Conduct Remote Moderated Research With UserZoom

Introducing UserZoom’s Moderated Testing Capabilities

While remote unmoderated research is gaining broad adoption, we’ve known for quite some time that moderated UX research projects still account for a majority of our customer’s projects (around 60%, based on customer interviews and product usage). The ability to interact and ask questions right then in the moment generates a tremendous amount of empathy for users, which is why it’s no surprise to us that the methodology still remains popular with researchers, designers, marketers, and product managers.

@UserZoom announces new moderated capability! Unmoderated & Moderated now on one platform to cover all your UX research needs. Click To Tweet

However, due to the nature of moderated testing, typically done in the lab or out in the field, scaling those efforts can be costly and inefficient. This is why we’re absolutely delighted to announce that the ability to conduct remote moderated research studies with UserZoom is out this Wednesday, Jan. 31st!

Moderated & Unmoderated All On One Platform

That’s right – you can now conduct your moderated studies and your unmoderated studies on the same platform! UserZoom is now truly your one-stop-shop for all your UX research needs.

Whether you’re conducting in-person moderated studies in a usability lab, or you’re conducting remote moderated studies with participants from geographically dispersed locations, UserZoom has you covered. You’ll be able to create a moderated usability testing project directly within UserZoom, conduct sessions with an integrated video conferencing solution, and record, store and manage session recordings directly within the study, just to name a few.

Moderated sessions in UserZoom can be a specific script (consistent tasks that all participants go through) or a simple interview or conversation a moderator can conduct with the participants. This is what UX researchers refer to as a combination of structured testing combined with deeper insights generated through unstructured moderation.

As you are performing moderated testing in UserZoom, you are also provided with typical task reports such as success metrics and supporting questionnaire responses. These results are automatically summarized across all of your moderated interviews into a single report.

In addition to task reports, you’re also able to store and manage all video session recordings within UserZoom and have the ability to create clips, make marks and write comments. This makes sharing videos with teammates and stakeholders fast and simple.

Perfect Fit With Your Usability Lab

Usability labs are terrific for conducting moderated studies, but trying to combine your notes, videos, usability metrics, and analytics in one place to be easily shared can be problematic and piecemeal. The UserZoom platform simplifies this by being a single depository for your videos, notes, statistical outcomes and data.

Imagine being able to create a series of tasks and allowing the moderator to make impromptu tweaks to the study, skipping or adding tasks as needed right then and there. Then being able to easily share videos digitally with stakeholders and colleagues, along with notes and observations, without having to manually combine them from disparate sources.

The UserZoom platform makes your usability lab more efficient, and even helps with recruiting participants if necessary. Hard to reach persona that isn’t nearby? Recruit them through IntelliZoom and project the session in the lab.

No Lab? No Problem!

Labs can be quite costly, and for some organizations the cost of a space and equipment are a barrier to entry. To make matters worse, those trying to conduct remote moderated studies on their own have to use several technologies for both moderators and participants, which can lead to frustrating technological issues on both ends.

UserZoom has simplified this as well. No overhead needed for space and no expensive lab equipment – simply recruit your participants, build a study, and off you go. When they join your study they will receive the invitation for the study as well as the audio/camera bridge.

Not only is this easier from a technological standpoint, it’s also cheaper and faster to recruit participants for remote moderated studies where they can join from the comfort of their own space.

Overview of How It Works in UserZoom

While the moderator’s experience in setting up and conducting testing is important, the participant experience in joining and participating in these sessions is equally critical. If the setup is not optimal it might result in wasted time and effort for both parties, which is why we meticulously designed with both in mind.

The Moderator’s experience:

  • Create a Moderated usability test within UserZoom Manager
  • Add time slots depending upon your day/time availability
  • Recruit participants from your list of users
  • Invite them to these sessions via email templates provided by UserZoom
  • Conduct a moderated session using our integrated conferencing solution
  • Record screen, face video and audio as you interact with the participants
  • Either a structured task by task approach or just a conversation with your participants
  • All videos are stored within UserZoom Manager
  • Share these videos or create clips for further insight sharing
  • All metrics and survey responses are captured directly within UserZoom Manager reducing the need for a lot of note-taking

The participant’s experience:

  • Get invited to a moderated session (by the moderator)
  • Install and set conferencing solution
  • Join the session at the confirmed date and time
  • Participate in the moderated session by sharing screen, audio (and sometimes face video
  • Provide feedback on various tasks and question
  • Receive compensation for their time (from the moderator) after the session is completed

Here’s what a few of our customers who saw the beta had to say

“This is a big leap in terms of moderated testing and we can already see how this will cut down on the administrative time required to conduct moderated tests.”

“We were impressed by the strides you’ve made towards creating a robust tool that supports both moderated and unmoderated research.”

Give It A Try!

Want to know how to get started conducting remote moderated studies? Contact us to schedule a demo!

Get a Demo

Already a UserZoom customer? Contact your CSM for information on pricing!

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UserZoom Sets the Bar for Security in UX Research Platforms

UserZoom’s commitment to security hits a new milestone  with SOC2 certification

In the world of UX insights, keeping users’ data private and secure is at the top of our priority list. Which is why we are proud to announce that as of Q4 2017 UserZoom has successfully passed and been certified with the “SOC2 Type 1” security rating by Coalfire. Coalfire is one of the leaders in Cybersecurity, with customers such as 3M, Concur, Intel, LexisNexis, and GoDaddy among others.

At the end of the day, being compliant with SOC2 certifies that our customers can trust us for safeguarding their data. We’re also proud to announce that UserZoom is the first usability company to meet SOC2 compliance. By achieving this certification, UserZoom has taken a great step forward in leading the UX sector in terms of platform security.

What is SOC2 compliance

SOC2 is a compliance framework that helps companies hosted in the Cloud demonstrate they are compliant with certain controls related to security and confidentiality, among others. In particular, it provides their customers with an objective and independent third party review to measure how secure a potential service provider is.

Being SOC2 compliant shows @UserZoom’s commitment to privacy and security in the #UX sectorClick To Tweet

SOC2 certification consists of 5 Trust Service Principles (TSP): Security, Availability, Processing integrity, Confidentiality and Privacy. This certification process lasted 6 months, however, it is the culmination of the hard work performed during the last 7 years and proves how focused we’ve been on security at UserZoom, both in our platform and in the processes of the company.

Security has always been a top priority in UserZoom

Since the inception of the company security has always been a top priority for UserZoom. The proof is that we have a Security Department that’s led by one of our founding VPs, that’s formed by specialist IT Security Engineers, as well as the fact that security is completely integrated into the development process within our Engineering Department.

The goal of our Security Department is to take care of how UserZoom manages information and security, and to provide our customers with outstanding safety while using our services. Working side-by-side with the R&D Department allows UserZoom to build everything with security in mind from the outset.

A quick recap on all the ways we’re implementing safety and security of data here at UserZoom

Data handling: One of the greatest security concerns that customers always have is how we store their data. Two key factors are:

  • Encryption: All customer data in UserZoom is encrypted both when it’s stored and transmitted.
  • Segregation: Each UserZoom customer has its own database. That’s how we make sure that customer data does not get commingled and, therefore, become vulnerable.

Hosting infrastructure: UserZoom hosts data on a private cloud in Rackspace, an industry leader in the IaaS sector, which guarantees service availability and provides reliability to UserZoom with respect to its clients.

Penetration Testing and OWASP Top 10: Besides going through several internal and external security pentest audits, we undergo an annual Third Party Pentest with a well-known Company such as the NCCGroup.

Vulnerability scans: We perform a vulnerability scanner every 30 days to all our systems to check for security issues. In the event an issue is detected, we have a remediation plan in place to correct the issue with high priority.

Risk assessment: The Security Team carries out and maintains a risk assessment every time a potential issue is identified. It can be, for instance, due to the hiring of a new vendor or because an internal procedure has room for improvement.

Single Sign-on (SSO): UserZoom offers its customers the possibility to integrate the platform with customer’s login system. It is a value-added feature that provides an easier and more secure credential management.

Security documentation: We provide all our customers with the UserZoom Security Whitepaper, which is an updated and comprehensive document that contains useful information related to our security procedures and policies.

Additional certifications: Prior to SOC2, UserZoom has been awarded with further certifications:

  • TRUSTe Privacy Seal: This Privacy Seal certifies that our privacy policy and best practices have been reviewed by TRUSTe. It provides extra confidence on customers’ study participants with regards to their data processing and handling.
  • TRUSTe Trusted Download: The TRUSTe Downloads privacy certification follows a comprehensive and proven multi-step process to ensure UserZoom’s privacy practices meet applicable regulatory and industry standards.
  • Privacy Shield Framework: UserZoom complies with the privacy and security measures required by the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce to be Privacy Shield certified, allowing the transmission of personal data from the EU to the U.S.
  • COPPA Safe Harbor Certification Program: PRIVO is an independent, third-party organization committed to safeguarding children’s personal information collected online. UserZoom is certified by PRIVO with respect to compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Moving Forward

For us this is not where we stop – it is merely the most recent major milestone, one of many which we’ve pursued and accomplished to date. In the words of Jordi Ibáñez, UserZoom’s VP of Security, “This milestone enhances UserZoom’s leadership in the UX sector by including Security in its roadmap as a key factor, and clearly demonstrates our commitment to privacy and security.”

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Design Thinking Adoption Challenges

And how to overcome them

Design Thinking is a powerful tool to innovate your strategy, organization or next disruptive product or service. But getting your organization to adopt Design Thinking can be a challenge. Here are some of the challenges that I have seen and ways to mitigate them.

Executive Buy-In

If your executive team doesn’t see the value in Design Thinking then it is doomed to fail before you even get started. To remedy this, get your ducks in a row and share the ROI of Design Thinking with your leadership. Pay extra close attention to what is most important to your organization’s objectives and frame your point around this.


If you do not have a champion for your Design Thinking project then things can turn south fast. Work with your leadership team to find a champion that believes in your missions and can smooth out things any detractors. A good champion doesn’t have to understand the details of how Design Thinking works but you should provide them with the bullet points of how it is going to bring value to your organization’s business objectives that they can easy communicate to others who may challenge it.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It sounds simple to do but it is not. You need empathy to answer the questions “What matters to my customers?” and  “What do they need?” You need empathy to really listen to your customers, subject matter experts and colleague’s ideas. You need empathy to “walk in the shoes” of your customer when developing prototypes and evaluating them. There are techniques you can learn and teach this.

Access to Customers

If you don’t have access to your customers then don’t even bother with Design Thinking. You need to observe and interview your customers to understand who they are, what they want, and how they feel. You need access to your customers to get feedback on your ideas, concepts and prototype to continuously course correct as you develop your innovation.

So be sure that you have plenty of access to your customers. Your executives need to know this is a criteria for success and your champion needs to make this happen for you.

These are challenges for getting a Design Thinking project off the ground that are top of my mind. I would love to hear about your challenges and solutions.

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UserZoom Acquires WhatUsersDo

Kicking off 2018 with a bang

I hope that you had a fantastic holiday season and are as excited to kick off 2018 as we are!

Through our years of experience working with the best brands around the world we know that a key requirement for great brands is getting quality, actionable UX insights. A crucial element to collecting UX insights is the ability to find and source the right participants at the right time.

This is why in 2016 UserZoom acquired YouEye, whose large panel of quality participants for usability testing and think-out-loud feedback, was incorporated into IntelliZoom, UserZoom’s next generation participant sourcing engine.

UserZoom Acquires WhatUsersDo

To this end, I’m very excited to announce that UserZoom has acquired WhatUsersDo, the leading European research technology company specializing in sourcing participants for qualitative usability research.

After carefully evaluating them, and after my conversations with Nick Imrie (WhatUsersDo CEO), it became clear that adding WhatUsersDo to our portfolio would solidify our focus on providing fast, high value qualitative feedback. Not only that, the team over at WhatUsersDo is equally as passionate about creating better user experiences as our own at UserZoom.

It also became clear that our businesses were fundamentally aligned and that bringing our companies together was in the best interest of our customers’ high pace usability testing needs. UserZoom customers can take advantage of this new ecosystem of panelists for even better, faster, and easier participant sourcing.

“It’s a terrific time for WhatUsersDo to join the UserZoom family,” said WhatUsersDo CEO Nick Imrie. “They have a genuinely awesome Enterprise Research offering, and we look forward to driving the benefits of qualitative user research and remote usability testing through high quality and on-demand participants for think-out-loud usability testing in every market their clients operate in.”

This Is Just The Start For 2018

I wanted to share our excitement for what’s to come in 2018. Our team is working tirelessly towards our vision of building the most comprehensive UX insights platform in the world. As a heads up, we’ll soon announce the launch of our remote MODERATED research product, a new data analytics dashboard, along with many other platform enhancements. We’re committed to making UXers into superheros in their organization and will continue to pour every ounce of our passion into helping you create better user experiences that impact your bottom line.

We could not be more excited about this announcement and look forward to sharing additional news and details about our platform in the coming weeks and months. For more information today on the acquisition, check out the full press release.

Here’s to your success in 2018, and beyond!

The post UserZoom Acquires WhatUsersDo appeared first on UserZoom.

The 5 Minute Guide to Design Systems

What a design system is, why you need one, and how to build it

Inconsistency across products and platforms. Wasted time spent digging up old code snippets. Poor communication between teams. These consequences of large teams just can’t be avoided, right?

Not exactly. Just because you’re expanding your product team and/or scaling processes doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or consistency.

Enter the design system.

With advocates like Airbnb and Salesforce, design systems are seeing their popularity rise over the last few years. In fact, according to our 2017-2018 Enterprise UX Industry Report, 69% of the thousands polled said they either already implemented a design system, or were currently building one.

But what exactly are design systems? How do you build one? And can they help your company in particular? This article will answer all your questions and explain everything you need to know to get started on your own.

What Is a Design System?

A design system contains the principles of design and development and the toolkits for achieving those principles. It’s both living documentation and a robust set of components.

But what specifically is included? Everything you need to know is outlined in the chart below:

the structure of a design system

To paraphrase UX speaker and author Nathan Curtis, a design system isn’t a project, it’s a product serving other products.

Why You Need a Design System

Here are the main benefits to creating a design system:

  • Faster project turnaround. Design systems save time by consolidating information, improving communication, and reducing time spent digging around for assets. This also leads to saving money on projects that adhere to tighter schedules.
  • Better UX. When your design system is up-to-date, everyone on the team follows the right principles and uses approved components. That improves coherence across products and minimizes inconsistency.
  • Easier onboarding and collaboration. New employees have access to a shared general knowledge base and components for designers, PMs, and engineers.
  • Less version control issues. If you update a component in a design system, the changes populate across all instances. The design system is the final record of truth because it’s a tool that increases efficiency, any time you invest into making one will be paid back, and then some.

How to Create a Design System

Making a design system isn’t intrinsically difficult, but it does require time and effort to document and standardize everything. Here’s 8 steps we followed when building our own design system:

1. Go through your UI inventory and capture inconsistencies

Before you create a universal guide, you need to collect all the materials you need and identify inconsistencies. Audit your product against any existing style guides or pattern libraries.

Among other things, you’ll want to make note of inconsistencies in:

  • Colors
  • Typographic measures
  • UI patterns
  • Editorial styles
  • Grid definitions
  • Icons
  • Any premade templates

On top of collecting these elements, don’t forget to copy the corresponding code snippets.

Naturally, you’ll come across inconsistencies for common usage — after all, discovering these is one of the main benefits of making a design system. Log all these inconsistencies and then work them into a presentation for the rest of your team.

inconsistency presentation

These presentation will come in handy later on, especially during the next step…

2. Get the approval of the team

Design systems are team tools, so you should get everyone on board from the start. You may even require formal managerial approval.

If you come across any apprehension, the presentation of inconsistencies will help uncover the severity of the problem. Additionally, you can also show skeptics an estimation of the time and work wasted by not implementing a design system.

3. Decide on common solutions for inconsistencies

As a team, go through each inconsistency and decide on a single, universal choice going forward. From here on out, everyone will use the new established design principles for each individual instance.

Additionally, you can use this as an opportunity to revisit old design choices. Perhaps your company has outgrown some previous decisions, or a newer, better pattern has come along in the meantime. Since you’re going through everything anyway, this is an ideal time to address these.

Jared Spool offers some great advice on how to create new design principles.

4. Compile the universal color palette

Create the actual document one section at a time, starting with the color palette. When we built our design system at UXPin, we found 116 different shades of gray. That just goes to show you how useful a consolidated color palette can be.

color palette

5. Compile a universal typographic scale

Whether you’re copy-and-pasting it from your editorial style guide or building a new one from scratch, your design system should include a section on typography rules. Different companies will have different requirements, but usually this section includes:

  • Which fonts to use and when
  • Different font weights and sizes, depending on location
  • Line heights
  • Spacing
  • Custom rules unique to your company

You may also want to include editorial guidelines here, such as preferred spellings or tone of voice.

6. Compile an icon library

Icon usage is highly susceptible to inconsistency, so now’s your chance to make a definitive library. Choice which versions of each icon you want your brand to use, and place them all in this section. Include code snippets and usage notes.

7. Compile your UI pattern library

One of the most useful sections of your design system, the UI pattern library lists all the common patterns your company uses in different situations. For example, do you use an ever present search field, or an expandable magnifying glass icon?

Along with each entry, include a screenshot of the pattern as a visual aid, code snippets where applicable, and any usage notes, such its location on the screen.

You can organize your UI pattern in whichever way is most helpful to your team. These could be by function, such as navigation patterns, or by the type, such as interactive patterns.

8. Update regularly

Once the first draft of your design system is finished, your work is just beginning.

Design systems are living documents, meaning they’ll always be changing and updating. Check back periodically to make sure all the style choices are current and relevant. It also helps to establish a set procedure with your team for adding new elements, to avoid any confusion in the future.

Next Steps

For more advice, check out the Design System Starter Kit. It includes everything you need to build a design system from the ground up, including:

  • A 100-point checklist for building your design system
  • A 30-page pocket guide diving deeper into the benefits of design systems
  • Templates for Keynote and PowerPoint to sell design systems to your organization

The kit was based on our experience building our internal design system across two offices.

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Recap of 2017 Predictions & Trends for User Experience Design & Research

At the start of 2017 I made several predictions about UX design and research. Let’s see how I did.

Happy December! Hopefully you had a great 2017 and (soon) a very happy 2018!

It’s been an exciting and productive year for us and I hope it has been for you as well. A quick recap for UserZoom – in early 2017 we redesigned the entire UserZoom product and have consistently improved it throughout the year, and will continue to do the same in 2018. We also launched our automated IntelliZoom participant sourcing engine that allows our customers reach 120+ million participants.

Below is a recap of how my 2017 predictions (from Jan of this year) turned out.

Organizational UX maturity grew across the board

A lot of organizations that we work with have hired senior UX leaders. We have seen several Researchers and Designers demonstrate value within their organizations and have climbed career ladders into leadership positions. We are clearly seeing a dramatic increase in overall research studies on our platform as well as increase in researcher studies per organization. So clearly all metrics are trending to the top right.

Having said that, we still believe there is a long runway to improve organizational UX maturity and that can only happen as more and more teams demonstrate value in two primary ways:

(1) Rapid research to support Agile development

(2) Measuring KPIs and conducting Competitive Benchmarks to demonstrate strategic value

Agile, Agile & even more Agile

I had predicted that we would see some increase in qualitative, fast, iterative usability studies in 2017. But I was wrong. We saw a 3X growth of smaller, frequent, agile studies in 2017.

I am going to predict that this trend of smaller iterative studies will continue in 2018. Tools like UserZoom are making it easier and easier to quickly build a study, launch it and start sharing insights in hours.

Benchmarking: Compared to what?

I had predicted a growing need for Competitive UX Benchmarks. That turned out to be true.

We conducted hundreds of UX Benchmarking studies. We have a collection of top UX KPIs and a framework to connect UX KPIs to business KPIs published by UX Magazine.

For those that are interested in linking UX metrics with business KPIs I recommend watching this webinar: Make UX part of KPI conversations.

Integration with analytics: Data to insights to actions and then results

While we saw handful of teams couple UX research with Analytics, it did not happen as much I had predicted. More needs to be done here by the UX Research community to triangulate insights from Usability Studies with available Analytics.

Enterprise applications with consumer grade user experiences

Yes, it is true that Enterprise Applications, even employee facing applications, have been trying to catch up with B2C consumer facing applications and websites. But it’s slow progress.

Enterprise applications have a long development cycle (in general) and find it hard to integrate rapid design and iterate cycles. It’s also true that it takes a little longer to find the right participants that fit the right persona (think Database Admins, Network Admins, HR Managers).

So, lots more progress would be needed in 2018 and 2019 to launch consumer grade UX.

Various research methods

We have certainly seen in 2017 heavy usage of multi-method research.

The most common was combining qualitative videos with large sample size quantitative studies to liberate insights. Almost all UserZoom customers used various research methods on our platform to answer “why” and “by how much” answers routinely.

Beyond borders, global needs

A decade ago, conducting usability research across the globe meant you needed a million-dollar budget. Not anymore.

In 2017, we routinely saw customers launch studies in more than one country. Most studies launched in North America and Europe. We also saw an increase in research studies across Asia (India, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Australia).

Design patterns research

I had predicted that in addition to specific projects and product line UX research we would see larger research initiatives to validate design patterns.

While we saw several larger studies that tried to determine best patterns for several parts of the site and conduct benchmarks across several designs, the 3X increase in smaller, iterative research studied dominated most large cross product.

Another reason might be that most UX organization are short staffed and are barely able to deliver to here and now need and end up not finding enough time for larger projects.

Redesign projects are here to stay

No surprises here. We saw hundreds if not thousands of research studies to support large redesigns of websites, mobile apps and business applications. I predict the same trend in 2018.


No surprises here either. We saw a growing need of conducting research on mobile devises. We saw it all: Live websites that are responsive, prototypes that are optimized for mobile phones, SDK integrations to capture voice of the customer from live apps.

One trend I missed: Longitudinal Diary Studies

We worked with few customers who augmented their research with longitudinal diary studies using UserZoom platform. Longitudinal studies by its nature take longer but result in surprising insights that are hard to get from one off sessions.

I would encourage everyone to explore the option of adding longitudinal studies in their tool kit.

Hopefully you had a great 2017. Looking forward to a great 2018!!!

The post Recap of 2017 Predictions & Trends for User Experience Design & Research appeared first on UserZoom.

Winter Product Release 2017

Tableau Integration, Guided Study Creation & Upcoming Moderated Testing Capabilities

This winter season we have several exciting new features coming your way! On Tuesday December 19, you’ll experience enhancements to study creation flow and integration with leading business intelligence software, Tableau.

While we’re at it, we’ll also be giving you a sneak peek at new Moderated Testing capabilities to be released early in the new year!


Guided Study Creation

We know it’s not always easy to know which project type to select for a given research engagement or where to begin, which is why we’ve redesigned the experience of how to select a project type. This is part of a larger project we have underway to provide better guidance throughout the creation of projects.

Starting Tuesday, we’ll be adding contextual help throughout the process in the form of videos that describe what can be accomplished with each project type. These will point you in the direction of a project type that is best aligned with your research objectives.

We’ve also reduced the overall number of steps it takes to create a project, reducing the overall time it takes to field your studies.


Tableau Web Data Connector

UserZoom customers can now more seamlessly visualize UX data for more sophisticated reporting at various levels through an integration with leading data visualization software, Tableau. Using a Web Data connector, users have the flexibility to visualize a single study, leverage multiple studies to generate cross-project visualizations, and to combine UX research data with the data that the broader organization uses to measure business performance.

Perhaps best known for enabling business intelligence professionals in their analyses of complex and often disparate data sets, Tableau offers an array of chart and visualization choices, in-line calculations, and interactive filtering capabilities for a robust out-of-the-box experience.

You can now extract data directly from UserZoom to Tableau for advanced reporting capabilities. This integration makes UX research data more accessible cross-functionally, creating new opportunity for collaboration with your organizations business analysts to measure the impact that better UX has on the bottom line.

Want to learn more? You can register for our webinar, Supercharge Your Corporate Dashboards With UX Analytics, on Dec. 26th at 8am PST. Learn how you can bring UX insights into your Tableau business dashboards and get a complete 360 view of your business by bringing together financial, digital, and UX analytics into one dashboard for C-suites and product owners with Dr. Andrea Peer. Register today and get the content on-demand delivered straight to your inbox after the webinar concludes.

Register for the webinar


Moderated Testing Coming Soon

Our customers have been leveraging UserZoom’s remote unmoderated testing capabilities over the past decade to inform product decisions with timely feedback from representative users, at scale. Many of them still do as much moderated research as they do unmoderated, but due to the nature of moderated testing, typically done in the lab or out in the field, scaling those efforts can be costly and inefficient.

This is why we’re excited to announce that we’re building new capabilities to enable moderated testing, which will be available early in 2018! You’ll be able to create a moderated usability testing project directly within UserZoom, conduct sessions with an integrated video conferencing solution, and record, store and manage session recordings directly within the study, just to name a few.

Sign up to receive more information and express your interest in a Beta version here!


Learn more


The post Winter Product Release 2017 appeared first on UserZoom.

A Metrics-Based Model of the 21st Century Enterprise

ToT, NPS, SUS, SUPR-Q…$%&!

There is an alphabet soup of metrics used by UX professionals in most major enterprises.

However, while most UXers spend considerable time developing and refining methods to capture the richness of the user’s perspective, there is considerably less time spent learning and practicing how to make a strong business case for their findings.

Sometimes it’s like throwing carefully packaged nuggets over the fence.

We’ve experienced this vividly and have developed a framework to present an updated model of the various metrics collected within an organization to help UXers make a precise and defensible case for their work.

Quantifying UX with a 21st Century Metrics Model

Our model identifies four levels of metrics: pre-launch, live product metrics, enterprise key metrics, and GAAP metrics.

Level 1 (L1) are Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They are gathered by nearly all American enterprises, with corresponding International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) around the world. These are rooted in rules for financial disclosure created domestically by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and internationally by the International Accounting Standards Board, and emerged from the practices of industrial age companies of the mid-1900s.

Most, if not all, enterprises that seek to disclose their financials in an official capacity hold GAAP or IFRS as a baseline. As of 2007, any company compliant with IFRS is also compliant with GAAP, and the SEC has stated its intention to move over to IFRS.

While L1 metrics have been the focus of most companies for decades (for example, revenue or stock price), L2-L4 introduce tangible ways for employees to think about, rally around, and optimize the L1 metrics.

In our view, the holy grail for UXers is to show an L4-L1 relationship. To illustrate this point, we chose two powerful examples.

Increasing online sales for a major e-commerce company

The Situation

A large e-commerce company wanted to increase the number of online “bundles” sold to new and current customers.

These bundles could contain a wide mix of products and were generally set to repeatedly ship to customers at a range of times, providing customer value and a predictable revenue stream for this business.

The repeated sales also allowed the company to pre-purchase its products in bulk and keep them in-warehouse for minimal amounts of time, reducing both risk and operating costs.

Increasing the number of bundles sold and improving several L1 metrics—including revenue, stock-on-hand, and margin-on-product—was especially important as the company had pre-committed to a bundling strategy and was positioning itself for an acquisition.

The Problem

The online bundle-creation flow was plagued with high check-out times for customers (L3), negative consumer feedback via the Contact Us page (L3), and low bundle sales on the live-site analytics (L2).

Certain items could be bundled, while others could not, and depending on the frequency of shipment, some bundles were charged as one but shipped in three or more packages. Even worse, those users that were able to create a bundle often canceled since what they received was different from what they’d expected upon checkout (L3).

While the client’s lead researcher had some vague idea of each of the metrics covered within this framework, we presented an early stage version of the framework to help the team visualize the connection between metrics and focus their efforts.

The Research Solution

Using their live-site feedback and a series of heuristic evaluations, the client created three new designs (A, B, C) and decided to test them pre-launch along three L4 dimensions: time-on-task, ability to complete the bundle flow, and ability to explain the bundle concept to a friend.

With a task-based study design and a large sample size, the team decided that whichever design performed best along these three dimensions would be the “winner.” After careful statistical analysis, they found that design A led to significantly higher L4 metrics (time-on-task, bundle creation, and bundle explanation) when compared with the other designs. People were completing the flow quickly and understanding what they had done.

Some attributes of the design included examples of popular bundle options to anchor and explain the flow, and clear copy with corresponding visuals to illustrate each example.

The client’s lead researcher made the case to her stakeholders that design A, if implemented, would reduce the L3 live-site metrics of customer complaints and time-on-task, leading to a higher L2 of bundle completion, and positively affecting the L1 of revenue, margins, and operational costs.

The stakeholders greenlighted the new flow. The engineering team, excited by the improvements, prioritized the changes, which ultimately led to a long-term increase in L2 bundle-sales, increases in L1 revenue and margin, and a reduction in L1 operational costs.

The lead UX researcher was promoted within the organization, presented the report at the company all-hands meeting, and led a massive initiative around focused product measurement and enhancement within the organization.

The company, showing digital innovation, growth, and solid financial know-how with its new bundle-model, was acquired 10 months after the completion of the study. The acquirer noted the culture of digital measurement and optimization, as well as the bundle concept, as key to its buying the company.

As the lead researcher had a mixed business and research background and reported to a seasoned product director within an organization that was focused on the bundle creation flow, this was an environment ripe for this type of structured business framework.

Now, we’ll review a slightly different use case.

Connecting NPS (L4)  to increased revenue (L1)

The Situation

A large health insurance provider was testing four redesigns of the flow that members use during open enrollment to learn about and select their health benefits.

The Problem

The company’s product team received negative feedback from users about the information presented in the current flow and were planning to test three new options along a slew of L4 KPIs, spending weeks on data formatting and analysis. L4 KPIs included the ability to explain the selected plan to a friend, the users’ expected vs. actual ease of use of the tool, understanding of plans selected, and views on the tools’ appropriateness for the workplace.

The product team hadn’t given a single thought to connecting these KPIs to any other higher-order set of metrics to make a case for their research and design suggestions within the larger organization.

The Research Solution

We held a strategy session in which we showed the team a version of this framework, and encouraged them to think in a more structured way about their place within the massive enterprise.

They went back to their organization and asked what metrics their managers—and managers’ managers (up to the VP of product)—generally used to made decisions for this product line. They had never asked these questions before. The key metric ended up being an L2 of brand-level NPS of the buyers, not the users, of the health insurance selector tool. (Yes, it’s a mouthful, and it’s also measured by a survey designed outside of the product organization.)

The product team figured that this key L2 of buyers’ brand-level NPS could be informed by a product-level buyer’s NPS (L4), which they could gather and analyze through their research study. In turn, they reduced many of their other KPIs and changed their user group from just users, to users and buyers, and budgeted for more generative research around the buyers for use in future designs.

They led a large sample, task-based study, and carefully compared the four designs based on the users’ ability to explain benefits to a friend, the buyers’ views on appropriateness for the workplace, and the NPS score.

This led to a clear winner among the four designs. We created a report that connected L4 product-level NPS to L2 brand-level NPS to L1 revenue. The report went up the food chain, and the product changes were prioritized by the engineering team. A few months after implementation, the product line enjoyed a 20% lift in revenue.

The product team was asked to present their methods to the entire organization. In doing so, they generated a long-term plan to shift the research culture to focus on the metrics execs care about, and worked to create other exec-level metrics beyond product and brand-level NPS.

Using the Metrics Model in Your Organization

We’ve created a model of the various metrics collected in orgs to help UXers make a precise & defensible case for #UXClick To Tweet

These are just two examples of the application of this framework in a business context. We hope your minds are spurring with dozens more.

As an exercise, we’d encourage you to play around with the framework. For practice, pick a company—let’s say an online video company—then tell a story: for example, a decrease in time-finding-favorite-TV-show on design A in the pre-launch study (L4) holds true when design A is run on the live-site (L3), which links to the L2 metric of increased program viewership, and ties directly to the L1 metric of more revenue.

We hope you use this framework in your day-to-day work to:

  • Learn about what business-metrics are key within your organization
  • Visualize the vaguely linear relationship among UX and other business metrics
  • Make informed decisions about the metrics you gather
  • Make a precise and defensible case about how your work affects the key business metrics; and/or
  • Earn influence to shape the prioritization of these metrics, and lead more high-quality, impactful research within your organization

We see this as an ongoing conversation and are excited to hear from you.

© UXPA, (2017). Reprinted from User Experience Magazine, {17, 4 (October 2017)} 

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How to Optimize Your Site for a Large Online Sale

Make the most of seasonal shopping days

When you know you have a large online sale coming up, it’s important to optimize your site for the best user experience possible. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two obvious examples, but depending on your business, you might also host sales for New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day or a number of other holidays and events.

User experience studies show that if a site is not optimized, 79 percent of users will simply search for another site to finish the order. Mobile users are much more likely to abandon the site if it isn’t optimized for mobile users — about five times more likely, in fact.

Optimize your sites for the best #UX possible during seasonal sales to keep customers coming back all year longClick To Tweet

Thankfully, there are some basic things you should do to optimize your site.

A/B Test Your eCommerce Buying Process

You’ve likely heard of A/B testing to see how well a page produces conversions, but you should also do some A/B testing of your eCommerce buying process. Try out different checkout methods and see which ones perform best with your customers. Do some prevent cart abandonment better than others?

Take the time to test everything from the color of the checkout button to the actual checkout process.

Prevent Empty Cart Syndrome

The average shopping cart abandonment rate is over 69 percent, which is an appalling number. You spend a lot of time, money and effort driving targeted traffic to your site. The last thing you want to do is lose a consumer who is interested enough in your product to place the item in a shopping cart.

There are some things you can do to reduce these rates. Make sure your shipping costs are clear, popular items are available and your prices are competitive. You might also want to make sure you collect contact information early in the process. This will allow you to contact a buyer with empty cart syndrome and offer a special discount if they’ll complete the order.

Check Your Contact Form

Around 51 percent of online consumers think contact information should be complete with multiple ways to contact the company and state that most sites are missing this information. Your contact information would be easy to find and have, at a minimum, an email address, but many people prefer live chat as well.

You should also make sure your contact form works and test it prior to launch, because with big sales also comes a lot of questions and concerns from consumers. Your contact form should meet the needs of your consumers or they’ll leave.

Market Messaging Optimization

In order to optimize the market messaging on your site, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. What questions does your typical customer have and how can you answer them before they are even asked? Think also about the emotional appeals that will reach your target demographic and make them want to buy your product.

Test, and Retest, Deals and Coupons

If you plan to offer a special discount or deals on the big sale day, you’ll want to test these ahead of time to be sure they are working. You should also hop online and play the role of consumer early the day of the sale. Make sure everything still works smoothly.

There are few things more frustrating to a consumer than to grab the item they want, put it in the online shopping cart, punch in the discount code and discover the price doesn’t change. This won’t just drive customers from your site — they may be so angry that they’ll never return.

Taking the time to optimize your site for a large sale is a smart move. A site that runs smoothly helps create as many conversions as possible and drive the success of your sale.

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How to Spread Holiday Cheer (And Entice Holiday Shoppers)

Preparing for the Holiday rush

Each year, between Black Friday and Christmas, shoppers turn out in droves to buy anything and everything you can imagine. In 2016, retail e-commerce spending in the United States alone hit $63.1 billion.

One thing you’ll hear from almost all marketing experts is to start planning early for your holiday marketing strategies. Don’t worry if you haven’t started, though. It’s never too late to jump on board and take advantage of the holiday shopping season.

1. Social Media Ads

When marketing on social media during the holidays, be sure to focus on the giving spirit of the season and explain why your service or product makes the perfect gift. While it might be a bit more challenging to market B2B, this method works perfectly for B2C promotions.

Even if your company reaches out to other businesses rather than consumers, don’t overlook the powerful marketing potential of focusing on end-of-year planning and preparing for a fresh new year ahead.

2. In-Store Holiday Experience

For those shopping in-store, the experience is about a lot more than just a few online adjustments. Every element — from décor to friendly employees — represents an opportunity to pull in customers. Window displays are a must for brick-and-mortar stores.

One example of how to accomplish this is by putting customized images near the storefront or in windows. Colorful graphics can draw foot traffic to your store and help you take advantage of those last-minute, impulse purchases. Notice SpeedPro Imaging’s use of big, bold images for H&M’s display windows, which are certain to catch the eye of passersby.

3. Keywords & AdWords

Take the time to see what keywords in your niche people are searching for this year. These can change from season to season, so it’s important to do new research each year. This tactic can be as simple as searching for your niche words and then adding specific days, such as “Black Friday,” “Christmas” or “Hanukkah.”

Next, get specific and create ads that offer special incentives to holiday shoppers, such as shipping by Christmas, or a discount if they use the code “HoHoHo.” You can get as creative here as you’d like, but be sure the tone and graphics suit your typical target demographic.

4. Get Behind a Cause

Your marketing efforts don’t have to be 100 percent profit-oriented. It’s entirely possible to do good and create buzz for your brand at the same time. People love to help others, especially during the holidays.

Find a cause to get behind, then create a social media hashtag and ask others to support your cause as well. Your campaign could be as simple as asking people to buy free coffee for others at their local coffee place, or as complex as fundraising for a good cause.

Be certain to choose a charity, activity or group you truly believe in, because people will see right through you if you only work on such a campaign to gain traction. You should be motivated by a belief in helping others and in the cause you’re supporting. Online, the sky is the limit. You might even start a GoFundMe campaign for the cause.

The National Park Foundation is an excellent example of a successful hashtag movement around the holiday season. They created a campaign encouraging their social media followers to skip shopping and #optoutside instead. They wanted to promote the benefits of building memories in national parks over the holidays, which also happens to tie into their brand and what they do. It was an ideal campaign match because it promoted something they were passionate about.

In the Black

There’s a very good reason Black Friday earned its name. You see, many businesses operate in the red throughout the year, but the day after Thanksgiving marks a period of profit for them as shoppers step up their spending.

How are you going to reach those shoppers and take advantage of your most profitable time of year?

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