What is Agile User Research?

User research in a tight timeline and budget is not impossible. In fact, it is already happening now. All you require are the quality voices of a handful of customers to test and validate your work using an agile user research method.

So what is the core difference between agile and a full user research method? Fewer number of participants are being tested in agile as compared to the full method. But does that mean lesser quality data? No.

One of the early usability gurus, Jakob Nielsen’s research suggested that with only 5 users, 85% of usability problems can be found. For a full user research method, 12 users can find almost 99% of the usability problems. For those who think that user research is too costly and elaborate, a small and agile user research method with frequent testing suits better (as many as the budget allows).

The other difference between agile and full user research is that there will less tasks covered during the testing. To overcome this, test and iterate the product’s features and functions in smaller chunks until it achieves its bigger goal, which is part of the agile manifesto.

Planning and communication are the keys to conducting a great agile user research. Early strategizing occurring at the previous development cycle helps. All of these information and ideas in the early planning phase should be communicated frequently to the user research team so that any issues can be ironed out quickly and for resource management to occur efficiently.

Here in Objective Experience, the entire testing to reporting phase takes only 2 days.  The planning beforehand from the kick-off workshop takes 2 days. Ideally, everything happens within 4 days as illustrated below.

Agile user testing in Singapore

For agile user research, there is no need for testing a large number of users as then it defeats the purpose of the word ‘agile’, which means quick. Testing 5 users who are selected carefully and thoroughly screened to ensure the best participant quality of the targeted user segment is good. Each testing session covers around 2-3 main tasks or user flows within 45 minutes.

It is compulsory for the product design and development team members to sit in and observe the testing sessions as it goes on. Why? To immediately get a sense of what users actually need and iterate on the spot or the next day.

In our agile user research sessions, we also use eye tracking as a way to gain direct insight into how the product is used and what users struggle with. Eye tracking allows observers of the testing to see users’ unconscious behavior in real time, and enables stakeholders to make instant decisions about solutions to interface problems.

At Objective Experience, we have the facilities for team members and other stakeholders to observe the live sessions in person at our viewing room or remotely via a web link. The remote viewing link is great if you have overseas members interested in observing what goes on during the user research. We’ve got a really comfortable space complete with refreshments too!


Take a peek at our viewing room!

After all the testing sessions are done, a brief workshop with the research moderator is held with the observing team members to discuss the key findings from the users, brainstorm some solutions together and actualize the results for the next development. The next day, a report cementing the top 10 most impactful findings with the actionable design recommendations will be produced.

oesg_agilereportsampleSLIDELet us help you make incremental improvements to the user experience of your products, thus driving business growth. Drop us a line at infosg@objectiveexperience.com or call +65 67374511 to discuss your needs now.