Quick guide to consumer insights – how, when and where should you use what?

There are 4 types of consumer insights – very simplified. You can do user tests and interview users to find out how they think, or use eye tracking to see what the user sees, take a look in Google analytics to see what the user does or ask users to fill in a questionnaire to see what they say. All methods are good and fill a purpose, but most of the time it is more effective to use several methods in combination. You can use:

user-thinksUser tests – what the user thinks

User tests or user interviews work very well before a project start to feed into the project brief. It can also be used to generate ideas with the user, or during the course of a project to test solutions in the shape of wire frames – does the user understand how to navigate through and how did they experience the process? It can also be used at the end of a project to verify the final solution to see if it answers to the user’s goal.

Eye tracking – what the user sees

Eye tracking is also a good tool for testing work flows, but also to compare different designs and specific pages. These tests work well for both products, services and to see if the user can find certain information. How do you find the application form? How do you find a product, add it to your basket and check out? What did they see, and what did they ignore? Did the user read the message?

Web analytics – what the user does

Web analytics (for example Google analytics) can be used to see how an existing page works, where the users exit a process or leave the page. It is also a good tool to see which pages are most effective, by using for example A/B test or multivariable tests to see which page has the best conversion rate.

Questionnaires – what the user says

Questionnaires are a good for evaluating existing products or services, to gather opinions and get suggestions from users. Is there something that can be improved? What do you think about the product after the purchase? How did the delivery work?

A combination can be more effective

A combination of several methods will often generate a better result than only using one method.

You could start with a web analysis of a landing page to see if it works. You will then find out what the user does, but not why, and perhaps also come to the insight that something needs to change. You can then use user tests and interviews to find out why they do what they do, what is not working and what can be improved. Combining the test with eye tracking will also give you information on what the user sees and what they miss. If you are selling products, you can also use questionnaires once the product has been delivered to get a picture of the whole process from the initial decision to buy until the delivery of the product.

In all cases it is good to:

  1. Decide what should be tested.
  2. Identify users and recruit relevant people.
  3. Go through with the test.
  4. Give information about the test and solutions to people that have the ability to make changes.
  5. Prioritize and make the changes.
  6. Test, analyse and measure again (this is often forgotten!). A change can generate another fault.

Good luck!

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