The Best Questions to Ask Your Users

When developing a system or a new platform, feedback or the support of those who will need to use it is essential. But what questions do you ask them to get useful information for improving the system?

Ségolène Marcel is a project manager with Intact Insurance. With fifteen years experience in developing websites, she is well placed to identify the best questions to ask to be able to draw out the best information. “Before even beginning to build the questionnaire, you need to get a clear picture of what you are asking the user,” she says. “Are we asking him to buy a product? Read and share content? Watch a video?”

If we want the user to make a purchase, we will have to focus on the shopping cart. “Is it easy to use?” will probably be one of the very first questions to ask. If it’s a site containing articles, one of the techniques used by Ségolène Marcel is to organize a virtual treasure hunt. “We will ask the user to find a particular article, then ask how they found it.”

In any case, we should not neglect certain basic information such as the user’s age, sex, whether he lives in the city or country, etc. “This information can let us target our audience better and sometimes even change it,” continues the project manager. 

Open questions
Alice Rugero offers user experience (UX) services. If the budget allows, she prefers to be in the presence of the user and watch him browse live, especially in the case of an already-existing website. For a website or app under development, an online questionnaire will be preferable, she suggests.

If the problem is not known, the user must be allowed to browse and asked to make a purchase, for example. “In this way,” she says, “we can see the path they take and the pitfalls encountered along the way.”

If the website’s problem has already been identified, Alice Rugero asks a few open-ended questions. Some examples for an online store:

      How would you describe your browsing experience at this stage?
      What difficulties did you face?
      Why did you abandon your purchase in the shopping cart?
      What feeling did you feel after this abandonment?

For Alice Rugero, user feedback enables going beyond the technical aspect of platforms and adding marketing and psychology elements into the process. The goal is “to make the experience user friendly, of course!”

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