As retailers aim to provide the best user experience (UX) for consumers, they are looking to their competition for inspiration, according to the 2017 UserTesting UX Industry Survey Report. Half of organizations conducted user research on competing brands in 2016, more than doubling the 23% that had studied their rivals the previous year.
For organizations designing their UX, their web sites remain the prime research subject: 70% of companies examine them via user testing. Organizations also research:
Prototype projects (54%);
Mobile apps (41%);
Mobile sites (37%); and
Marketing campaigns (30%).
Retailers in particular are more likely to research mobile site experiences than most other industries; 51% of retailers said they conduct user research on mobile sites.
With growing customer expectations and increased pressure from competitors, organizations are starting to invest in user research early and often, throughout development and beyond. Product teams find that continuous user feedback during the prototyping phase helps refine concepts quickly before investing in development. While 72% of respondents conduct user research before beginning any design or development, 76% do so during the design/prototyping phase.
UX Budgets Continue To Rise As Tests Become Commonplace
For the fourth straight year, UX budgets are on the rise, with tests occurring more frequently. More than one third (36%) of respondents said their 2016 user research budgets increased moderately or significantly over 2015. Nearly 66% said test frequency would increase moderately or significantly in 2017, higher than the 53% that said tests would increase from 2015 to 2016.
Businesses are starting to see artificial intelligence (AI) as an important online trend, with 51% of organizations saying it will affect UX research in the next five years. AI wasn’t even on the survey’s ‘online trends to watch’ list last year, but now has tied multi-device interaction as the biggest trend to keep an eye on. Additional trends expected to affect the UX include:
IoT devices (47%);
Voice interactions (44%); and
Virtual reality/augmented reality (43%).
More than 2,200 professionals involved in improving the customer experience, including product management, marketing, design/UX, research, engineering, and other functions, participated in the 2017 survey.