Be sure that you check out Google’s UX designer, Michael Margolis, tips on productive design (see Google Ventures On 8 Shortcuts For Better, Faster Design Research). Do these apply to eLearning or instructional design? Of course they do 🙂
Start at the end: What questions do you want to answer?
Before you do any work on a research study, clarify what you want to get out of it. For example, would it be most useful to figure out:
- Can new customers understand and figure out how to use the product?
- What are customers’ existing workflow and pain points?
- What are pros/cons of competitive products?
- What are customers’ attitudes?
- How satisfied are existing customers with the product?
- How does new customers’ usage change over time?
- Which design performs better?
When you know which answers you’re after, it’s quicker to choose the most efficient way to find them–by picking an appropriate research method (survey, A/B test, literature review, usability interviews, site visits, etc.), and the right segment of customers to study.
Get feedback from customers early and often
Even if your product’s trajectory is off by a little, you could miss your target by a lot. It’s always easier to correct course earlier before you’ve strayed too far.
Check whether someone else has already done your research for you
Whether you’re curious about how teens use mobile video, or trying to decide whether to rely on keyboard shortcuts, use these tips for lean market research to dig up the results from someone else’s hard work and expertise.
Make re-usable templates
To reduce time it takes to recruit research participants, use templates for recruiting questionnaires and various confirmation emails.