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Avoid assumptions: Using research to define audiences in their own words

D9c048fe0faff842f31dae3cdb4fa582?s=47 Amy Grace Wells
October 15, 2020

Avoid assumptions: Using research to define audiences in their own words


Amy Grace Wells

October 15, 2020


  1. Avoid assumptions: Using research to define audiences in their own

    words Amy Grace Wells, UX designer @amygracewells
  2. what you think users do what users actually do WUGTVGUVKPI

  3. Identify Assumptions

  4. I D E N T I F Y I N

    G A S S U M P T I O N S A what without a why. Behaviors discussed as certainties.
 “We need to increase engagement.”

  6. “Our visitors come to the site to read feel- good

  7. A S S U M P T I O N

    S = H Y P OT H E S I S First, interview the stakeholders. Document their assumptions. Define their goals.
  8. E X P LO R E A SS U M

    P T I O N S Who are these people? 
 How would you define an ideal brand advocate?
 What is example of that aha moment when someone converts to a brand advocate?
 Why do they care to learn more about the company? Ask questions the get your stakeholders to describe their assumptions in as much detail as possible. Use questions that come at the topic from different angles.
  9. Define the vague

  10. M E A S U R E M E N

    T I N ST E A D O F VAG U E N E SS Define terms in ways that can be measured.
  11. VAG U E G OA L S 
 “We need

    to increase engagement.”
  12. VAG U E AU D I E N C E

 “We need to activate our influencers.”
  13. None
  14. None
  15. Create better assumptions 
 with data

  16. O BJ E C T I V E S FO

    R DATA • Analyze data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console to gain insights into the site’s audience. • Make assumptions on what advocates might look like and analyze their onsite behavior. • Utilize findings to inform decisions around interviews and site needs.
  17. D E F I N I N G W I

    T H DATA We can define what is known. • Gender, age, country, state, metro • Percentage of page views by new/returning visitors • Device and/or application • Traffic sources (search, direct, owned channels, organic social, referral)
  18. D E F I N I N G W I

    T H DATA We can begin to connect the dots. • With organic search being our largest driver of traffic, what topics do people Google that lead them to the site? (clicks vs. click-through rate) • Insight: All ages are more likely to access via mobile, except 18-24 which are more likely to access via desktop. This is likely our high school and college demographic.
  19. D E F I N I N G W I

    T H DATA We can build segments to test • Segment #1: Entered the site via an owned traffic source at some point. Has been to the site before (returning visitor). • Segment #2: Entered the site via an owned traffic source at some point. Returned to the site 3-9 times.
  20. Test assumptions

  21. F I N D T H E CO R R

    E C T PA RT I C I PA N TS Use segments to define participant requirements. The requirements translate to a recruiting screener to qualify/disqualify participants. For example: • Visited the website within the past 30 days. • Feel positive toward the company. • Has not been employed by the company. • Has a rewards account.
  22. F I N D T H E CO R R

    E C T PA RT I C I PA N TS Don’t just screen for minimum requirements. Screen for ideal characteristics as well. For example: • Shared company information on social media. • Has visited the website to learn more about specific topics such as sustainability. • Signed up for email and/or text messages.
  23. F I N D T H E CO R R

    E C T PA RT I C I PA N TS Define ideal demographic breakdowns. For example: • Ages 30-45 • 66% female/34% male (or similar breakdown when nonbinary/other gender identification is considered) • 25% from the main metro areas (Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco)
  24. Explore actions and topics

  25. Q U E ST I O N M A N

    Y A R E A S Ask questions about: Interests Triggers Specific actions
  26. Q U E ST I O N M A N

    Y A R E A S Use personal interest questions as warm ups and to identify priority content. For example: • What makes you feel positive toward the company? • Tell me about the last thing you read or viewed. What was it about and how did it affect your view of the company? • What types of ways could we present or share stories that would interest you? • What topics are you most interested in as related to the company?
  27. Q U E ST I O N M A N

    Y A R E A S Use trigger questions to identify high-reward opportunities For example: • Was there something particular that transitioned you from just a customer to a fan? • Are there specific topics that mean a lot to you and your personal views that you want to see the company address? • What most often inspires or prompts you to visit the website?
  28. Q U E ST I O N M A N

    Y A R E A S Use action questions to set expectations and engagement. For example: • What might inspire you to share content from the company on social media? • What would inspire you to read more articles or return to the app or website more frequently? • Are there other companies that you have strong positive feelings toward? How do you interact with or share information from those companies?
  29. Report findings

  30. R E P O RT I N G T H

    E R E S U LTS Quantifiable trends Behavioral insights Actionable insights Quotes to prove points
  31. Q UA N T I F Y T H E

    Q UA L I TAT I V E Share trends by the numbers. Use questions asked to all participants to identify measurable results. We were able to quantify the advocate trigger. For example: • Six participants established brand loyalty in college.
  32. FO C U S O N B E H AV

    I O R Share trends by behaviors and call out where assumptions were busted. For example: Advocates share positive feelings through word-of-mouth. This group isn’t likely to post to their entire friends list. They prefer to share specific information that relates to specific friends and family through conversation, text, or direct message. This went against our assumptions of ideal advocate behavior.
  33. S H A R E AC T I O N

    A B L E ST E P S FO R T H E T E A M Highlight insights that define editorial or UI needs. For example: Surface local and regional stories. This could be as simple as including location in the headline or creating a location taxonomy. Advocates are highly interested in content on products. Increase the frequency of content about products. Consider surfacing these categories at a higher level on the site.
  34. S U P P O RT W I T H

    Q U OT E S Most importantly, use their own words to back up. Share quotes using first names and spread quotes throughout the report/presentation. Use quotes to: • Support morale • Prove findings • Build empathy
  35. It is always there for me. When I see it

    I get excited. I still get excited even though it’s closed. It gives me what I need on so many different levels in comfort food, getting a drink, or being there with a friend. - Sue
  36. “I logged in for the wifi, got pulled in, and

    stayed longer because it was so engaging.” - Mel
  37. “Maybe try to engage me more with some sort of

    discount, to be totally honest, that’s a great way to drive me to new content or any content on the site.” - Paul
  38. Summary • Explore, define, and document assumptions. • Analyze available

    data from analytics or other sources and update assumptions. • Use this data to define participant attributes for recruitment. • Create interview questions that address personal interests, triggers, and actions. • Share findings in ways that are quantifiable, identify behaviors/motivators, or create actionable insights for teams. • Use quotes to prove points and build empathy and morale.
  39. Amy Grace Wells UX designer @amygracewells Questions?