrooms and to work throughout their lives to increase opportunity for children. Teach For All works to accelerate partners’ progress and increase their impact through direct support, facilitating connections, accessing global resources, and leadership development.

The Goal

To create an efficient and intuitive global knowledge portal based on partner suggestions and feedback gathered from partner organization staff and Teach For All staff through the Loop11 remote usability testing platform.

The Brief

After developing a beta version of its new knowledge portal, Teach For All implemented a usability test created through Loop11 to gauge user experience on the newly launched site. Participants were asked to engage with the portal by completing a list of defined tasks.

The Action

With the success of over 30 global organizations in mind, Teach For All used remote usability testing to assess whether or not participants found the updated portal to be:

  • User friendly
  • Easy to navigate
  • Interactive

Observations

Loop11 enabled Teach For All to launch its user experience test to Teach For All and partner organization staff members around the world in such countries as Austria, Peru, Mexico and the USA. Participants were chosen for their ability to provide insight into the learnability, intuitiveness and efficiency of the new website.

The result was a diverse collection of observation data, allowing Teach For All to:

  • Quickly assess overall site performance
  • Quantify task performance rates
  • See personal and constructive participant feedback on site usability

The flexibility and efficiency of Loop11‘s testing platform helped Teach For All gain valuable insights into how users interacted with new site features, the desirability of internal application functionality and what content was most engaging.

Conclusion

With Loop11 remote usability testing, Teach For All quickly and effectively gained user experience insight from a global network of users. By measuring task completion rates, quantifying user experience and leveraging a global audience, Teach For All gained perspective on users that might otherwise have remained hidden.

This efficient, quantitative approach to user experience testing yielded a rich variety of user experience insights that enabled critical website and user experience optimizations.

Looking to Study Your User Happiness?

Loop11 helps you (and your users) get the most out of your digital assets. Simple and efficient, Loop11 provides real-time insight into user experience and website functionality without breaking the bank. Try Loop11 for free and experience for yourself the power of remote usability testing.

 

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