'Golden nuggets' – our personal approach to usability research comes up with the gold

Published Nov 28, 2022, 10:00 AM
Written by Rachel Kelly

‘Golden nuggets’ are the wonderful, valuable comments people share towards the end of a conversation or interview after we’ve built rapport during the user experience (UX) research and testing processes.

User experiences provide invaluable information

When we’re building a website or app we aim to give the people who use it a digital experience that solves their problems, saves them time and improves their day.

One of the ways we do that is by weaving user experience (UX) approaches throughout the entire project.

Some companies treat UX as something they do at the beginning of a project, via large online surveys, or when they’re testing their end product.

The Symbiote UX method involves the careful selection of research participants, recruiting based on a number of key factors often in line with existing business personas. By taking this approach we can be confident we're speaking to the right people, who can tell us things only they know – at the beginning, middle and end of a project. Actually, past the end, because what they share is often useful for future developments of digital applications of all kinds.

Sometimes our conversations with users lead to fast, easy changes that dramatically improve a webpage. For example, when we worked on Public Transport Victoria’s (PTV) online journey planner, our sessions with a select group of users revealed to us that they wanted fast and easy-to find information about disruptions to the transport network. The users we spoke to told us what they were looking for and how they wanted to use the information, which enabled us to recommend several low-cost, low-risk changes.

At that time, the existing disruption webpages contained detailed information about disruptions and journey changes but lacked key visual design principles such as content hierarchy, emphasis, or variety.

The other golden nuggets participants shared with us during that project were things that wouldn’t have come up if we’d focussed the conversation simply on the website. When talking about disruption information across all digital channels participants said that the words and language used to communicate change and disruptions to the public transport system varied greatly – they were different on Twitter, Facebook via the PTV website and the digital display boards at stops or stations. Again, this was something PTV could change with relative ease that immediately give travelers helpful, trustworthy information wherever they were on their trip.

We see user experience as a key ingredient for improving things for people in the real world, using digital technology.