How to speed up decision-making and boost agility
Good research takes time. But a rapid research framework can help speed up your time-to-insights. Here’s how to make it work in your organization.
How long are your user research cycles? Weeks? Months? Or longer? You’re not alone.
Research is vital. It ensures your organization is making the right choices and delivering the best possible user experiences. And that means boosting conversions and supercharging your revenues.
But good research needs time: in-depth studies with the right participants and full analysis of the results will always take time and effort. It’s an inescapable part of user research.
But in some situations, such as usability and concept testing, you can speed up your research. The Rapid Research Framework is designed to be a rapid, repeatable, and reliable way to get user research insights.
Because faster research makes your business more agile. You learn from the research results and adapt your user experiences accordingly. The faster you do this, the better your customer experience—and as we all know, that leads to better bottom-line results.
Rapid Research differs from traditional research by deploying a number of guardrails (see the chapter below on Making it happen: How Rapid Research works) to ensure the research process, from start to finish, is leaner and faster.
The main benefits of Rapid Research:
“Rapid Research strips out the fluff and delivers a rapid, repeatable, reliable process”
Lead UX Research Consultant, UserZoom
It’s faster, as you might have guessed. But how is it faster? What makes it ‘rapid’? In short, it removes a number of steps from standard research processes. It strips out the number of meetings required, leaving you with just two 30-minute meetings each week (one for briefing and one for reporting results).
Rapid Research is:
Rapid Research works fast, but does it mean compromising the quality of your insights? Look at it this way: the world moves fast, and you have to keep or stay one step ahead. Research is an essential way to help you do that. And that means that, in some cases, some research is better than no research.
It’s just not practical to conduct full in-depth research on every element. By all means, if you have infinite time and resources, then go right ahead and test everything in detail. But the chances are you don’t, and that’s where Rapid Research is so useful.
Rapid Research works best for usability testing and concept testing studies run with the following criteria. These aren’t hard-and-fast rules—you can make your own judgment of which study type best suits a fast-moving Rapid Research approach.
On this episode of the UXpeditious podcast, Devin Harold, Director of UX Research at Capital One, discusses how he made Rapid Research a success in the real world.
"It costs 10 times as much to fix a bug in development and a hundred times as much to fix it in production. Well, think about all the bugs that we fixed by doubling our bandwidth as a team. Now think about how much more we learned because we've freed up time from our lead researchers' time."
Director of UX Research at Capital One
Rapid Research doesn’t work for every situation. We don’t recommend using it for:
This is where the Rapid Research briefing document comes into play.
We’ve already created a briefing doc template (you can download it here) that helps you decide what requests work for rapid research and what doesn’t.
The Rapid Research brief will help you:
You can download a pdf version of the briefing form here.
Here’s a step-by-step visual tour of what a Rapid Research Framework can look like.
This includes setting up the study and agreeing on the research questions, preparing materials, conducting, analyzing, presenting the findings, and finally repeating the whole process to keep your research moving at speed.
The requester (anyone from within your organization that needs user research) submits their research brief through the normal channels.You’ll review the brief, check it works with the Rapid Research Framework, prioritize multiple requests (if you receive more than one) and schedule the studies. We’ve suggested a new Rapid Research briefing template below.
You’ll meet with the requester to talk through the brief, their objectives, and to refine the questions to be asked. This meeting should be limited to 30 minutes. Yes, that isn’t long—but this is rapid research!
Prep your study materials. Gather what you need, enlist your participants, and arrange your study date(s).
Conduct the study, and analyze the results as they come in. No delays!
Finalize the analysis and prepare your study report and report back to the original requester and (where applicable) the wider team. Again, limit the reporting meeting to a maximum of 30 minutes.
The most important part is to keep the system moving. Jump straight back to Step 1 or Step 2 and repeat the process.
Your own work schedule and your organizational setup will determine how this looks on your own calendar, but here's what a Rapid Research timeline could look like:
If you want to run multiple rapid research studies then you can consider staggered projects, allowing multiple studies to run in parallel.
Here's what a two-track version of Rapid Research could look like:
While Devin Harold was UX Research Manager at a major UX telecoms company, the Rapid Research program delivered on its promise.
After just six months, Devin and the team saw the following results:
"When I built the rapid research program team at Verizon, we saw an almost double amount of research that we were doing as a team. Our bandwidth had drastically increased."
Director of UX Research at Capital One
UserZoom makes setting up Rapid Research quick and easy by offering:
If your team is ready to adopt the Rapid Research Framework taking advantage of UserZoom’s features, or if you'd like our expert Research Delivery team to execute, learn more here.
If you’re already a UserZoom user, you can get started today. Haven’t tried UserZoom? Find out why companies like Google, P&G, Microsoft, PayPal and Santander trust us to help them deliver exceptional experiences.