UX research (user experience research) is a vital part of evaluating how well your product or service solves problems for your target users, successfully addressing their pain points.

UX research is an integral part of the product design process that helps you to understand your audience and create better products for them as you develop a new digital product, improve an existing customer experience, or measure how well your product is performing in market.

Highland team working on a project

Create delightful user experiences

Generate feedback loops

We’ve all been frustrated by a mobile app or digital product with functionality that doesn’t do what you expect it to. Perhaps the end result is a let down or the user interface isn’t intuitive. These pain points can be resolved by better digital product design, but it’s UX research that will uncover the customer issues to be fixed.

Conducting user research helps to create an ongoing feedback loop between your users and your product or experience. These user-centric feedback loops look directly at user behavior and motivations. They allow you to:

  • Understand the needs and behaviors of your target audience (using personas) so you can create a better experience for them
  • Gain valuable, actionable insights into where your competition stands in terms of usability and design
  • Inform design decisions that make sure your product or experience is relevant to your end-users’ lives
  • Conduct generative research to stay up to date with the latest trends, technology, and user expectations to help identify product requirements.

Reduce uncertainty

User experience design and usability research is all centered around finding the right insights to inform your design thinking and strategy. Before you begin product development, UX research methods help reduce risk and align business goals with user needs. Highland can help you:

  • Conduct usability testing to ensure that your product is aligned with user needs, and demonstrated behaviors
  • Prioritize digital experience features that are most accessible, desirable, and valuable to your target audience
  • Make informed, objective, data-driven decisions when choosing the direction of product development and underlying strategy.

Evaluate design and product effectiveness

Through design research, and by using a range of methodologies, you’re able to evaluate the effectiveness of your design before, during, and after launch. Throughout the UX research process, you’ll be able to:

  • Uncover issues with designs and pinpoint product opportunities that are better aligned with user behavior
  • Optimization of prototypes, concepts, user interfaces and features based on user testing, feedback and research findings
  • Encourage growth and support retention with existing customers and stakeholders by continuously learning ways to improve your product, and the user experience they have with it.

Case study: Liberal Arts College

A nationally-ranking private liberal arts college in the Chicago metro area wanted to increase their ability to selectively shape incoming classes by increasing their total applicants. We at Highland were approached as UX research consultants to deliver useful insights into the behaviors of their potential students and parents.

Our in-depth research revealed specific pain points, motivations, considerations and further factors that influenced the customers’ decision-making. This insightful research process delivered very actionable results for the college marketing team. The college saw a 100% increase in new student inquires and a 50% increase in new student applications following our research services.

Read the case study in full

Our approach to effective UX research

There are many types of UX research tools and methodologies, from user interviews to usability testing, card sorting to field studies, that go beyond what focus groups can provide.

Depending on the prototype or idea that needs to be tested, research methodologies can be qualitative or quantitative, from in-depth measurement of an experience at a given moment to learning across the entire user journey. This usability research helps you to better understand real users’ needs, as well as how effective your product or service is in addressing them.

In our UX research projects, we work with users in-person, in virtual sessions, or a combination, to strike the right balance of efficient progress and depth of contextual understanding.

Some of the highlights of our approach include:

  • A heuristic analysis alongside market research for competitive analysis of existing solutions
  • Usability testing, user interviews, or observational research sessions
  • Mapping the current state of the user experience to identify pain points and opportunities
  • Analyzing the primary user goals or jobs to be done, and how to best enable user success via UX design
  • Validation studies to confirm that the built solution is hitting the mark as intended.

Methods cut across exploratory, generative, and evaluative research.

How we can help your business with UX research

By diving deeply into how users interact with a product or experience through user experience research, Highland can help you validate assumptions about what users need, create an optimal path for user engagement, and ultimately support the build or optimization of products that work for them in their daily lives.

As a full-service UX research company, we have a team of experienced, passionate and incredibly knowledgeable professionals. We combine specialists from our product team with our research team to create an efficient and effective UX strategy and service team. Their combined expertise deliver powerful results for our clients. Our expert team has a long history of helping wide-ranging clients including healthcare providers, project management consultants, and startup financial companies with digital products like mobile apps, SaaS and websites. We can help you too.

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