ARTICLE: Anushka Shetty

Synthesize your EdTech UX survey results efficiently to save time and budget

If you’re developing your EdTech product in an environment of rapid iteration, tension can run high. Even though you’re moving fast, you still need to stay close to the reason you are creating a product in the first place: your users’ evolving needs. And that means you’ve got to simultaneously conduct UX research and keep up the pace. Some research methodologies are better than others at different points of your product development. When you’re working under a tight deadline, you need research results in a matter of days, not weeks. User surveys can be very effective when you need actionable insights fast. 

Your research should always be rigorous and comprehensive, so you can make the best product decisions for your users. Keeping up the momentum while gleaning and integrating new insights? That’s a tall order. 

Honing in on the right survey data can enable your team to make the best decisions on the fly — and create a useful final report.  

Gather Insight About Users and Usability Through Nimble UX Surveys

User surveys accomplish two important things. They collect feedback on user needs and your product’s usability. And surveys offer several research advantages.

  1. Surveys are inexpensive. Surveys can be conducted online. No need for in-person, telephone, or paper administration.
  2. Surveys can lighten the participants’ cognitive load. Any qualitative questions can offer optional answers. Choosing a word or sentence is much easier for participants than having to come up with their own answers. 
  3. Surveys can describe characteristics of large groups. Researchers can distill survey responses into reliable numbers that can be used to make across-the-board predictions.
  4. Unmoderated surveys can provide honest feedback from users. Other research methods, like in-person research interviews, may require a variety of approaches to avoid biased results. Unmoderated surveys are more likely to produce candid, honest feedback. 

How to Extract Relevant Data From Survey Results

UX researchers are confronted with a vast amount of raw survey data, all of which tells a story you need to know. Interpreting complex data requires a simple, repeatable methodology that produces information you can generalize and make decisions from.

Prioritize research questions

UX researchers should work with all team members to clarify what the most important research questions are. Each member has a unique vantage point. Collaboratively pinpointing priorities keeps your team focused and aligned. 

Identify survey questions that align with research priorities

Surveys should pose clear, unbiased questions that directly align with your product’s research priorities. Make sure that all survey questions adhere to UX research survey best practices and are grounded in empathy for the user.

Determine analysis type for the survey 

Researchers need to have a thoughtful, appropriate plan for analysis. Will they use data visualizations or spreadsheets with a series of embedded functions that calculate the % of participants that share the same perception/experience (i.e: the % of participants for which the same theme is found)? They can also use a sophisticated survey tool like Qualtrics, which creates and distributes surveys, and generates thorough, modifiable PDF reports. 

Utilize Research Recaps to Make Quick, Informed Decisions

When time is of the essence, the ability to view your survey analysis is key. You can’t afford to wait until a full, formal research report is in your hands to make critical choices. When product goals and priorities are shifting quickly, you need the gist of the findings right as they become available.

When your UX researchers provide a high-level overview in real time, you can make smart investment decisions that don’t come at the expense of your timeline and budget. Early research recaps keep you in the research loop and allow you to avoid any slowdown.

Recaps are meetings with the research team in which they share early findings, unexpected issues, and identify opportunities. Many times, you don’t need a nuanced, deep dive into your research in order to determine next steps. Individualized extraction, assessment, and analysis that reports a whole host of users’ responses— while valuable at times — may just slow your momentum. 

Your researchers can rapidly identify and share data trends. And they can recommend an efficient action that will keep you moving in the right direction — or move you in a new direction. 

Communicate Survey Results in a Cohesive Report

Your final research report is an important institutional asset. Your research recaps have not only prepared you for its findings, but recaps have also saved you time and budget. Necessary changes have been quicker and easier. By the time you receive the report, you should encounter no summary surprises. 

Unfortunately, data gathered under time pressure can end up falling through the cracks or be documented poorly. Analysis of data is important, but if it’s communicated poorly, what good is it? Disorganized, disjointed reports that need interpretation become more an obstacle than an asset. 

The final report should be assembled to be easily accessible to others. When UX researchers collaborate with other team members to analyze large-scale survey data, reports need to be crystal clear — especially if they are consulted at a later time. 

Proactively use these tips when you’re reporting research in a fast-paced environment. Then creating a cohesive final report will be more manageable.

  • Note the most pressing points of the process for which you need feedback. 
  • List high-priority action items so they are easily identifiable.
  • Use streamlined summary reports until you have time to work out a longer, more complete report. 

Sure, you may be working at breakneck speed right now. But you do still have time to engage with and use research results from your survey. With a tailored methodology and research recaps, you can move forward faster and smarter. And create an institutional asset that serves you well for years to come.

  • Photo of Anushka Shetty
    Anushka Shetty

    In her role as UX researcher, Anushka brings a wide set of experiences and skills that complement our team at Openfield. Prior to joining the company, numerous educational and professional experiences blended to inspire her interest in EdTech. Anushka earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Sarah Lawrence College before going on to earn a Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan where she also conducted UX research for the Center for Academic Innovation and gained valuable on-the-ground insights as a graduate instructor of introductory psychology. Anushka enjoys being in motion – exploring her surroundings on foot and via public transit, curating Spotify playlists for friends and baking desserts to satisfy her own sweet tooth. She is currently learning the ukulele (in order to play the SpongeBob theme song) and says she is “an expert at poorly drawn sketches.”

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