How to resource an international user research project
Resourcing an international user research project is key to the ultimate success of the exercise. Whether you are using your own staff, UK consultants hired in to manage or carry out the research or overseas agents to manage the research on the ground on your behalf, their knowledge and input will be critical to how the project is framed and delivered – and, therefore, to its ultimate level of achievement.
Some of your decisions in this area might be made for you; for example if you don’t have the necessary level of internal staff expertise or numbers you are obliged to seek outside assistance; or if you can’t find sufficient UK knowledge about the intended market you could be forced to look for overseas help.
The combination of options available in resourcing an international UX research project are these:
Your own team
While this is the most cost-effective option it is also probably the most limiting. The chances of you having staff who are familiar with all of the international markets you wish to test, knowledgeable about their culture and language and aware of all the likely issues to arise, are fairly low. However, this can be an efficient and effective choice if you are managing a project where you do have a fair amount of the required expertise in-house and can acquire and manage the rest easily. It also provides control and direct influence on the whole process.
This is a network of agencies covering the globe that can work together with you to provide support, information and delivery of your international UX research project. There are some big unknowns in this in terms of quality, knowledge, coverage and it might be worth testing the waters with a smaller task before pitching headlong into major research.
A collection of agencies project managed by you
This provides a similar service to the UX alliance but the agencies are hand-picked and controlled by you so you have more say in timing, methods, operatives etc. The downside is that you have to spend the time recruiting and vetting the staff which can be time-consuming and expensive – and possibly very taxing and, ultimately flawed, if you are not experienced in this sort of activity.
This can be an expensive option but, if you do hit on the right person, it can also be a key factor in success. Recruitment is vital here and you need to be aware not only of specialist knowledge, expertise and familiarity with the intended marketplace but also personal factors such as manageability, relationships with your team, ability to take direction, communication skills etc.
An international UX research agency
While there is, obviously a cost to this option, this has to be weighed against the increased chances of success. Employing one agency is likely to ensure greater control and consistency in your project and easier lines of communication on progress and direction. The agency is likely to have trusted, reliable access to the markets required and experience in dealing with the practical difficulties they might throw up.
For more information on research strategies go to our report on International user research.
Whichever of these options you ultimately plump for, it is important that you define your needs and understand the limitations and likely problems of each path. If you would like an informal discussion on your organisational requirements and options why not ring us on +44(0)800 0246 247, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.