Understanding users' goals

User Research

Informs the development of effective websites and apps

  • Why and When

    Web Usability undertakes user research to inform the development of effective websites – at all stages from early concept testing through to established site redesign. This includes:

    • User goal research – to understand what users want to achieve
    • Organisational research – to understand the organisation’s aims and objectives from their digital presence
    • Concept testing – to test new concepts and ideas
    • Information architecture research


    The appropriate research approach will depend on the question you’re trying to answer but we offer:

    • Face-to-face individual depth interviews
    • Paired depth interviews
    • Focus Groups
    • Telephone research
    • Self reporting journals and diaries
    • Surveys and questionnaires – online and offline
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  • Our Approach

    The approach we adopt to user research ensures the right research is undertaken to achieve the client’s aims combined with a process to produce agreed and actionable results.


    In order to recommend the appropriate research approach we look at your ‘broader’ strategic picture. What is the purpose of the research, what are you trying to achieve, how will outputs be used? With our extensive user research experience we see it as our role to challenge clients’ views about their requirements and research methodologies to ensure all projects deliver useful outputs and provide value for money – we won’t undertake a project if we disagree with the proposed approach.

    Action Oriented Process

    When the research methodology permits, a key element of our approach is to encourage all those in an organisation who can influence the implementation of the research to observe some of the research and participate in a discussion facilitated by Web Usability. During the sessions, observers are asked to record issues using cognitive mapping techniques for subsequent discussion, in order to capture their immediate reactions to respondents’ feedback. Subsequently, a Web Usability consultant facilitates a discussion to identify the key issues. This discussion means that the client takes ownership of the research results, and develops a collective view of the issues that enables the identification of actionable results.

    Web Usability consultants bring to these discussions our many years experience of strategic consulting in the private and public sectors. As the situation demands, we draw on this experience to ensure the discussions are guided by this knowledge.

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  • How we do it

    How projects are undertaken depends on the research objectives and methodologies but typically there are three elements:

    • Project preparation
    • Recruitment
    • Conducting the research

    Project preparation

    We plan the research in consultation with the client so the client gets the ‘right’ solution – not an ‘off the shelf’ one. We agree with the client’s project manager the key aims of the research, research methodologies, respondent profiles, research locations, timescales etc. We prepare a discussion guide or questionnaires for the research for approval by the client’s project manager in advance of the research.


    We undertake our own respondent recruitment – we do not use third parties. We believe this allows us to recruit more accurately to our client’s specification, provide greater flexibility, and treat respondents in a decent and ethical way. We are experienced at recruiting respondents from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, and with a range of experience, including respondents with visual, motor or cognitive impairment. All potential respondents undergo a detailed screening to ensure they match the respondent profile – a list of recruited respondents is sent to the client project manager prior to the research session for approval. Respondents are paid a fee for their participation in the research: this ensures their participation and demonstrates appreciation of the value of their involvement.

    Conducting the Research

    How the research is conducted depends on the methodologies used, but typically includes:

    • Preparing discussion guides or questionnaires
    • Scheduling the research
    • Undertaking the research
    • Analysing the outputs
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  • Outputs

    The outputs of the research are dependent of the project but typically include:

    • Reports
    • Presentations
    • DVDs of the research sessions