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There are two basic kinds of user research I have in mind: researching users of the company website, and users of the company product. And I have an agenda of things to do for understanding what users do with the company website.

I'm working on the site for a hardwood flooring installation company and one boilerplate step is to try to understand the customer and not start by assuming you know everything you need to know.

However, I'm a little bit unsure as to how to go about that, or rather why the standard ethnographic approach would be effective. As I best guess, the standard ethnographic approach would be to come to people's homes or other buildings where the flooring is used, observe how people use the space, see how people wash and otherwise maintain the floor, etc.

So two or three questions:

First, am I correct in understanding that it would be beneficial to observe people use this specific product as well as understanding the website?

Second, if I can usefully research user behavior for a product such as hardwood flooring, how should I best understand users who have received one of the company's offerings?

(Third, is the answer just, "Just do it. They'll surprise you!"?)

  • Are users of the site always customers or can they also be potential customers? There is a difference in how to research them. It's all about a good plan and "Just do it" won't be the best approach if it will be your only shot. – jazZRo Nov 18 '16 at 8:53
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A holistic approach - understand the customer. Be agnostic to the website, the device or the technology, the product even - be hyper aware of the customer and their needs.

Think about things like user centred design approaches. Design Studio. Read SPRINT by Jake Knapp. Triangulate metrics and research data. Qual and Quan. Think about contextual inquiry. What are people's wants and needs in this space?

Interesting question!

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