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Elevate your Shopping Studies with Lindsey Kite

UX Research Advisor, Lindsey Kite, walks us through her go-to sample design and shares a few tips on getting started with dscout.

Words by Ben Wiedmaier, Visuals by Jarred Kolar

Observation is a critical skill for any user-centered thinker. It's also important for actors: cues, shifts in tone, as well as character immersion are all improved from the habit.

Lindsey Kite, a research advisor for dscout, is a professional observer. She honed that skill first on the stage and then later in her transition to UX research.

Lindsey supports many of dscout's retail clients, making her a perfect person to ask about the hybrid world's effects on shopper studies. She even offered a go-to mission design if you want to be a fly-on-the-wall with your customers remotely.

What was your path to user research at dscout?

My journey into UX was definitely roundabout. I actually received a B.F.A in acting and was a professional actor and arts administrator for about six years before making the transition to user research.

Throughout that time, I held down a lot of what artists call “day jobs” in various customer experiences roles at tech companies in Chicago. Most of these jobs were focused on answering questions about app/website functionalities, general support, and working cross-departmentally to share user or customer feedback.

The companies I had previously worked for had been fairly young with small teams, so I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with any UXRs and honestly wasn’t aware that there was an entire line of work dedicated to supporting the user experience and product development/strategy.

When searching for a new career path, I stumbled across a posting for the Research Advisor position at dscout on Built In Chicago. After reading copious amounts of People Nerds articles (shoutout), listening to podcasts about the UX industry, and interviewing with the folks here at dscout, I decided to make the shift to working in UXR.

Which kinds of companies or industries do you (usually) work with? Are there frequent types of questions/problems you're helping clients answer?

At dscout, the Customer Experience Research (CXR) team is broken up into what we call “pods.” Each pod is assigned dozens of clients, so I work with a wide variety of companies and industries. We work with online retailers or e-commerce companies, consulting agencies, automotive, healthcare, consumer products, apparel, housing, education, and more.

Our pod does a lot of work around shopping online. We explore: how are people navigating various apps and websites? How do people shop for specific types of products? How do people use the various app/website features to make shopping easy, fun, enjoyable, etc.? That being said, a lot of the research differs depending on the client.

The nice thing about dscout is that you can customize the tools to fit most of your research needs. When working with new clients, the most common feedback I get is how versatile Diary missions are. My clients love using diaries for shop-alongs, both online and in-person, to understand people’s experiences on a retailer’s app and website (diary missions allow you to conduct omnichannel research), and to compare their shopping experience against their competitors.

"Remote research allows you to be the fly on the wall in folks’ daily lives. It allows participants to show you different experiences, environments, routines, etc. in their natural habitat. This allows for people to give more natural, candid and direct feedback."

Lindsey Kite
UX Research Advisor at dscout

Two pieces of advice for folks new to dscout?

1. Streamline your research!
When clients wrap up their first mission on dscout, the typical response is, “I have so much data! I didn’t expect to get so much data!” Think about the amount of time you have for analysis, what your output will be, and share that with your Research Advisor. They can help you craft a study that will get the answers you need while ensuring that the amount of data you get will be parseable and digestible.

2. Keep the scout experience in mind!
Remember that scouts are people too. They have lives, families, jobs, and are choosing to give you feedback amidst their busy schedules. Think about this as you set up your timeline, tasks, and questions. The more enjoyable a mission is, the better the data will be, and the more engaged your scouts will be.

Lindsey’s e-commerce gap analysis

I’ve talked about shopping studies quite a bit in this article, so let me show you a template that will be a good basis to understand how your shopping experience compares to others.

When you see [X] feel free to fill that in with whatever type of product you wish. It could be groceries, insurance, household items, electronics, apparel, etc. The sky’s the limit here!

Part 1: Introduction

I typically like to start missions with an introduction part (this template works best with Diary, but any one section could be used as an Express mission, too). This allows me to get a better understanding of who the scout is (if you’re doing any type of persona work, get started on that here), and to introduce them to the content of your study.

1. Open-ended

In 2-3 sentences tell us about the situations you’re typically in when you want or need to shop online for [X].

2. Single-select
Which statement below best describes how you approach online shopping?
I only shop online when I need something
- I want to do a ton of research before I make a purchase
- I want to find the best deals
- I like to browse/shop online for fun. It’s my hobby!
- I shop spontaneously. I’ll buy something if a product catches my eye!
- I shop based on what influencers recommend
- Other (Tap to Type)

3. Ranking/rank all/not applicable

When you’re shopping online for [X], what online retailers do you typically go to first? Select #1 for your #1 choice. Select N/A if it's somewhere you haven't shopped.

- [Insert pick list of your retailer and your competitors]

4. Media/one minute

Tell us about the last time you shopped online for [X]. Where did you shop? How did you decide where to shop? What was positive and negative about your experience?

Part 2: Time to shop

Over the course of 2 weeks, we’ll ask scouts to show us each time they shop online for [X]. We’ll ask that they submit 4 entries total. You can specify here what retailers you’d like them to shop at. (I’d recommend limiting it to 2 retailers.)

The scouts will answer the same set of questions, no matter the retailer, so you can easily compare and contrast the data. Remind scouts in the instructions to record their shopping experience in the moment so you can take advantage of the 5-minute screen recording available with desktop parts.

1. Single-select

What retailer will you be shopping at?

- [Curate this pick list based on how you set up the part. This approach will allow you to use our closed-ended responses filters to filter by retailer when conducting analysis.]

2. Screener recording/five minute

Please record your screen as you shop online for [X]. As you shop, please make sure to tell us:

- What stands out to you?

- What features of functions make shopping with this retailer easy or fun, if anything?

- What is confusing or missing, if anything?

3. Scale

How would you rate this shopping experience on a scale of 1-5?
- 1 = Very negative
- 2
- 3
- 4
- 5 = Very positive

4. Open-ended

In 2-3 sentences, tell us how you decided to make a purchase or not?

Part 3: Compare and contrast

Now that scouts have shopped at 2-3 retailers throughout the week, we’ll ask them to dig deep and compare the two websites in a screen recording.

1. Screen recording/five minute

In a 5-minute screen recording please go to [online retailer] and [online retailer] and compare and contrast the two experiences.

- What retailer makes shopping online for [X} most enjoyable? Why?

- What retailer’s website provides the most inspiration? Why?

- What retailer’s website makes finding products easiest? Why?

Note: Feel free to customize these questions based on your cover research objectives. These could be questions about website functionality, product selection, layout, etc.

2. Single-select

Which retailer provides the best experience overall?

- Retailer X

- Retailer Y

3. Open-ended

In 2-3 sentences, sum it up for us! Why does that retailer provide the best experience when shopping online for [X]?

Part 4: Innovate and improve

Use this final part to really focus on your retailer’s experience. These scouts are the experts now, so ask them the tough questions, and have them provide detailed feedback on how you could make your online shopping experience better, and more innovative.

1. Open-ended

In 2-3 sentences tell us *one thing* [X] could improve to make shopping on their website a better experience.

2. Scale

On a scale of 1-5, how easy is it to find what you need on [retailer]?

- 1 = Very easy

- 2

- 3

- 4

- 5 = Very difficult

3. Single-select

How likely are you to use [retailer] when shopping for [X] in the future?

- Extremely likely

- Somewhat likely

- Somewhat unlikely

- Extremely unlikely

- I’m not sure

4. Media/Two minutes

In a 2-minute selfie-style video, imagine you have a meeting with the CEO of [retailer]. Tell us the following:

- What would you change about your online shopping experience that would encourage you to shop more frequently on the website?

- What is one thing that [retailer] is doing right?

Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.

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