This article is re-posted from User Centric’s blog.
When our UX team designs a study, every aspect of the project must align with client goals. As project logistics shift, this becomes an ongoing effort. It may also be necessary to remind even client sponsors of what they wanted to accomplish when they first decided to conduct user research.
Organizations understand the value of user experience (UX) research as helping the business better understand how customers perceive and interact with their product or service. Typically, however, departments within an organization and individual members of the project team have different – but still important – reasons why their objectives should be included in the study based on how they value UX research. For instance, an engineer may be more focused on task completion, while marketing teams may be more concerned with user satisfaction of the task.
We’ve all been in meetings where another department may sit in and then ends up urging the project stakeholder that the research should also include feedback on product packaging, for example, after the study has already been designed and kicked off. This is when it is important to revisit the initial goals of the project and determine if the new objective aligns with those goals. For example, if the session was outlined as 90 minutes and the interface tested is a first iteration, chances are that the participant is going to be exhausted from trudging through an interface that hasn’t yet been refined. To ask them to switch gears 80 minutes into the session and talk about packaging would not yield promising results. In general, low-quality responses result as fatigue sets in.
As experienced UX consultants, we’ve seen many times that it’s typically in the stakeholder’s best interest to maintain focus on the set of objectives given when the project was designed. If there are a number of objectives to accomplish, prioritizing according to stakeholder needs and focusing on those tasks will make for more efficient and productive research. Also remember– if the quality of the data could be compromised as additional tasks and objectives are added during the planning period, then conducting more than one project may be necessary.