What is research?
Research methodology is what everyone who decides on a large project needs to know. And it’s not about the size of the project. The point is what result you want to get.
- Rondesignlab Team
How to start well and finish well?
What does research mean? How to get the best research ever? What kinds of research you can meet? How to Google about research? Should your research be descriptive? What are the benefits of a research? What are the disadvantages of a research? In this article, you will learn everything you can learn about research. This is a very informative article.
Of course, everything has its own nuances, but conducting research process for a web project is actually simple, and doesn’t require much time. Thanks to planning and dividing the project into small steps, you can save time and achieve maximum effect. The most important thing is to understand the complete plan of your research before you begin design, development, and anything else. In fact, this is all very simple and even interesting. In this article, you’ll learn many development details, get useful information and tips that you can use in working on your project and research. Therefore, this article is totally worth the time. After reading it, your research methods will be better.
Whether it’s a new site or a mobile application, a new design of an existing site or app, this article will help you plan how to achieve this most successfully and efficiently. Try to experiment with your research! Look for new research methods and approaches. Perhaps some of the research methods described here will be new to you.
Think about the amount of research that needs to be done in advance. What does it mean in advance? This means a study that you’ll have to do before the client agrees to your services and before he pays the first bill. Only then you’ll start your main research.
Circumstances are such that you often have to give the estimated cost of the project, not having complete information. There is no need to conduct a two-day research on the upcoming project only to find out that you have requested too high a price, or that your proposed schedule is too long, or that the client was only interested, not intending to place an order.
That is why you have to give approximate amounts. And at this stage, it is important not to name the amount lower than the amount that you will have to spend in the process of fulfilling your agreement.
Let’s talk about data collection
Do not spend more time collecting data for an approximate estimate of the project cost than 15-20 minutes. It will not live up to expectations if you spend more time. Do not do this. It will make you bankrupt. Often, customers turn to you to find out the cost in order to compare with the value of other companies. And if the client chooses another company, then you just spend time for which no one will pay you. And if this is one client, then you can put up with it. But if there are 10 or 20 such clients? You can only work to satisfy someone’s curiosity while earning nothing. Is that your goal?
Collecting data to accurately estimate the cost of a research project can take about 2-3 hours. This is a normal period for which you can understand what resources you will spend on doing this research process. In fact, customers are waiting for exactly this, but you need to explain to them that first an approximate assessment is carried out and after that it makes sense to discuss the exact assessment. This is an important point that you should always remember, otherwise the whole working day may be wasted.
Deep research methods take as much time as needed. Here you should already calculate all the nuances. Everything must be accurate. You need to get each item. Make sure your client has no questions left after that research. The main task of your research is not only to answer all questions, but also to provide more information. You must show your professionalism. But how to do that? We’ll talk about this now.
How to do a quick research
So, let’s answer the question how to do a quick research? It is no secret that collecting information for an approximate assessment is usually a brief study with a task that a client provides you with. Of course, you can get a client brief in any form, it can be an application with answers to questions online, an e-mail or a phone call.
As soon as you have such information at hand, you will be able to conduct a rough assessment of the required budget and time. This is what you should do when we talk about quick research. It’s hard to do, but sometimes it’s just important to respond quickly. However, a rough estimate of the project cost cannot be taken too seriously. You will have to conduct at least a little research to give a rough estimate. At this stage of quick research, you only have a brief from the client, but remember that, in principle, a client brief is not a study. This may be the beginning of the study, but not its full version. This is only the foundation that will help to understand the approximate amounts, the amount of time and effort. Take your time at this point. Lay large spans. This is what will save you if in the future it turns out that you indicated too small prices.
In a word, it is assumed that you have a detailed brief. If this is not so, then you need to demand this from the client, because otherwise you simply will not have anything to work with. In this case, you will have answers to the most important, basic questions, which you cannot do without. In this case, you will have to go a little further in your research in order to correctly assess how much to request from the client. And you need to do it skillfully. Of course, experience comes with time. Have patience. Everything will work out, but for this you need to be diligent.
Time and scope of work
It is recommended to spend about 20 minutes on this type of research. But what exactly is included here?
Check what competitors are doing and what you can expect from the client in the future. Be sure to take screenshots. All of it can be useful for your research. So, why don’t you do that?
All this will give you a general idea of the industry, you can see what common features, differences and principles there are in this industry, and get a picture of how the “required” pages should look. You will have questions, so write them down for yourself. It’ll help you a lot in your research.
See if the desires and expectations of the client correspond to the desires and needs of users of the future site.
Customers usually provide a list of what they want to see in a new product. And this is very important. Most often, this is a list of services offered, and you need to make sure that they meet the expectations for this product or in this industry. Common features are easy to see in existing products or competitors. But pay special attention to this. The goal of this step of your research is to identify potential problems or difficulties that will have to be addressed at later stages of development. Again, write down any questions you may have for the future. Let it become your habit. Take a short sketch of the site map and see which pages are missing in the brief.
Customers sometimes overlook common pages or confirmation screens, as well as other details from user experience. Ultimately, they are experts in their field, and you are a professional to whom they turn, so your responsibility is not to lose sight of such details. And if you understand the importance of all this, then feel free to start your research methods.
More detailed analysis
Collecting data for a more accurate estimate takes longer. But it should be done for your research. This step of your research should be started only at the end of the ‘quick research’ and in the case when the client is interested in continuing the dialogue. This means that the client agreed to your offer, he was satisfied with the price for conducting research and you continue to cooperate.
It may take you a couple of days to negotiate by e-mail with a client to understand the real scale of the project so that you can organize the project for yourself or your employees. Surely you will ask a lot of additional questions at this stage of your research, and you will need a couple of hours, or maybe more. Some charge a fee for this process. Decide how much your time costs to complete this task, or decide whether you are ready to do it for free. It also depends a lot. If you do not learn to cherish your time, then you should not even dream of making decent money.
There is a reason to spend about three hours to…
Briefly learn more details about the specific industry for which the project is being prepared. This must be carefully studied. Get to know your competitors. Collect as much information as possible for your research. You also need to ask about long-term goals. These goals are extremely important and may reveal hidden information. If you already know about them, or at least some of them, you can prepare a solid foundation for a future project. This will save your customers time and money in the future, and you will potentially raise your credibility in their eyes, because you follow their interests. Do not forget how such trifles are important in work.
Briefly try to delve into the workflow of organizing your clients. And also try to understand the scope of the project regarding technical details: the number of pages or screens that need to be created, support for platforms and devices, access requirements, integration with third parties, etc.
In case of redesign
For your research you should analyze the current position of your client online: brand, website, social media profiles, etc. Perhaps this is not even worth explaining. Everyone should understand the importance of this point, right? You need to ask for access to the CMS as well as analytics data. If you see that problems are gaining ground, you need to analyze this as well. Even problems that are unlikely can and should be addressed.
Do not forget, document everything and create a brief description of the project, as well as determine the estimated cost.
Doing your research, you should understand that both you and your customers will have many more questions, but do not rush to panic. In this case, this is quite normal. Learn to be confident in situations where there is no certainty. Learn to predict potential problems and solve them. These qualities will help you in this area. Fortunately, all this comes with experience. Your next research will always be better then your previous one.
Design and details related to this
Contact the customer. Ask him as many questions as possible. Your goal is to collect information for the research. Do not think that you can be too intrusive. Your task is to be intrusive. Only in this way you will collect the necessary info in the shortest possible time.
Therefore, ask the client to provide you with all the marketing material. This will help you figure out how they communicate with their audience and potential customers. This is important, and you must pay attention to it. Also ask the client to share with you any print publications, brochures, newspapers, annual reports, posters, DVDs, books, etc. You can find a lot of information for the research in these sources that will help you get a better idea about the client and his business. Have you asked? Excellent. Move on.
Ask if the company has branding instructions. You need to find out if your future work will be limited by the existing brand. Collect information about corporate colors, design preferences, symbolism, brand texts. Consistency within the brand is extremely important, and you need to identify potential weaknesses where in the past the design was not so effective at achieving this consistency.
Technical requirements and their importance
We all understand that technical issues can sometimes take unpredictably a lot of time. Therefore, it is important to ask the client if they have a hosting and domain name. You can help if they do not know which hosting to choose. The problem of choice will also take some time, and you must figure it out in advance. If you can instruct them to do the hosting and domain registration themselves, they will have to deal with it themselves. But rest assured, your customers will still call you and ask for help in resolving simple issues. And this also has to be spelled out, otherwise you will spend a lot of time and not earn anything.
During your research, it’s important to ask the customer if they use Google Analytics, Mint or other analytics services. If not, please help them set up the analytics system. It should be obvious to everyone how important it is these days to use it. This will give them access to valuable information about website performance, browsing, content openness, goals, and, most importantly, analytics will show you and them how the right decisions were made regarding website design and optimization, and where additional work is needed.
Understanding your customer’s business is the key
So, talking about the research, let discuss what is the essence of your client’s business is a question that you need to answer first. Ideally, you should learn as much as possible about the company, and how it works, find out the history of the company, traditions, etc. This does not mean that you need to request financial information or a report for the last quarter for the research. No, you are interested in how they do what they do. Learn to understand the cash flow, and what is needed to ensure that the company can maintain a healthy business. New knowledge will not only help you with this particular project, but will also help you become a better professional.
It is simple but important for your research. Put yourself in the shoes of the company owner. Understand what products or services mean to them. Understand the turnover of company funds and the structure, strategy and priorities.
Collect general information about the competitive market. This will help you do your research well. This will help them succeed. There are no losers in this situation.
So, everything described above may seem complicated, but, in fact, it is not. Your task now is to balance all the information found from research, interviews with the client, your knowledge about their business, consumers, and combine this in the context of your project. Of course, you did all this as the study progressed, but now you have specific leads for making decisions on design, UX, usability, and development in general.
Don’t forget that a lot depends on your research methods. Make a list of all the important notes that could be valuable for your research, or make a table, mark them with color or arrange them in order of importance for the purposes of your project. When you make decisions at the development stages, you can look at a table or list to compare them with the results of your research methods. Here is what you need to do with a purpose to make an excellent research. Here is what the customer is willing to pay you for.
Satisfied customer, wonderful project
In order to satisfy the client, you need to do your research as well as possible. You need to show maximum interest. You need to show your professionalism. All this comes with experience. But in order to gain experience, you need to start now. Perhaps all this information can scare. But do not worry about it. Just get started.
Research methods may be different, and yet it is important that it be paid for. From payment depends on how responsible the performer is to work. If the client will not pay you at its true worth, if he shows himself to be mean, then maybe it is better to look for another client? Indeed, when conducting research methods, too often a situation may arise when you have missed something.
Everything is impossible to predict. Life is unpredictable. And this is normal. Nevertheless, you should strive to ensure that your research is as accurate as possible. This is what the professional you are going to show up in. Strive to be better than you are and especially doing the research for your clients. Make the research as good as possible and you will succeed. It’s not so important which method will you choose as how do you do this at all. So, as a conclusion you should see that now you know how to become the best researcher.