Why is VLE user experience research important?

By Richard Havinga, E-Learning Solutions Architect, CoSector – University of London

The University of London has been running software services for over a decade and during that time built up significant experience. We have also seen that in an increasingly competitive environment, software developers are now focusing on understanding user experience (UX) so they can better meet the expectations and needs of their current and future customers. 

Why is user experience research important?

UX research allows you to validate the good but also deal with issues and problems with your products and services without assuming, ‘if we build it they will come’. 

It helps you understand users as well as making sure your solutions solve a worthwhile problem. 

But isn’t user research expensive?

It doesn’t need to be. Yes, it requires time and planning, particularly when securing appointment bookings with volunteers to conduct the interviews, observation or questionnaire type research. But working in the education sector has an advantage, as students are often happy to give up 30 minutes of their time for a small fee, which reduces overall cost.

How do I get started with user research?

Conduct a number of interviews with key users of your product or services, complete them with no assumptions to ensure balanced feedback. Cross check your findings with a larger survey or focus groups. Develop personas to group user needs. These personas will then help keep your development on track when considering those specific user needs. 

When should I finish user research?

User research should be an ongoing exercise to help you better understand user needs, and also gain feedback from anything you develop.

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