Everything starts and ends with the user. The user decides whether a new or updated digital experience is accepted. From easy onboarding until proactive recommendation of the experienced system, the user gauges the success of a project, product and company. We analyse the context and tasks of users throughout the journey in order to understand their true, implicit needs. The aim is to uncover meaningful, surprising and actionable insights. There is a vast toolset from which we pick the most suitable for each project. Here are a few of our favourites:

Contextual Inquiries and User Interviews

No method has proven to be more effective than a combination of semi-structured interviews and observations. Accompanying users in their natural environment, and shadowing and listening to them produces great potential results. In addition, one-on-one interviews often unveil unconscious actions of which the user himself was unaware of.

Design Sprints and Co-Creation

The power of group activities lies in team dynamics. These activities often go into unexpected directions. We don’t conduct focus groups as they usually lead to biased outcomes. To steer group activities into the most relevant direction, preparation and moderation are key. Although a Design Thinking approach can be brilliant, it is too abstract for a team of diverse members to grasp in a short time frame, such as workshop. In this case, more specific methods garner the best results. We love to conduct Design Sprints focused on Co-Creation with diverse stakeholders from various disciplines. This method is in unparalleled in its speed decorticating a problem and creating possible solutions.

Usability Tests and UX Evaluations

Anything can be tested from a user’s perspective – whether it be a design prototype, an early implementation or product iteration. We always conduct user evaluations with actual users as you cannot perform validated learning too early on. Qualitative evaluations, like task-based Usability Tests or contextual UX Tests are amongst our favorites. In many cases, we accompany them with quantitative studies, such as standardized usability or UX questionnaires or custom quantitative surveys.

Here is an example for a specifically tailored evaluation to identify gender differences in technology adoption of retail self-services.
“Assessing the influence of gender towards the adoption of technology-enabled self-service systems in retail environments” by Prof. Dr. Christian Zagel, Dr. Jochen Süßmuth and Leo Glomann

Our core principle is to see user research as an integral part of an interdisciplinary team and not as a separate activity. Apart from our researchers, our designers and consultants play an important role during preparation, conduction and analysis of user research.

For further reading about this topic from an academic point-of-view, here’s an outline how we see an integration of informatics, psychology, business and design faculties with regards to Human-Centered Design:
“Human-Centered Design Curriculum for Multidisciplinary Application at Design Faculties” by Leo Glomann for Technische Hochschule Nürnberg
We are working on our own digital solution in the fields of Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing, Behavioral Science and User Research. It is currently in its research and development phase.
→ “User Research through Artificial Intelligence” by Sarra Zaghdoudi and Leo Glomann (work in progress – stay tuned)