EPIC Blog | Improve Web Performance with User Experience Research

Know Thy Customer: Online Edition

author: Zak Becker

Written by: Zak Becker

Research Manager


  • Best Practices
  • Research

Improve web performance with UX research

It’s human nature to assume that others behave in the same way we do, and our behavior on the web is no different. But if you have a marketing or business background, how you view and experience apps or websites may differ significantly from your customers. So how do you figure out what customers are experiencing during their time on your app or website? User Experience (UX) Research.

Conducting UX research on a website before updating the design or functionality provides a greater understanding of the existing user behaviors, needs, and motivations while identifying pain points and areas for usability and site performance improvement.

Viewing the site through the lens of a typical user increases the likelihood that your website updates will improve the user experience and provide a solid return on the investment.


And UX research shouldn’t stop at the launch of those improvements. Once a new site is live, ongoing UX research allows you to stay up to date on site performance and out in front of potential issues, so you can make ongoing data-driven improvements.

So what constitutes UX Research?

User session recordings

EPIC can use software to record user sessions on your site/app to see real-life examples of what is functioning well and where there may be frustration or uncertainty in the site design or layout. Clicks, scrolls, hovers, and other mouse data can be captured, along with other keyboard inputs and navigation.

Questions we can answer with user session recordings include:

  • Are visitors able to find the information they were seeking when they came to the site?
  • Are visitors following the expected path based on the site design?
  • Are visitors experiencing frustration with any part of the site?
  • Are there any broken links or missing content?

The recordings can also be helpful when looking into a problem a user reports that cannot be reproduced.


These session recordings can also be aggregated to help us provide insights into interaction patterns. These heatmaps are focused at the page level rather than documenting a single user experience.

Heat maps use colors to represent data about user behavior, interactions, and potential pain points by showing what parts of the page attract more interaction and activity—as well as areas that are not being seen by many users. They can also show us the geographic locations of site visitors.

Questions we can answer with heat maps include:

  • Are users navigating the site as expected?
    • How far did they scroll?
    • What did they interact with?
  • Is the page content capturing user attention?
    • Are they distracted by or focused on anything that is not important?
    • Are they engaging with CTAs?
  • Supplementing other research questions:
    • A/B tests can include reviewing heatmap data
    • Viewing by geographic location, traffic source, or device can add insights to overall web analytics reporting.

Interstitial surveys

Interstitial surveys are the short “pop-up” surveys you may have experienced on a site. These help us capture in-the-moment feedback from customers while they use your product to hear directly from them about any areas of frustration. These insights help us recommend UX improvements to increase usability and provide helpful content and touchpoints for the call to action.

Questions that can be answered with interstitial surveys include:

  • What brought the user to the website?
  • How was their experience?
  • Is there any information causing confusion (or missing entirely)?
  • Why are they leaving the page without converting?
  • What could be done to improve their experience?

Additional UX research tools:

  • User journey mapping
    • Tracks users through the sales funnel and identifies ways to increase conversion.
  • Form tracking
    • Identifies which form fields frustrate users and lead to abandoned form entries.
  • In-depth interviews
    • It’s often helpful to talk directly to users. User interviews can identify potential issues or areas of concern ahead of additional UX research, or allow us to follow up on unexpected findings by getting a deeper look at customer attitudes and experiences.
  • User testing
    • This qualitative approach allows us to evaluate the behavior of individual users and receive direct user feedback.

In a world where data analysis and customization are becoming increasingly important to marketers, make sure you are optimizing your customer’s digital experiences by learning from what they actually do, not just what they say they do, or what you think they do.

Curious about adding UX research to your marketing plan? Reach out to EPIC to see where you can get started!

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