All good quantitative data is supported by qualitative research. Qualitative research is often viewed as the undercard to the Main Event. This can never be more true in the world of big data, user data, and web data. Using traditional market research methodologies in tandem with web analytics can provide a business with multiple benefits and a more complete picture of the user experience (UX.)
What are some of the benefits of marrying market research together with web analytics?
Qualitative research can provide more context to web analytics (the web data is the "what?" while the research provides the "why?")
A better understanding of the user journey on the website (you know most users follow one clickstream, but is it driven by poor design?)
A chance to extend the user experience and obtain more data (requesting feedback after a certain number of page views, or a drop-out.)
Here are some examples of market research that can support web analytics.
User experience in-depth interviews (UXIDIs): these are very similar to qualitative in-depth interviews (IDIs) with a website tie-in. A firm typically recruits a number of participants (approximately 10) to come into a facility or interviewing room to observe behavior on a website. The moderator interjects with questions and comments about why the participant clicked here, or clicked there, or exited a page. Think of it almost as website surfing while thinking out loud. This provides the depth and context to go along with the clickstreaming data that your platforms already provide. Oftentimes these sessions are documented through screen recording software. Another option in some facilities is to sit behind a one-way mirror so clients can observe the UX.
In-home usage tests (IHUTs): a comparable process to the UXIDIs except these interviews and observations take place in the environment of the user (in-home, at work, etc.) These IHUTs allow the user to click and surf websites in their natural environment in an attempt to limit any type of bias.
Crowd-sourcing with experts: this is done through group forums online, bulletin board groups, or through internal resources at your company. It is as simple as posting a web page on a projector and bringing together a team of programmers, analysts, and UX gurus in-house to discuss the pros and cons of each page aloud. These can lead to some disagreements and productive dialogue. What better way to add some depth to your big data than by going right to the people who work with websites the most?
Surveys: there are many options using this methodology. You can create a pop-up survey on a specific page of the site or even show a pop-up survey invite once the user exits the site. The idea with any survey is brevity by addressing your objectives as quickly as possible. Survey questions, both open and close-ended can yield some valuable feedback to provide perspective to your web data.
A special thanks to author Avinash Kaushik and his book on Web Analytics for providing some background and motivation for this post. Have any questions about marketing research, customer experience (CX) or voice of customer (VOC)? Contact Drive Research at 315-303-2040 or email us at email@example.com. Drive Research is a user experience (UX) market research firm in Syracuse, NY.