How to Conduct Agile UX Research?

Navigating the Agile landscape: A comprehensive guide to conducting Agile UX Research with AI-powered research platforms

Author

Godi Yeshaswi

Date

March 14, 2024

In the world of making products easy and enjoyable to use, people talk a lot about being "agile." But sometimes, using agile methods for UX research can be tough because of all the hype around it. On the other hand, embracing continuous research offers a more immediate and flexible approach. Unlike traditional project-based research, continuous research allows for ongoing exploration, letting users shape the direction of inquiry and revealing insights that might otherwise go unnoticed.

With continuous user research, the focus shifts from predefined questions to a dynamic exploration of users' needs and experiences in real time. This approach breaks down the barriers between researchers and users, fostering regular engagement with the real world instead of relying on outdated reports.

Why Do UX Research and Agile Don’t Go Hand in Hand?

In Agile settings, user research, like interviews or usability testing, is usually approached similarly to building new features. It's broken down into smaller tasks, spread across multiple work cycles (sprints), aiming to produce tangible outcomes.

However, this approach brings several difficulties:

  • Research takes longer than a single sprint. As a result, tasks remain unfinished for several sprints, causing delays.
  • Findings from research often don't influence future work. Although teams gather user feedback, it's not integrated back into the task list for action.
  • The research doesn't produce tangible results like finished designs or code. This confuses stakeholders and teams, as they're used to concrete outputs.
  • These challenges often lead to UX research being overlooked or abandoned in Agile setups.

So, how can agile UX research be beneficial?

What is Agile UX Research?

Agile UX research is a flexible strategy for understanding how people use a product. It's about continuously learning and adapting as the product evolves. Instead of doing big, one-time studies, UX researchers work closely with the team, doing smaller tests and interviews in quick cycles. This helps them quickly spot problems and make improvements. So, instead of guessing what users want, teams can make decisions based on real feedback, making the product better for everyone.

With more than 80% of internet users willing to pay extra for a good user experience, providing exceptional UX has become a top priority for every business.

What are the Benefits of Agile UX Research?

The benefits of Agile UX research include:

Continuous Feedback 

Agile UX research allows for ongoing feedback collection throughout the development process, ensuring that user needs are constantly considered and addressed.

Flexibility 

It offers the flexibility to adapt research methods and strategies based on evolving project requirements and user feedback.

Faster Iterations 

Agile UX research enables quicker iterations and adjustments to designs, leading to faster product improvements and enhancements.

Improved User Experience 

By incorporating user feedback early and often, Agile UX research helps create products that are more user-centered, intuitive, and enjoyable to use.

Reduced Risk 

By validating assumptions and ideas through iterative testing, Agile UX research helps mitigate the risk of developing products that don't meet user needs or expectations.

Enhanced Collaboration 

Agile UX research fosters collaboration between cross-functional teams, including UX designers, developers, and product managers, leading to better communication and alignment throughout the project lifecycle.

When to Conduct Agile UX Research?

When to conduct Agile UX research depends on the stage of product development and the need for iterative feedback and improvement. It is beneficial to conduct Agile UX research:

During Early Development 

Conduct Agile UX research at the beginning of the development process to gather initial insights and validate assumptions about user needs and preferences. This helps in shaping the product direction early on.

Throughout Iterative Design 

Continuously conduct Agile UX research throughout the iterative design process to gather feedback on prototypes, designs, and features as they evolve. This allows for quick adjustments based on user feedback, ensuring that the product remains aligned with user needs.

Before Major Releases 

Conduct Agile UX research before major releases or updates to validate changes, identify potential issues, and ensure that the new features meet user expectations. This helps in reducing the risk of launching features that may not resonate with users.

In Response to User Feedback 

Conduct Agile UX research in response to user feedback, usability issues, or changing market trends. This allows for quick adjustments and improvements based on real-time user insights, ensuring that the product remains relevant and competitive.

During Continuous Improvement 

Incorporate Agile UX research into the product development lifecycle as part of continuous improvement efforts. Regularly gather feedback from users to identify areas for enhancement and drive iterative improvements to the user experience over time.

How to Conduct an Agile UX Research?

Only 1% of users say e-commerce websites meet their expectations on every visit. Explore the process of conducting Agile UX Research, illustrated through an example of implementing research in an agile methodology for e-commerce platforms.

Also read - 10 E-commerce UX Best Practices 

How to conduct an agile UX research?

Identify Research Goals

Begin by understanding the objectives of your research. What specific aspects of the user experience are you aiming to explore or improve? Clearly define your research goals to provide focus and direction for your efforts.

Example: Let's say you're developing a new e-commerce website. Your research goal could be to understand how users navigate through the site and make purchasing decisions.

Create Research Plan

Develop a comprehensive research plan that outlines the methods, timeline, resources, and logistics for conducting your research. Specify the research techniques you'll use, such as interviews, surveys, usability testing, or ethnographic observation. Determine the duration of each research activity, allocate resources accordingly, and establish milestones to track progress.

Example: Plan to conduct usability testing over two weeks, including tasks such as browsing products, adding items to the cart, and checking out.

Recruit Participants

Identify the target audience for your research and recruit participants who match the characteristics and demographics of your user base. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, occupation, and level of experience with the product or service. Ensure diversity in your participant pool to capture a broad range of perspectives and insights.

Example: Recruit participants ranging from tech-savvy millennials to older adults who may be less familiar with online shopping.

Conduct Research

Execute the planned research activities according to your research plan. Conduct interviews, surveys, usability tests, or other methods to gather data and insights from participants. Follow established protocols and procedures to ensure consistency and reliability in data collection. Maintain open communication with participants, address any concerns or questions they may have, and create a comfortable environment for sharing feedback.

Example: Conduct task-based and live usability testing sessions where participants are asked to complete specific tasks on your website while providing feedback.

Analyze Findings

Once you've collected the data, analyze it systematically to identify patterns, trends, and key insights. Use qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques to interpret the data and derive meaningful conclusions. Look for common themes, recurring issues, and opportunities for improvement. Consider the context in which the data was collected and explore connections between different data points.

Example: Analyze usability testing recordings, journeys, and notes to identify areas of interest and common pain points, like difficulties finding product information or confusion during checkout.

Prioritize Actionable Insights

Evaluate the findings from your research and prioritize actionable insights based on their potential impact on the user experience and project goals. Identify key areas where improvements can be made or changes implemented to address user needs and pain points. Consider factors such as feasibility, resource constraints, and alignment with project priorities when prioritizing insights for action.

Example: Prioritize fixing checkout process issues over minor visual design enhancements based on the severity of the impact on user experience. Insights from eye tracking, facial coding, and voice tonality play a crucial role in providing unbiased and actionable insights. 

Implement Changes

Translate prioritized insights into concrete actions and make iterative improvements to the product or service based on research findings. Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including designers, developers, and stakeholders, to implement changes effectively. Use agile methodologies to iteratively design, test, and refine solutions, incorporating feedback from users and stakeholders throughout the process.

Example: Redesign the checkout flow to simplify steps and reduce friction points identified during usability testing.

Test Again (Iterate)

After implementing changes, follow-up research will be conducted to validate the effectiveness of the improvements and gather additional feedback from users. Use the same or similar research methods as before to assess whether the changes have addressed user needs and improved the overall user experience. Iterate on the design or implementation based on the results of the follow-up research, making further adjustments as needed.

Example: Run another round of usability testing with the updated checkout flow to ensure that changes have addressed previous issues and improved the user experience.

Repeat the Process

Continuously cycle through the research process, incorporating new insights and feedback into ongoing product development efforts. Maintain a user-centered approach and a commitment to continuous improvement by regularly conducting research activities at different stages of the project lifecycle. Adapt your research plan and strategies as needed based on evolving project requirements, user feedback, and changes in the competitive landscape.

Example: Regularly schedule usability testing sessions and user interviews throughout the development lifecycle to maintain a user-centered approach.

Agile UX Research with Qatalyst

Qatalyst offers a comprehensive and integrated user research platform equipped with Insights AI, enabling teams to conduct Agile UX research efficiently and effectively. With a wide range of research capabilities and cutting-edge AI-powered technologies, Qatalyst empowers teams to gather actionable insights and iterate on product designs iteratively.

Diverse Research Methods

Qatalyst supports various research methods, including prototype testing, usability testing, live app testing, live website testing, card sorting, tree testing, surveys, and moderated research. This diverse set of tools allows teams to tailor their research approach to the specific needs and objectives of their project.

AI-Powered Insights

Qatalyst leverages Insights AI, which includes Emotion AI, Behavior AI, and Gen AI, to provide deeper insights into user behavior and preferences. Through facial coding, eye tracking, click tracking, and voice tonality analysis; teams can gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with their products and uncover hidden insights that traditional research methods may miss.

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Iterative Testing and Improvement

With Qatalyst, teams can conduct Agile UX research in quick cycles, allowing for rapid iterations and continuous improvement. By gathering feedback from users early and often, teams can identify usability issues, validate design decisions, and make informed adjustments to enhance the user experience iteratively.

Seamless Collaboration

Qatalyst facilitates collaboration across cross-functional teams by providing a centralized platform for conducting research, analyzing data, and sharing insights. Teams can collaborate in real time, share findings, and track progress, ensuring alignment and transparency throughout the research process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Agile UX research offers a dynamic and effective approach to understanding user needs and improving the user experience throughout the product development lifecycle. By embracing continuous research methods and following a structured process, teams can gather valuable insights, make informed decisions, and create products that are more intuitive, user-friendly, and aligned with user preferences. With Agile UX research, teams can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, mitigate risks, and foster collaboration across disciplines, ultimately leading to better outcomes and enhanced user satisfaction. By prioritizing user feedback and iterating on design and implementation, Agile UX research empowers teams to create products that truly resonate with their audience and deliver meaningful value.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the UX and agile methodology?

Agile methodology and UX design both emphasize collaboration, iteration, and user focus. By merging these approaches, organizations can enhance communication, expedite development, and promptly integrate user feedback, leading to improved outcomes.

What is the difference between lean UX and Agile UX?

Both methodologies may ultimately achieve the same outcome, but they follow distinct paths to get there. Agile methods challenge UX designers to rethink traditional design and communication practices, while Lean UX encourages a shift in traditional research and quality measurement approaches.

Is agile good for research projects?

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Agile frameworks represent particular approaches to research in product development that align with agile principles. While all insights teams can gain from embracing these principles, methodologies like Scrum and Kanban are particularly well-suited for smaller groups.

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With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

3

Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

4

Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

2

Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

3

Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

4

Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

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Publish the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

Author Bio

Yeshaswi is a dedicated and enthusiastic individual with a strong affinity for tech and all things content. When he's not at work, he channels his passion into his love for football, especially for F.C. Barcelona and the GOAT, Lionel Messi. Instead of hitting the town for parties, he prefers to spend quality time cuddling with his Golden Retriever, Oreo.

Godi Yeshaswi

Product Marketing Specialist

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