Getting the most from UX with automation!

Companies that spend budget on UX are aware that users equal customers. They know that successful products, products that make a difference and generate greater returns, are ones that end users can fully identify with. They know that omitting user research is risky since focusing on ideas, even fantastic ones, are only assumptions until tested with your target audience.

Knowing this, companies are beginning to invest more and more in user centered design as an essential part of their business. The real adventure, however, begins when a company accepts the challenge of finding ways to multiply the benefits of UX through automation. When portions of the UX research process are automated research can be done faster, more efficiently, and less sporadically, allowing companies to work more strategically towards their business goals.

Here are 4 steps to start your company on its path to UX automation:

Step 1: Identify the corporate UX status quo

While UX knowledge and projects are already part of the corporate environment, companies might fail to connect user research efforts to important business objectives like increasing KPIs or decreasing support calls. They also might not calculate the Return on Investment or ROI of UX projects or look at tools to make their teams more efficient, leading to their research teams being:

– Not strategic: Testing with users is performed sporadically without clear business goals in mind.

– Not efficient: Teams involved in usability tests may use a wide range of tools to gather and analyze data, forcing researchers to combine insights manually.

– Not scalable: The majority of tests are still conducted in usability labs or offline, taking valuable time and money.

Companies should take the time to investigate how their UX team works, whether their toolkit can be optimized, and whether their projects are clearly connected to business goals.

Step 2: Connect UX to business goals

“It is useless to make an investment without having estimated project costs and analyzing how the project will generate new revenues.” The CX consulting & research agency Pismo Digital Communication is right: If user research projects are not planned strategically, conducted continuously, connected to business goals and performed with one platform to facilitate data analyses, there is no way companies can automate research projects to save time and budgets and increase their ROI.

Companies should define important business KPIs and decide how user research can help achieve them. For example, an e-commerce business needs to increase conversion rates by 0.2% within six months. The company can then identify important key elements which need to be improved in order to enhance conversions, such as:

– Search filters

– Product information pages

– Buying process

– Payment options

– Return policies

– Etc.

As soon as conversion points are identified, companies can measure how they perform before starting optimization projects with a UX Benchmark. This way, the UX team will have a starting value and will know how much their work has affected site performance.

Step 3: Find the right tool

To make a UX team’s life easier, it helps working with one research platform. The platform should: gather quantitative and qualitative user data automatically, enable researchers to easily filter through the results, and allow teams to easily export and share important research findings in-house to integrate findings into agile development projects. The tool should make it possible to quickly and cost effectively run user tests, but above all, it must provide valuable data and actionable insights.

The goal is to obtain qualitative and quantitative reports by utilizing user research techniques like Voice of the Customer surveys and task-based Remote Usability Tests. Investing in UX software with automated processes allows UX teams to fulfill their potential, because members can test creative and innovative solutions in an agile matter.

Step 4: Share new skills

After identifying the status quo, defining critical UX objectives and business KPIs, and having chosen the right UX software, the last challenge is to share the benefits of the new methodology and tool with the company. Educating and involving teams will not only optimize the end products/services but will also improve collaboration between the UX team and related departments, such as the IT and development teams.

When the organization as a whole understands the benefits of agile UX testing the true potential of automated processes can be fully taken advantage of. Teams become more agile and reconnect with end users at all stages of development, optimizing the internal flow of information, communication and iteration. This is not only how usable products are created, but how engaging products are created:

delight

From Utility to Engagement – Beyond Usability: Accenture “Gain competitive advantage in the digital economy with design that goes beyond usability and moves from good to great.”

Conclusion

If a company has clear business goals and knows what is required of each team involved to achieve them, they can go from performing UX research sporadically to working more strategically. Evaluating where you stand and where you want to be is the first step to automating UX processes.

Data does not lie and automation is the natural step to take when companies want to be more agile while still being user centered. With online user research it is possible to incorporate automated UX techniques into agile development processes, allowing researchers to begin obtaining user feedback within minutes to validate development ideas.

To find the best solutions and rise to the challenge of automating UX processes for optimized research, companies need to engage with end-users and in-house teams alike. At the end of the day, communication is key.


About the Author

Alexandra Quevedo, UX Specialist

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UX is important for the entire business, not just the designers.