Content Strategy

Design Research Debrief

Kristina Halvorson

Kristina Halvorson

Brain Traffic
Content Strategy

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The "Design Research Debrief" Lesson is part of the full, Content Strategy course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Kristina reviews students' answers — and even those students lacking answers — to the Design Research Exercise.


Transcript from the "Design Research Debrief" Lesson

>> So, I'm really interested to hear, some of the questions that you all have about your users. So let's have one. Somebody shoot one over to me. Somebody.
>> What sections of the site do you use most on a daily basis?
>> Great, what sections of the site do you use most on a daily basis?

Okay, great. Do you have users that are coming to your site daily? [INAUDIBLE]
>> Merchants. Okay. Great. Great. Good, do you have assumptions about that?
>> Yes.
>> And do you have, and why do you care about that?
>> Cuz we wanna optimize and improve the performance of the tools of the site.

>> Great. And, do you have information about this?
>> We have, we do have some metrics.
>> So you're using behavioral metrics? Great, okay. Do you have any access to your users, your end users or do you have a user research team?
>> I've a product owner who does most of that stuff.

>> [LAUGH]
>> Good. Okay, great. So you do have some first hand knowledge of what they're looking for? Great. All right, who else, who else has a question?
>> So I actually got stuck on the, we know, because we don't know.
>> That's okay.
>> And so you get to that point and it's like, okay.

And in my example, I have a portfolio site and I'm in a job search right now. And so it's just me, it's my little sight.
>> Yeah.
>> And I hooked up Google Analytics but I haven't I done anything besides checking on that here and there
>> Sure.

>> And so I think it's just, There's so many question marks.
>> That's all I have as questions.
>> [LAUGH]
>> Good, good. That's great. What that says to me is that you have a real opportunity for some user research. And I think a really great easy way to get at that user research would be to identify some friends or some past colleagues, who have done any kind of hiring anywhere close to your field.

And just ask them what do you look for, what's most important to you, or ask them to look at your site and give you their honest opinion, and not just from does it look okay? But does it give you the information and quickly that you would need, as a potential employer, to get in touch with me or to make a decision about whether or not to interview me, right.

So, in that instance, you don't need to get in touch with very specific potential employers, but, even just like reaching out and getting feedback from folks who've had that experience can be enormously helpful. And we have huge blind spots when it comes to our own thing. I mean, you guys know the typical example of the restaurant that doesn't have the phone number or the hours on the homepage.

Like, why do you go to a restaurant? You guy to see what time or the location to see where they're located, and it's buried in the footer or something. That becomes a blind spot for the restaurant, cuz they think, we need to feature our food and we need to feature our menu.

Well if I can't call you, or make reservations, or get there, then it's a problem. Okay, so that's exciting. That to me says you don't have you do have a lot of question marks and that's an opportunity to do some user research. One more, one more question we had about our users.

>> In our case, what type of person are you? Are you a manager? Are you somebody looking to get into the profession? Are you looking to learn a specific skill set? So, I wouldn't know exactly how to frame those questions coming onto the site, but I definitely have a question of, are you a designer looking to code?

Do you have an existing profession that you're trying to transition to coding? You know, there's all these different kind of personas and kind of clarifying that.
>> Sure.
>> So we kind of do that with our learning paths. We try to split it into different pockets of potential, beginner versus intermediate [INAUDIBLE] whatever [INAUDIBLE].

>> Yep.
>> How many visitors do you have on your site daily?
>> Well, I just did some cursory analytics, I think it's 150,000 unique visitors a month.
>> A month? Okay, so that's too many to have an open ended survey about who people are, for that to be at all meaningful.

I mean, you could do some keyword analysis but in that instance, it seems to me that you do have an opportunity for some closed ended research. Even if it is just a I am a blank, who wants to blank, so I can blank, right so, I am a designer, coder, writer, manager, freelancer.

Where they can pick one or more, who's interested in learning to code, learning to design, bettering my career, so they can pick multiples, so that I can find a new job, get a promotion, go out on my own. So, that's a one way that you could help fill in your blanks for your personas.

That exercise of I am a blank, who wants to blank, so that I can blank, is very, very common among UX design communities, that they'll use to start narrowing down and prioritizing personas. So, but that's a good question, who's coming to my site and why? That's pretty fundamental.

>> Yup.
>> Well, you know what? You may not care about the other audiences. You may not care about the people who aren't the right audience for you, and that's perfectly reasonable. You know, because that's I think we've done a bunch of workshops where people are like, We have like for nonprofit.

We have members, we have potential donors. We have mega donors and we have potential employees. Then there's also the media and there's people that just, you know, accidentally click through a link and their students and their I mean, they named like, 40 audiences. We had to say you get four to prioritize.

Because, if you try to prioritize and serve all 40 audiences, your site's going to end up being just a mishmash of irrelevant stuff that ends up being for nobody.
>> That makes sense cuz in our case, our core audience is essentially people who are already professionals who want to further and have ongoing advancement in their career.

So, they want to pick up a specific skill, like CSS grids or whatever to apply to their job. So, it's very specific skill oriented to get a specific result. And so that's kind of who we focus on, we kind of assume you already have a job, and you want the latest, particular skill to apply to your job today.

And so that's kind of where our whole site and everything we kind of focus on that persona. But, there are other personas like a manager looking to sign up their team. There are people who are looking to get into the profession that we should probably have catered to them but it's.

>> Or not, I mean we have someone who's transitioning right now, here in class, and your offer continuing education, right? And that can be to somebody who has a job or who is looking to grow into a different job, you know, and is in between. So, yeah, that might be an interesting exercise for you guys to go through to figure out who you prioritize and who you let go.

You know.
>> Can you go down, too far down the rabbit hole in terms of trying to define personas. With what you're describing It almost feels like you know, what if I don't fit into any of those buckets, but I just want to learn more, you know, I'm just curious or whatever just and you don't have that bucket, it just feels like you can almost go too far the other direction.

>> Yes, you can. You can go down the rabbit hole for sure. And that is where the we care because, like if you can't come up with a better reason than just we might miss out on this people or we want to serve everyone, then probably that persona is a persona that you don't need to care about.

>> I mean the thing just even further back, I mean, as opposed to you're offering education for job seekers, as opposed to, we offer education for whoever's interested. It's one thing I guess for something like this when you're trying to define your material that would make sense. But otherwise, I guess, if it's actually the site, I would think you'd want to make it, anyone wants it, here's our stuff.

>> Well but I often say that if you make your site for anyone it often ends up being for no one. Do you know what I mean?
>> And I get that, I guess when you're building and designing it, I mean more just don't turn people off in a way, that kind of thing.

>> Sure.
>> So, in other words, if I landed on your site and this is a great site for people to excel in their jobs, I'm unemployed, I might, so I just wonder because in a way that's not actually what-
>> That comes down to messaging, doesn't it?

>> Yeah.
>> Yeah. And brand and product placement and product design and yeah. Oftentimes I will say oftentimes as a content strategist, we kind of get handed brand strategy. That content strategy does not inform brand strategy. It's the other way around. And so in this instance, if brand strategy were, we help further people's careers with online and in person education, for example, then yeah, one of our primary audiences would be well, probably we'd have people in transition or anyway.

Yeah. So this book, Just Enough Research, is worth its weight in gold because it is realistic about user research on, I got this wrong, play, teach learn. That doesn't-
>> Play, teach, deliver, I did play, teach, learn. It's realistic about user research that real people can conduct and not like when a lot of times when people hear research, they're like, ooh, big fancy research firm, that there's going to cost us a million dollars and that's not the case at all.

She provides some really very specific useful tools for research. So, this is worth picking up and reading and familiarizing yourself with, because every single one of us needs to be able to empathize with an end user, at the end of the day, so.

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