User Research: How a User-Oriented Approach Contributes to Business Success

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Without a solid foundation, even the most spectacular house will be of no use to you. It is the same with your design and development processes. Cool features and an exciting design are not effective if the users of your website expect something different. This is where user research projects come in, helping you get to know your users better and thereby creating a strong basis for all your digital endeavours.

Find out in today’s Handelskraft article how to pave the way for a real customer-oriented approach and which methods can help you in the process.

What Is User Research?

User research (UR) can help you understand which features, information or structures the users of your online presence really need. With the help of various methods, data on their needs, preferences and behaviour is gathered. This data then lets you optimise your website, products and services in line with the expectations of your users.

These results offer a strong foundation for all decisions regarding your online presence and help you implement user-centred projects from the very beginning.

Innovative Applications Need More Than Just a Gut Feeling

Like every new project, user research costs time and money. However, you pay an even higher price for passing on a targeted user analysis: customers and revenue.

Far more than half (70 per cent) of customers abandon their purchase if they have a negative user experience. This is also true for existing customers. 30 per cent of users turn their backs on a popular brand if it offers a bad user experience.

After all, the digital market is huge and full of offers. In times of low- and no-code solutions and predefined templates, it is relatively simple to promote your products and services online.

For this reason, individual offers and real added value for your customers can determine the success of your company. However, to win over your target audience with these innovative applications, you first need to know what they really want.

At first glance, the easiest and quickest option would be to make assumptions about your users based on your own preferences. However, this will not lead to particularly convincing user experiences. Worst case, your team will spend time and money creating features your users do not even need. And this is not just expensive, but also demotivating for your design and development teams.

Learn What Customers Really Want

This is where we come to an interesting question: How can a company know what its users really want?

Only one in 26 users actually lets you know if their experience with your website, products or services does not meet their expectations or disappoints them. So do not expect your users to tell you what they want – sometimes they cannot even verbalise their expectations themselves.
Therefore, you should actively seek feedback from your customers.

Methods for Successful User Research

To translate the feedback into requirements and create targeted offers for your customers, you have various methods at your disposal.

When it comes to the choice of methods, a distinction between two basic characteristics is made: qualitative and quantitative.

If you want to make statements about user behaviour as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, quantitative methods are suitable. However, it makes sense to combine both areas of research to understand exactly how your digital offers meet the needs of users in different situations.


The goal of qualitative methods is to develop detailed hypotheses about the needs and wants of your users. These methods take extensive time for the individual subjects, for example to monitor the ordering process on your website from start to finish. The following methods are suitable for qualitative research:


Quantitative methods aim to validate hypotheses based on facts and figures. These methods include as many people as possible to gain representative data. The following methods can be used for quantitative research:

  • Standardised or personalised questionnaires
  • Click maps / click streams
  • Analytics data
  • Unmoderated tests and much more

Your Step-By-Step Guide to a Solid Foundation with User Research

The process of a user research project should always be tailored to your projects and the goals you are aiming for. On the one hand, this depends on what data is already available on your users; on the other hand, it is determined by the budget and time frame available for the project.
dotSource’s UR team will work with you to find the approach and methods that are most efficient for you and best fit your use case.

1. Assess the Status Quo

Before getting started with the actual user research phase, it is important to bring everyone involved in the project up to speed and collect existing data, for example through user analyses and customer journeys. Based on this, a project plan with relevant methods can be drawn up.

2. Begin User Research

The user research phase starts with the creation of a data pool that is as comprehensive and representative as possible. This data is then evaluated and used to develop hypotheses about the needs of your users and their behaviour. For example, one hypothesis could be that website visitors are missing product reviews on the detail pages.

Ideally, quantitative methods would then be used to substantiate the hypotheses and make them more concrete.

The goal of the research process should be to determine use cases – scenarios and situations in which users take advantage of your digital offers. These can then be prioritised and implemented according to their usefulness and costs.

Furthermore, the creation of a few specific personas can help categorise users based on similar characteristics, behaviour or challenges. A persona can include demographic data such as age and place of residence as well as insights into the way a user makes purchases.

The formulation of problem descriptions of individual user groups or empathy maps, which deal with the thoughts and feelings of users, also contribute to a user-based mindset in further project phases, thereby helping to create an optimal user experience.

3. Define the Customer Journeys and Use Cases

Thanks to the data collected at the beginning of the user research phase, you can now go on to understand the customer journeys of your user groups and optimise them in line with your goals.

4. Create a Roadmap

As it can happen that, during the research process, different starting points for the user experience optimisation are analysed, it is important to prioritise which features can be implemented first and which further projects can be initiated as a result. You should then define clear milestones and responsibilities to achieve individual project goals in a timely manner.
In this phase, it is also important to agree on how the success of the implemented measures should be measured. This can be in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as page views, usability and user satisfaction.

The Next Process Is Always Around the Corner

As with your own house, you should always make sure that your digital offers can withstand external influences. As user expectations and behaviour change with the development of new digital offers, you should regularly review your findings and adapt them to new requirements if necessary. Therefore, user research is an interactive process that you should constantly repeat.

There are countless reasons for this:

  • You ensure that your online presence is always up to date
  • You identify potential weaknesses and opportunities for improvement
  • You can respond quickly to sudden changes
  • Multiple perspectives are equally considered

No User Research – No Success

The goal of every building project should be the happiness of the people who will live in the house. The same goes for e-commerce: your customer focus determines whether you will succeed – or whether your figurative house will just be one of many.

The integration of user research into design and development processes is therefore rightly becoming more and more present. An increasing number of companies are expanding their expertise in this area. So that you too can build on a strong foundation, dotSource’s UR experts will support you in analysing your users. Not only will they explain how you can make well-founded statements about your customers, but they will also show you how your employees can sharpen their customer focus in the future.

Focus on Your Users: Download the »Best Practices« Publication for Free Now

UXD Best Practice

Do you want to learn more about how user research can help you create an optimal user experience? Download our »User Experience Design Best Practices« publication today and make user research your company’s success factor!

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