As every marketing professional worth their salt knows, after your objectives have been defined, another integral ‘to do’ on every project’s list is refining and streamlining user experience. This piece of the wider marketing puzzle is responsible for keeping customers satisfied and, more importantly, loyal to your brand.

Customer expectations have increased over the past few years and clunky, disjointed experiences result in instant rejections,

This means users taking their business elsewhere and into the hands of one of your more UX focussed competitors.

If you’re a seasoned marketing professional you will also know that surveys provide a vital, authentic insight into almost any area you are looking to shed light on. Beyond consumer research, this also applies to industry trends. The UX Industry Survey understands this, conducting annual, global research into how professionals are incorporating all-important UX tactics into their approach, and how they gain the insight to inform their decisions.

The 2017 results are in. Here’s what we learnt…

User research is leading important decisions now, more than ever before

56% of respondents agreed that ‘user research improves the quality of our products/services’ and that the ‘voice of the customer is an important factor in our decisions’. This reflects a wider industry trend. Consumers now dictate the products they desire, which businesses create, rather than brands relentlessly trying to convince customers why they need their service. The audience is so significant now that the users’ understanding of the product was named as one of the top concerns for developers in the run up to launch day!

Adopting ‘customer first’ strategy is bringing much larger ROI for business leaders. As a result, bigger budgets are allocated and a wider focus on UX and user research is present within organisations, with 27% stating that their budgets had changed in the past year due to a change in attitude towards UX research.

Most user research was conducted during the design or prototyping phase

76% of respondents conducted user research as their prototype was being developed. Yet 72% performed research prior to any design or development took place. This highlights a shift from traditional methods of performing focus groups before development took place, then immediately before product launch (52%). In order to tailor services further, research is conducted during development stages so that it can dictate the project, enabling any tweaks or amends to be made prior to launch. This can quickly identify the needs of the customers and ultimately, if the product meets them.    

User research = better marketing

User research affects more than product development and UX design. 47% of those asked strongly agreed that user research helped them to create effective marketing campaigns. Not surprising, when armed with such detailed insight into how your product helps your customer! These kinds of findings again highlight the importance of understanding audience, and the tangible benefits it can bring to an entire organisation.

Websites were at the focus for user research

Perhaps a signifier of the importance of having a great looking but practical web interface now has for a business, 70% of respondents conducted research on the performance of their website. This topped mobile apps (41%), software (38%) and mobile sites (37%), yet highlights the digital focus that user research is clearly taking.

These are just some of the main takeaways from the annual report, and the entire document makes great reading for anyone still not convinced by the critical need for user research and UX focussed implementations. In 2017 and beyond, the user comes first – understanding this is key to success in almost every industry area. User research and UX provides the golden ticket.