Gather an in-depth understanding of user behavior and motivation, and come up with winning test hypotheses.
Conduct moderated user testing by mixing your UI with your competitors’ or non-related tasks and ask your participants to achieve a very general goal.
Before you set your tasks, ask users to spend some time online, reading the news or checking Facebook, without you directing them at all, to help them acclimatize to an unfamiliar environment. Conduct research on your proposition to see if it resonates and persuades your target audience.
Go through your live chat transcripts to get insights on what your users are looking for, what is missing from your site, or what is hard to find.
You can feed the transcript into Wordle.net to tease out words that are used frequently, to get clues to larger issues.
Conduct customer interviews by calling a customer or jumping on a video chat to have an actual conversation.
Customer interviews can be very insightful; for example, you can get a better understanding of what your target audience actually needs to hear to make a positive buying decision.
Conduct interviews with employees from customer service, support, and sales teams, to leverage their in-depth knowledge of the problems and issues your customers are dealing with.
When talking to employees from sales and customer service, ask questions like:
- What are the five most common questions you get from (potential) customers?
- What do you answer when you get these questions?
Survey your customers to learn who they really are, what they want, what’s causing doubts and hesitations, and the language they use.
- Survey only recent first-time buyers, where it has been no more than 30 days since their purchase (better if it’s right after completing the purchase). If you survey them past 30 days, they can forget what they were thinking when they shopped on your site and then give wrong answers.
- Use open-ended questions and no (or very limited) multiple-choice or scale-based responses.
Survey your web traffic with exit surveys - show a popup when a user is about to leave your site - and on-page surveys - ask them to fill out a survey when on a specific page.
Determine the most wanted action on a specific page (for example, product page), to come up with questions for your surveys. Start with learning about friction - what are the FUDs (fears, doubts, hesitations) your users are experiencing - while on the page? For example, if you have an ecommerce product page, the goal would be cart adds. The question to ask could be something like What’s holding you back from adding this product to the cart right now? or What’s keeping you from buying this product right now?
Take note of the responses from your web traffic surveys, customer interviews, and all the qualitative research in previous steps, and mine for insights.
For example, see if your customer survey responses about friction are similar to web traffic survey results.