Where no data are available, running a survey on the website is a good way to have information directly from the user.
That's a quick win that could save a product (and their Designers).
In my current project, the challenge was to understand the huge and fragmented audience of a portal dedicate to an entire continent: Africa!
With such an ambitious objective our concern was immediately to the data we can use and how to interpret them.
We work closely with the Analytics department, to highlight patterns and significant behaviours.
That was extremely useful, but wasn't enough, because the data collected weren't so punctual to identify a clear approach for us.
Also, how to interpret the data?
Africa was a new territory to all of us in terms of design. We ve just designed for Europeans so far!
The illumination here was using an online survey tool, in particular the famous service Usabilla.
That ticked a lot of boxes and it was fitting the budget for the project.
I was the first time I've ever used so I was quite excited about that!
Results were very excited and we can finally sketches few Personas from them.
Here my comments on Usabilla:
It's quick and not expensive. The interface is also clean and even the stakeholders can look at the dashboard.
It's not intrusive, the users like it and it's fun. Sometimes there are emoticons to express a general feeling (and they are always filled!).
We had some problem with the arabic version of the survey (even they were newbie to this audience!), and generally speaking the results were not so exciting.
From what I know, here wasn't any grouping of the questions and any help to discover patterns, so basically we had to do it manually!
It required a lot of work to analyse the data. They are not very "actionable" basically.
In conclusion, I really enjoying the experience with this tool, collaborating with their team and discover a new and powerful way to listen to the user's voice. That's always a win!
But I would look around to see other service with different data visualisation.