To receive answers to your questions, you first need to ask yourself if you are asking the right questions. And with those what are you trying to learn?
Let's start with where are you right now and what are you trying to achieve. Are you at the beginning of creating a startup? Or do you wish to introduce new features to your users? Maybe you are even planning to buy a legacy business and want to redesign and refresh everything. Or are you trying to solve a problem?
For my recent user research, I wanted to redesign an existing mobile and web app and improve the user experience. How the current version of the mentioned apps was created is unknown to me, but I assume the product owner hasn’t had any user research in mind while developing it (public sector).
To define your right user research subjects you need to know a bit more about them. Having the user persona helps, but having real data about those people helps you determine the right participants for the exact goal of your research. Drafting criteria for your user interview participants will help you drill down to your users. For example, for my user research, it was important that I get to talk to the users that use the current mobile and web app, so I can hear first-hand from them about their frustrations and needs.
“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” - Wernher von Braun
When identifying your research goals you need to have in mind:
At the core of my research, I wanted to sole speak to the users and listen to what they have to say. Based on what they already had and used I wanted to hear about what they think and feel. Ideas come best from the source, that’s why I asked as many open-end questions as possible to get to understand what the users actually would need and appreciate as a design change. Mini ideation conversation also was present in a few of the interviews. Along the way with my research, I also started to test my own biases and find out from people around me what they believed was true about the product.
That’s it. That’s how you start defining your learning goals. 😊
You are also in luck! I am currently available for collaborations.