An Event Apart: From Research to Redesign

by April 3, 2017

At An Event Apart in Seattle WA, Jefferey Zeldman talked through how to use research to help inform the Web site redesign processes. Here's my notes from his talk: From Research to Redesign

  • There's no such thing as a universal layout: every organization, and therefore their sites, need unique solutions based on what they do & how they do it.
  • Our job as brand designers is to identify what makes each service unique and bring that to life.
  • What should we make? We need to understand how we can help customers and stakeholders create the right experience.
  • Up front, make use of research to learn about your client and their market. Research not only informs you but also creates connections between you and your client. You learn about their customers and how to motivate them, this makes you a lot more valuable and gives your client more reasons to listen to your recommendation. You also uncover blind spots and biases that exist in an organization.
  • Research helps you understand your market, find high-value customers, and reveal worthwhile goals.
  • Anybody can do research. There's many ways to collect data. You can do it and its very worth your time.
  • Looking at other customers in your market, can tell you what what patterns are worth doing, which are not. For instance, unique features that align with specific domains, customer needs etc. (online chat, custom products, save for later features, customer reviews, etc.)
  • Conversion doesn't always happen in the short term, you need to support long term cycles as well. The less you ask of your customer, the more likely they are to comply. If you do need people to do things, explain why. Forcing conversions usually doesn't work.
  • You need to make brand decisions: who is the service for? who are you trying to appeal to? And reflect that across your service.
  • Everything needs to be thought out from the point of view of your customer, not just from your internal point of view.
  • If the site is doing the wrong things, doing A/B testing on it will not give you the data you need.
  • Work with and talk to relevant people as much as you can. This reveals knowledge & helps you build consensus. Be a good listener and ask lots of questions.
  • Data helps inform your decisions. It is only as good as the people looking at it. There's no substitute for having a product direction and brand story.
  • A vision tells you what to measure after your redesign and what to work on next.
  • A stronger human connection with the people you need to work with is the real value of research.