User research helps to better understand end users’ needs and expectations, as well as typical working processes and routines. Now, an easy to use card deck with the 14 most commonly practiced user research methods at SAP is available for download. This blog explains the typical product development phases at SAP and the structure of the method cards.
The user research method cards deck covers the following methods:
- 360° Analysis
- A/B Testing
- Card Sorting
- Cognitive Walkthrough
- Fish Bowl
- Focus Groups
- Heuristic Evaluation
- Interviews / Field Research
- Survey & Questionnaire
- Tree Test
- Usability Benchmarking
- Usability Testing
- Use Case Validation
When to use which method in the product development lifecycle
Design-led development (DLD) is SAP’s process to make sure that product requirements are derived from user research, turned into product design according to guidelines and best practices, and are eventually properly implemented. DLD consists of three phases: Discover, Design, and Deliver. Ideally, user research is practiced in all three of the phases. The graphic below gives an overview of the 14 user research methods in this card deck and their typical placement within DLD.
During the Discover phase, user research focuses on learning about stakeholder and end user requirements, such as their responsibilities, tasks and activities, typical use cases, workflows, and the use of other software and artifacts needed to perform their jobs.
Once a sufficient understanding of their needs has been achieved, you move on to the Design phase. Here, different methods are available for the validation of low and high-fidelity prototypes. Hence, throughout the design phase, the research focus shifts to getting end user feedback about design ideas and artifacts. User research is frequently confused with usability testing, but this is just one of the methods. In the Deliver phase, usability benchmarking and surveys help to evaluate the product.
Structure of the method cards
Each user research method has its strengths, weaknesses, and goals while sharing similarities with others: Most of them can be conducted physically and virtually. Also, the vast majority of methods are easy to implement — even for beginners. To help you best select the right method for your needs, each method card’s front side provides a short info about its requirements.
Below, you can see an example of the front side of the “Interviews” method card. The text next to the clock informs you about the time needed and, if applicable, about its steps (i.e. preparation, analysis, synthesis). By the people symbol, you can read how many participants, experts, instructors, and other roles are required for this method. Next to the cube, you can find information about required material, resources, and preparation. Some methods only need pen and paper, whereas others are more complex.
The section “Why and What” on the backside of each method card provides details about the goal and the outcome of the respective method. By the checklist symbol, easy-to-follow steps show how to conduct the method. At the bottom of the method card, you can find helpful tips and tricks.
Would you like to know more about user research? Check out the openSAP course Basics of Design Research.