Target audience research & Users research. Part 1

There is no successful shooting without a target. Your rifle can shoot very loudly, but you will just scare everyone. If you have no target - you are just a maker of noise. If you have a target - you may hope to get a result and score bull's eye.

But when you have never made a user research, when you have no idea who exactly is your customer, what is your audience - you are just loosing your time, trying to sell a product to people, who don't care about it.  It is called “push technology” - we are selling our product, because we want your money. Nowadays doing business this way - is just a show of incompetence. And of course it will not work. At all. Never-ever. Really, you can forget about your profit, if you are doing nothing for your user`s profit.

“The job of the user experience researcher is to provide insight into the product’s users, their perspectives, and their abilities to the right people at the right time. The researcher is in the unique position to draw all this information—and all these information needs—together and have it make sense, making the entire development process more streamlined and effective.” - Mark Kuniavsky (1)

Target audience research and user research are those actions that you should do first of all if you want to make your own business. Of course you did it at the level of guesses, ideas, assumption and intuition. But now it is time to collect details and to analyze data about your market and target audience. In few words User research and UX strategy are about creating a product, that people desire.

Analysis of the target audience and the market

Why UX Strategy cares so much about market? Isn`t it enough to create a killer UI that will drive people to click every pixel at your site? Nope. UX cares about all market of business and not only your category. It is a mistake to think that UX designer is just picking-up the best cherries from your competitor. Oh no. User Experience is an experience of everything that people do with their computers and gadgets. We mean - every click and swipe, eyes tracking, mouse movement, decision making, cognitive psychology  and so on. That is why UX designer pays attention to the market - he is checking which features, which movements are standard for your potential user. So how to make a delightful and pure analysis of the target audience? You can implement those methods to your research in any topic, as it is universal framework.

Audience segmentation

Divide and conquer or divide and rule - one of the most popular phrases and it is a strategy to gain or maintain power. It is used in politics, sociology, economics, in computer science. Segmentation is one of the best methods to learn something monumental, that seems impossible at all. Yep, it reminds us User Experience designer, that is trying to understand needs of more than one million people or even further. Is it possible? Yes! Because UX designer is using audience segmentation. How they are doing that? They have some tips & tricks.

First of all they are choosing just few segments. It is a mistake of young designers to create too many segments. As you know the segmentation can be by: age, gender, location, ethnicity, behavior, interests, profession, educational background, income level and so on. This list can be eternal even. That is why a good skilled UX designer is making a few segments, those are logical for the product, that he is working with.

Also to be more effective in research UX designer is choosing only one goal for research. It is okay that you have a lot of goals for research, but it is much better to do it one by one. Discipline is our first rule. And of course in  “one-task-philosophy” we trust.

“Overlooking the obvious. Multivariate analysis is a bright and shiny toy. With so many cross-tabs to choose from and hundreds of data points to sort through, the media researcher must still remember to consider the basic data that can also influence strategic thinking.” (2)

So how to do it?

To choose a proper segments that will be logical for your product or service you need to know the specific of segmentations. And each of them has its own restrictions or soleils. Lets figure it out. As a basis we will take a brilliant article of Scott Rumsey “The importance of audience segmentation”.

Demographic segmentation

Category of demographic area consists of information about age, income, race, ethnicity,  educational level, profession and gender. It is very basic level of segmentation and detalization of it  depends on your product. For example, there may be a big difference in age, that needs to be more detailed or even segmented one more time.

Geographic segmentation

Country, city, district, street, building. Where is your customer`s homeplace? Or where is your customer`s work? What is the address of his company? Is his house close to your market? As you see geographic segmentation is not limited  by ‘country’ stage. We can dig deeper. If you are selling an online-consulting or CRM software you care : Does my client have an internet connection there? But if you have a coffee shop you are oriented to your country, city, or just a district.

Also we can add  factors of regional culture, weather, and law regulations here.

Behavioral segmentation

Most interesting but also most difficult kind of segmentation is behavioral. It can provide your research with info about behavioral patterns, at the same time  those are answers to such questions like: why and when user will buy a product. You can understand a product usage. The benefit of detailed work with behavioral segmentation is that you will know when to boost sales and which people are ready for your message.

Psychographic segmentation

This kind of classification is really useful one because it is answering which resources and methods will be suitable for your customer.  It is their lifestyle, social class, hobbies, interests, opinions, a way of thinking, the system of self-organization. If a business pays attention to this segmentation and gets ideas that fit it well - their customer will feel good and original. The thing is that there is no rationalism in the world. Human beings are irrational emotional creatures. Even though they know that they bought shoes quite same as million people did - they feel original, they are happy to wear them, they are satisfied.  

Why do we need so much detalization? Is not it too much work? Yep, it is difficult, but if you are making every step one by one -  workflow is not so scary. Remember, discovering your audience - you are discovering your product`s possibilities.

In next article we will continue to discover User research process -  part 2 coming soon. Stay with us to learn more!

1.References:

  1. Mark Kuniavsky. Observing the User Experience, A Practioner`s Guide to User Research. More info: https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=1tE4Skp9pI8C&pg=GBS.PR6
  2. 4 Advantages of Audience Segmentation. More info here: https://www.telmar.com/advantages-audience-segmentation/
  3. Scott Rumsey. The importance of audience segmentation. more info here: http://www.click.co.uk/blog/importance-audience-segmentation/