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Becoming the End User - A UXR Best Practice

By Samantha Owyang

Understanding your users is one of the most important aspects of creating a sleek product, intuitive website, or convenient service. Here at CXperts we love the tried-and-true methods of research, data analytics, testing and optimization that help us get there.

One strategy we use in tandem with these methods is what we like to call “becoming the end user.”

Becoming the end user means becoming the product’s user yourself. As professionals in the digital experience space, it is all too easy to only look at problems from one’s own perspective as “the CRO strategist” or “the product designer.” We have found that if we act with the genuine intentions of using the product ourselves, we may notice things that have been overlooked.

For example, if you are working on an e-commerce site, go through the entire shopping and checkout process. Look for a product you actually need or have been wanting. You might find that it’s hard to navigate through categories or that the filters aren’t helping you narrow down your search. Maybe you as an end user wish there was more comprehensive information on returns and exchanges and you can’t find the information easily.

Another easy one is to imagine buying a gift for someone for a friend or family member from the website in question – actually imagine who that person is too – and then go through the steps to get them that gift (up until final purchase of couse). You might be surprised at the friction and frustration you brush up against.

This whole process can help you answer those big research questions from your own perspective as a user:

        • What were you trying to accomplish? 

        • Where did you get stuck or frustrated? 

        • What do you like or dislike, and why? 

This is an especially important skill to utilize on UX audits, assessments, and new projects. When something is more unfamiliar, becoming the end user can put you in a mindset that ultimately helps you build empathy and gain deeper insights. You will probably notice that your professional mindset vs. your personal user mindset draw out separate experiences and findings.

Here are our top two tips for Becoming an End User:

Practice in real life.

We are all users in our everyday lives – Netflix, delivery services, etc. Try to keep notes of the things that you as a consumer (as a user) are experiencing. We have all come across some pretty terrible experiences out there. Write these down and come up with a way that you would fix it. And remember them the next time you are working on your own product or website. Don’t make the same mistakes! This practice of noticing problems and creating solutions to solve them will translate into your work.

Imagine you have the power.

Imagine you have the power to make any changes you want to make. Don’t feel limited by the business goals, development constraints, or product launch timelines you know are there. Remember that ultimately every business exists to address the needs of actual users (a.k.a., customers). Imagine: 1) you are the user, 2) there is a problem 3) you want it fixed – as simple as that! Sometimes these wild, unrestricted suggestions can spark change, conversation, and ideas within a company. How can we fix a problem if the topic is never brought up in the first place?

If you are ever not sure where to start, becoming the end user yourself could be the way to go. For more on adopting a “CX mindset,” drop CXperts a note at to learn more.