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The UserZoom UX Seminar Series has been a resounding success and expectations are high over forthcoming editions such as ‘Measuring Customer Experience’ taking place on Wednesday 11th July at No.5 Cavendish Square private members club.

A recent UserZoom UX Seminar was on “Iterative User Experience Research in an Agile Design Process”. Essentially, this means information gathering of the highest order. The guiding principle of Agile is a detailed insight into the user’s response to a product that furthers the understanding of a dynamic, rapidly evolving market.

As the name implies, Agile aims to provide as many options as possible for research. The goal is to understand what goes through the user’s mind from the moment a finger touches a mobile phone or tablet computer and then follow the subsequent steps either towards or away from the product or service in question.

Following a short introduction from UserZoom’s Marketing Manager Carina Hoogeveen, the seminar got under way. The first speaker was Diarmaid Crean, Global Online Marketing Technologist at Investec, whose thought-provoking presentation drew on 17 years’ experience of international marketing, ecommerce and new media.

His theme was the research of ‘High Net Worth’s’, which refers to top earners who may be anything from medical practitioners to investment clients. The user that Crean puts under the microscope is typically a person in a position of responsibility who is very decisive. Hence the research has to be done in short time spans. “We’re trying to demonstrate and see if stuff works really quickly, changing it all the time, seeing what works and monitoring as a result,” he commented. “UserZoom is a tool that you can use for the purposes of seeing if the things that you’re releasing are working, so you can actually physically launch stuff and get users to experience it,” he continued. “And get feedback straight away by them doing remote tests on that platform.”

Equally engaging were Arthur Moan, the Managing Director of UserZoom Limited and Karen Windahl Finnigan, Head of User Experience at Cap Gemini, who both focused more specifically on the Agile concept. Moan explained the value of “Remote Unmoderated Prototype Testing’, which can provide extensive unbiased feedback on products by way of monitoring the behaviour with a task in mind, collecting success / failure, time on task, satisfaction metrics and first / all clicks from hundreds of users on a site or prototype site.

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion on Agile user experience and to what extent the two approaches can create a possible synergy that will benefit any business. Crean was joined by David Hughes, Head of User Experience at Expedia.com and Greg Smith, Head of User Experience and Research at eBay.

All of the speakers had specific perspectives and points of view, yet they were also open-minded and spoke excitedly about the possibilities of these differing research methods being successfully combined. David Hughes was definitely enthusiastic about this prospect: “With Agile being user centered and with user experience being absolutely user centered, yes, I think there will be more and more of them interacting with each other and working together.”

As for Greg Smith, he enjoyed the panel discussion and the whole seminar because it gave him a chance to interact with peers who, although from different fields, have common issues to grapple with when it comes to the all-important question of research. “The main thing I’ve learnt is that some of the challenges, in terms of connecting UX to Agile, are shared by lots of other people who’ve got similar challenges. It’s clearly been useful exploring some of those challenges.”

Agile is a dynamic rather than static concept. Indeed, numerous participants talked about the need to be flexible and to understand as much as they can about the user “at that moment,” implying that there will be markedly different attitudes to a product or service as the user’s relationship with it unfolds over time.
UserZoom recognises that the user experience is in a constant state of flux and that any brand needs to think carefully about the best way to obtain accurate ‘ongoing’ feedback on new products.

Brands can register for a free place at the July 11th Measuring Customer Experience Seminar at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3666767400

Authored by Arthur Moan, MD of UserZoom UK, UserZoom Limited

Published on: 12:46PM on 3rd July 2012