What UserZoom’s product journey means for modern UX research
With the arrival of UserZoom’s Fall release, it’s time to take stock of the last couple of years of product development, look at how the UX landscape has evolved and look forward to how the paths of UserZoom and UX research will align into the future.
UserZoom’s focus is to become a truly modern UX research platform for organizations, where you can automate user research and usability testing for both speed and scale. Therefore UserZoom’s Fall release marks an incredible milestone in the UserZoom product history, releasing a UX Results beta that will evolve toward a next-gen, AI-powered UX Results Dashboard, to translate unstructured data into actionable insights in the most efficient way.
In the last two years, every area of the product has seen an enhancement. In this short amount of time we have realized significant advances in how our customers build UX studies, source participants, and analyze results to get to the insights they need to design and deliver great digital experiences.
But how did we get there? What lessons have we learnt? What does the future of UserZoom, and indeed, UX research look like?
Please indulge us as we lift the hood on the UserZoom product development machine, tinker around for a while and answer all these questions. We’re a product company, first and foremost, and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved from a development standpoint, and we also want to be transparent and share the the next steps of our journey with you.
But first, to help put UserZoom’s journey into context, let’s take a look at how the UX landscape has evolved over the last few years…
The evolution of UX
Having worked in the UX space for about 20 years now, I’ve seen this industry make great progress. When I think about its evolution, there are a few things that come to mind:
1) Good design is appreciated by everyone across the board, including C-level execs
It used to be a ‘nice to have’, focused mostly on visual design. But today form and function are both absolute musts. UX designers work on both interaction and visual design and product quality is judged by not just how it looks but how it functions. Thank you iPhone!
2) Research is Design. Design is Research
We’re witnessing the ‘democratization’ of research. UX research and usability testing is no longer limited to well-trained, experienced researchers. Thanks to automation designers, product managers and digital marketers can appreciate the power of UX research and are welcoming it into their process. Many of the most competitive companies now realise you can’t have one without the other.
3) UX Research is no longer an isolated activity
It used to be that companies would conduct one study per quarter, often even once or twice a year, but today we see how automation is enabling teams to run multiple studies every week, or at least every agile sprint, both in the lab and remotely. Thanks to software, research is getting embedded into the Agile Dev processes, surfacing user feedback in a fast and cost-effective way.
There’s no excuse not to test design before you move into production. And there are also plenty of options to run user research before and after design begins, so you can better understand who it is you’re designing for. So research is present at every stage of the product life cycle.
So how has UserZoom adapted to this modern UX landscape?
The modern UserZoom
Over 10 years ago we started building an online research tool for the advanced UX researcher in order to automate the tedious process of conducting usability studies. Over time we added more functionality and capabilities, making it a unique multi-method UX research solution. In October 2015, the modern UserZoom was born after raising $34 million in Series A venture capital – this enabled us to begin investing in the three key areas of our product that relate to three key components of UX research – study design and creation, participant sourcing, and results analysis.
Study design and creation
Throughout 2017, we simplified the product experience and made all types of studies easier to create. We added Basic Usability Testing to help non-researchers launch their own UX tests with confidence. We then added our Remote Moderated service so that you can now conduct moderated and unmoderated studies all on the same platform, making UserZoom your true one-stop-shop for all UX research needs.
In addition, everything is much easier and simpler to use across all study types, thanks to more in-product videos and more contextual help, a greater number of study templates and an investment in our own personnel that enables the kind of white glove support that only a genuine customer-centric company can deliver.
Our participant sourcing capabilities are now the most comprehensive in the marketplace. With the launch of Intellizoom, our intelligent sourcing engine, you can leverage your own users for free or have access to over 120 million users worldwide. Over 28 million of which are accessible instantly with the click of a button.
Since the acquisition of YouEye in 2016 and WhatUsersDo in 2018 – as well as the integration of their tech stack and high quality European panel – UserZoom can build towards creating the participant sourcing solution that all enterprises need. Further enhancements in 2018 included integrations with other panels, self-service screeners and automated participant sourcing for all study types across a number of countries.
The launch of our Results Beta represents a major step in making it easier to uncover and share UX insights. UserZoom has already invested in enhancements such as the integration with Tableau, which enables you to connect UX data and metrics with other business data and seamlessly create visualizations. Now it’s even easier to analyze results in UserZoom with updated charts and graphs, simpler navigation, enhanced UI and new filtering capabilities.
These enhancements further advance UserZoom’s unique position as the UX insights company, where both quantitative and qualitative data is now easier to understand.
Moving in to 2019, UserZoom is developing results further, by enhancing the Beta and launching new qualitative analysis features. In conjunction with this we’ll be looking again at how studies are created in UserZoom to make the journey from UX questions to studies to results even faster and simpler.
UserZoom and the future of User Research
UX has become a competitive advantage and a critical aspect of any digital transformation. What I believe we will see in the coming years is the need to consume UX insights in a much more efficient, automated and integrated way.
Brands have more data than then they can handle and can’t rely on human intervention, nor just on one or two sources of data and user feedback. An NPS only tells you part of a story. Tracking consumer behaviour at an aggregate level with commonly deployed analytics tools won’t be enough. Replaying sessions of users using your product won’t produce statistically significant results that yield confident conclusions. In order to deliver great UX design, brands will need insights into the What, Why and How users do what they do.
They’ll need to gain strategic insights into user’s needs and goals, before they go and build products. They’ll need to run way more research than their competitors, to continuously test and measure the quality of the digital experience. This is why we are seeing the increased value in UX testing and research, and the evolution of an integrated UX, CX and Voice of the Customer ecosystem.
At UserZoom, we’re building the most sophisticated and robust UX Insights platform on the planet. We’re adapting to the current needs and demands of our sophisticated customers to deliver high-quality insights in a fast and cost-effective way, for a multi-device, global digital marketplace.
Further, as UX maturity evolves in the industry, more roles in the organization take part. This is why UserZoom will continue to evolve our role-based access to help expose the most relevant capabilities based on a user’s contribution.
A UX researcher will always need the full breadth of UX research capabilities, while collaborating with broader teams of UX designers and product managers, who may only need a limited set of capabilities to perform quick agile testing while contributing to the broader UX strategy.
Regardless of the many features and capabilities available, we’re working on making the task of building a study easy and intuitive, even for those who are not experts in research. We’re expanding our sourcing solutions, covering more geographic areas then ever, as well as increasing the speed at which our customers can collect feedback, without sacrificing the quality of the responses.
Finally, we’re also working on an next-gen, AI-powered analytics engine, to help turn unstructured data into actionable insights in the most efficient way.
The end result is the most powerful solution for continuous and effective user research. UserZoom is a true strategic partner to scale UX research and make it a strong differentiator in the highly competitive digital marketplace.
Main image by Christopher Burns
Originally from Madrid, Spain, Alfonso has 17 years of experience in User Experience, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, Web Design, Web Project Management, User-Centered Design and Usability Testing.
Before founding UserZoom, he worked for companies such as Dell Computers, Icon Medialab (now LBi / Digitas), and Proxicom’s venture in Spain (now Indra). He’s a frequent speaker at UX conferences, has taught usability courses at various universities, and collaborates with the Stanford University Technology Ventures Program.
Andrew has more than 17 years of engineering and product management experience and leads UserZoom’s product and design team. He previously spent 7 years in leadership roles at IBM, serving most recently as Product Director for IBM’s Digital and Mobile Commerce Analytics group. Andrew is passionate about design driven product management and building software solutions that users love. Andrew has a computer engineering degree from Drexel University and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.