Chapter 3. Faster User Research

In this chapter:

  • Learn how to get research results faster without sacrificing quality.

  • Find out when it’s safe to use remote or unmoderated testing.

  • Understand the right way to run surveys.

  • Feel superior to people who refuse to do research for several awful reasons.

Now you know some ways to do the right kinds of user research at the right time for your company. That will save you a huge amount of time right there, because you won’t be wasting time doing the wrong type of research.

But can we make it even faster? I think we can.

Regardless of the type of user research you’re doing—from observational studies to five-second landing-page tests—you can make your research far more efficient with some simple rules.

Iterate! Iterate! Iterate!

I used to run a lot of usability tests for clients. One time I was asked to participate in a particular test. “OK,” I said, “so we’ll be recruiting six to eight test participants, right? That way, if we get a couple of no-shows, we’ll still have plenty of people to get good data.”

That’s when they surprised me. The client wanted a “statistically significant” test. They wanted to talk to at least 35 people.

Now, let me be perfectly clear. I was a contractor. I was getting paid by the hour, and this client wanted me to sit through 35 hours of testing, rather than the five or six I would have recommended.

I begged not to do it. It was, I explained, an enormous waste of the client’s money. We did it anyway. It was an enormous waste ...

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