The impacts resulting from coronavirus are vast, and many of us hope to identify some things that can be made better because of it. One silver lining may be that it is the ideal time for service-based companies to invest in UX research to improve and enhance the design of their mobile apps. Bold statement, I know, but hear me out.
As the demand for people to shelter in their homes and practice social distancing has grown, so too has the demand for delivery-based services. With an unprecedented number of people using apps to order everything from groceries to food delivery to pet medication, there is a window of opportunity to gather both valuable contextual insights as well as to baseline usability under the most dynamic circumstances.
So where should you start? The following methods can be leveraged even while shelter-in-place orders are in place (or after) as they can all be implemented remotely:
Diary studies are a great way to understand both contextual use and how experiences change over time as people learn to use your product. Now, more than ever, people who have never used these types of apps are turning to them to meet their basic needs. As our new reality sets in and this trend continues, there is potentially a vast pool of users who can help you better understand the experience of registering, learning, and using your app.
Remote moderated usability testing
Now is the time to run usability testing, not only to figure out what is working well and not so well, but also to identify potential feature enhancements. These crazy times mean that you likely have an influx of new users onto your app who may be identifying needs and experiencing issues on a scale you have not seen before. While you might not be able to fix the fact that their store is out of toilet paper, or that the delivery driver is running late, you can use that feedback to generate new approaches to in-app messaging, delivery tracking, order modification, and more. Usability testing is a great place to start identifying those new opportunities. We recently wrote a post about pros and cons of remote moderated testing.
Remote user interviews
I put this one last because it is a great follow-up to either, or both, of the above activities! Odds are, once you have rich data from prior rounds of research, you have some great ideas for product improvement and/or feature enhancement. But before you start your development, you will want to vet those ideas with actual users to both ensure they have value and get a better understanding of how your users envision those features working.
Now that you have some options, the only thing you must ask yourself is which do I choose first!