Imagine that you’re starting a new project and need to know the basics before you get headlong into designing or building. How can you get some quick and easy data on the customer segment that you’re creating a product or service for? One way is to try a survey.

You may have some common questions that you want to answer:

  • Who are the potential users?
  • How many are there?
  • What are they like?
  • Why would they use this product?
  • What do they need from this service?
  • What are their goals?

Before you jump into a survey tool such as Survey Monkey, print out and stick up what you already know and have in your project space: any secondary research reports you have found or been given, analytics graphs, personas, pen portraits, as well as screengrabs of the current service, product or brand. Spend time looking through it all and identify the gaps.

If you have very little existing audience data, a quick and easy way to get some baseline information is to run a quick user survey about a current iteration of a product or service (particularly if your product is online). You can establish basic demographic information, appreciation and views of the service as it stands, as well as delve a little deeper into needs and wants. This is also vital if you want some kind of trackable measures to go back to once you have designed and built your shiny new interface — read more in my article for 24 ways.

Once you’ve run your survey, you should always write up a short summary for yourself and your team to refer to. If you’re not a trained researcher, you should try to read up on analysis techniques or data visualisation. It can be easy to misinterpret data and make it bend to the story you are trying to tell. You should be looking for the story in the data and present it without bias.

If you’re using the survey to add to a larger body of exploratory research, you can also extract the insights onto post it notes and add them to your growing body of knowledge.

Further reading:

Emma BoultonComment