User research is generally conducted using one or more of the following methods:
- Staff interviews
- Contextual interviews
- Surveys and tester recruitment
- Card sort and architecture
We interview between ten to thirty staff members, as determined by you and your research budget.
Each interview lasts twenty to thirty minutes and covers questions about the person's role, their perspectives on their work and their work environment.
Focus on problems - not solutions
We don't ask about desired features and functionality, but rather explore the work lives and needs of staff.
How the intranet might meet these needs is not relevant at this stage. We do not want to jump to solutions before we've properly identified what issues we're trying to solve!
Sample staff interview questions: https://www.smlwrld.io/content/28849
The initial staff interviews help us decide which staff might be appropriate for a contextual interview.
Contextual interviews take place within the actual environment a staff member works within, rather than in a formal interview space.
We might look at things such as workstation setups, how staff access important information (digital or otherwise), notes and lists around reception, isolation or connectedness of a person's workplace etc.
Sample contextual interview questions: https://www.smlwrld.io/content/28850
Sample recruitment email: https://www.smlwrld.io/content/28851
Surveys and tester recruitment
Surveys are also an easy way to obtain information from a larger pool of people. It also provides staff with the ability to express their concerns and interests for the new intranet. Objectives for the survey include:
- quantify staff requirements
- recruit testers, content owners and intranet champions
See a sample survey:
User survey form:
Card sort & site architecture
A card sort requires participants (approx 50) to group and categorise information. This exercise helps us structure the site and label the pages and sections so that they make sense to most users. For further information regarding site structure go to… (https://www.smlwrld.io/section/Project-Roadmap/pageStructure-Design/_ef3bp)