From Spectator to Diver: Four Ways to Immerse Yourself in User Research

Working in a digital environment or as a digital product owner, you may feel like you are stranded on a deserted island when it comes to understanding how you could improve your digital offering. While you could rely on your assumptions, it carries inherent risks and may not yield the desired outcomes. Alternatively, you could enlist the help of a third party to research on your behalf. Or, instead, consider immersing yourself in a research experience and exploring the waters of user behavior yourself.

AI-generated visual of a person lost on a island

At Ginetta, we know the value of involving clients in research. It leads to better decision-making and a common understanding that paves the way to success. Including yourself in the user research process can bring numerous advantages:

  1. Gain a better understanding of your users: By observing user research sessions, you can see firsthand how users interact with your digital product or service. This can help you understand their challenges and pain points, build empathy, and create better solutions that meet their needs and your business goals.
  2. Your expertise is included along the way: As a client, you bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from your domain. Participating in research sessions can provide valuable information and analysis from different perspectives, fostering the co-creation of solutions better suited to your user’s needs and business goals.
  3. Identify areas for innovation: Getting to know your users can be a source of inspiration. Involving yourself in user research can help you discover new opportunities to expand your product or service to the next level or optimize existing ones.

As a UX researcher, I’ve seen firsthand the power of involving our clients in our user research process. The fact that you’re still reading tells me it’s starting to sink in for you too. That’s why we’ve created four different immersion models in user research for our clients, each offering a unique level of involvement.

Since we started with the metaphorical island introduction: Let’s dive in!

Model 1 Stay on the Island:

A professional researcher conducts the research for you and provides you with the most valuable insights and recommendations. You decide to stay on the island and observe the deep waters from afar. You wait for other people to return and tell you about the exciting highlights of their experience. This is similar to the lowest level of involvement we offer and is most suited if you have only limited participation capacity.

AI-generated visual that shows people staying on an island

Model 2 Join the boat trip:

Join a few sessions as an observer. You decide to join a boat trip around the island. You get to see some sights up close but remain a spectator. This allows you to better understand the research process, the challenges, and the pain points of your user’s experience with your product. You can maintain your everyday responsibilities while gaining valuable information from observing the sessions.

AI-generated visual of a boat trip

Model 3 — Snorkeling excursion:

Take part in all the sessions and take notes. You decide to go on a snorkeling excursion on the reef. You get to dive deeper into the waters and observe the sea and its habitats up close. At this immersion level, you’ll actively participate, take notes on what you observe and hear, and provide feedback in debriefing sessions. This provides a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and needs. Furthermore, a common ground of knowledge is created within the project team. That, later on, can lead to precious discussions and empowered decision-making.

AI-generated visual of a snorkeling excursion

Model 4 Full diving experience:

This model requires some expertise in ‘water,’ meaning you should have prior UX research or design knowledge. Conducting user research independently without prior experience is like scuba diving without a license. Even though we’d love to use this model more at Ginetta, we still want to ensure we’re giving you the best results with the highest impact on your product.

Model 4 will allow you to conduct user tests with the guidance of an experienced researcher from Ginetta. You decide to take the plunge and go on a whole diving experience. You are fully immersed in the waters, interacting with the sea creatures and exploring the hidden depths of the island.

You can moderate sessions with an interview guide created by Ginetta. The researcher takes notes, debriefs with you to focus on the main results, and gives feedback if needed. This model is perfect if you want to take charge of the research process and learn by conducting user research. This level of immersion provides the most comprehensive understanding of user needs and behavior. It allows for co-creating solutions that significantly impact the user while keeping your business perspective close.

AI-generated visual of a full diving experience

Remember, more minds create better ideas. You’ll build empathy and develop better solutions by participating in an immersive research experience. In addition to the many benefits I’ve mentioned, experiencing your customers’ thoughts and reactions firsthand adds a personal, human touch to your project. Sounds weird? You will know what I mean once you have immersed yourself.

And with our four immersion models, you can choose the level of involvement that works best for you and your team.

So come on in; the water’s great!

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