Enterprises ignore mobile user research at their own peril

Mobile No Activity

If there’s one cardinal rule regarding enterprise mobility, it is this: User experience tops all other priorities and metrics. It doesn’t matter how well-designed developers think the mobile app they created is, nor does it matter how enthusiastic the CEO is about a given mobile app. In the end, success or failure of an app — or of an entire mobile initiative — depends on the response of end users.

Thus it’s surprising that so few enterprises are committed to doing user research on mobile apps or mobile websites, based on results (PDF) of UserTesting’s 2017 UX and User Research Industry Survey. Asked what their organizations currently do user research on, here’s how respondents answered:

  • 70% — Websites
  • 54% — Prototypes
  • 50% — Competitors
  • 41% — Mobile apps
  • 38% — Software
  • 37% — Mobile sites
  • 30% — Marketing campaigns
  • 27% — Email

Think about it: In a world where enterprises are being urged to go beyond “mobile-first” to “mobile-only,” less than half of more than 2,200 respondents in a wide variety of industries are conducting user research on their mobile apps, and even fewer are doing user research on mobile websites. I’m sure the CEOs of these short-cutting enterprises will be thrilled by the poor return on investment of these under-researched mobile initiatives!

What’s odd about this is that the vast majority of respondents indicate how highly they value user research overall. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) said they conduct user research “before beginning any design or development,” while even more (76%) said they incorporate user research during the “design/prototyping” phase. And 87% said they use the results of user research to “understand customer needs and attitudes.”

If you’re wondering what’s holding back the ROI on your mobile initiative, I’d suggest looking at the potentially large gap between mobile as a stated priority and the amount of effort your enterprise is putting into user research. If they don’t align, you’re wasting money.


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