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Conducting User Research in the UAE Market

User research is an essential step in the design process that provides an elaborate understanding of the market and its users, and in this regard, it has also helped in creating market research for the UAE product market. 

This market research report has helped us to get acquainted with the users and their needs and struggles, to draw a competitor’s analysis, etc. 

Our motto of ‘everything starts with the user,’ has greatly helped us to deliver a successful user experience.

Let’s see some of the highlights of the user research in the UAE market.

Laying the Groundwork 

The United Arab Emirates is a federation of six Emirates, each preserving its own Emirati culture and lifestyle. As such, UX research cannot be generalized based on traditional Arab and Islamic values. The environment and terrain influence the lifestyle of every Emirate. For instance, life in Dubai is more liberal than in any other Emirate.

Therefore, it is necessary to carry out an advanced market survey. It helps to design consciously without a preconceived knowledge of the local habits and culture and these differences and specifications greatly impact the design. 

So, how did we as an agency get a grasp of the nitty-gritty for usability research?

  • Studying general data about the country is a good point to start with. For instance, you can get a lot of qualitative and statistical data from Embassy websites or other large sources like Statista, etc. This raw data provides crucial inputs not only about the country but also market survey. 
  • Our focus has always been on achieving user centric design. Therefore, the next step in designing Arabic UX was to include the user in the process too. For this, it was necessary to actually go out there and interact with the users, carry out user interviews, and understand their habits, struggles, needs, etc. Being empathetic towards the user and developing an emotional connection is all part of the process to create a successful user-centric design. 

Understanding Arabic User Interfaces 

Launching a new product in an unknown market is a challenge in itself. However, the challenge gets bigger when it comes to designing for Arabic interfaces as designers also need to apply some local usability considerations to the Arabic user interfaces. 

We dealt with the challenge in the following manner:

  • When it came to getting the language right, it is essential to get the right dialect in the translation as every Emirate speaks a different dialect. Secondly, to design Arabic UX for various Emirates, it was important to use “Modern Standard Arabic” (Fusha). Lastly, UX designers should take care of consistency, as Arabic users tend to change Arabic and English interfaces easily. 
  • While designing the layout, designers should also note that Arabic is a wordier language that requires a lot of space. 
  • Taking the example of left-to-right sites, designers should place the most relevant content on the top as Arabic users follow the F-shaped reading pattern. 

Conducting Usability Testing in the UAE

While the guidelines of usability studies are more or less standard for all countries, there were certain specifications that need to be adhered to for Arabic UX, such as;

  • Since the UAE has a diverse population, the participants for the test sampling had to represent the culturally diverse population of the UAE as well as the domestic users. This especially holds true for Dubai.  
  • During testing, it is important to be aware of certain local and cultural etiquettes of the region. Designers should note that some domestic participants may be more rigid and specific about traditional customs and values.  

Eliminating the One Size Fits All Approach

As designers, it is important to be extremely pedantic about primary market research, and secondary market research and the target user group. There is no ‘one size fits all approach’ when it comes to user research. For instance, when it came to doing user experience research in the UAE, relevant and interesting information about user habits began to surface. 

UAE is one of the top countries for internet penetration in the world. Users tend to use social media more than anywhere else in the world and communicate primarily through social media.  Furthermore, they live in close-knit families and prefer familiarity over unfamiliarity and trust governmental, bigger brands. It is, therefore, easier for top UX design agency in Dubai and the best UX agency UAE to enter the market. 

Such details play a substantial role as it helps the designers to understand the user context, conduct multi-dimensional research, build wireframes and prototypes, etc. It is only through such user experience research that a good product can be developed in an unfamiliar market. 

Conclusion

Quality user research contributes to delivering great UX. It is an integral step in the UX design process. While conducting market research in the UAE, it became essential to conduct qualitative and behavioural research to understand user behaviours and opinions.  Questions like, ‘Why do users have a particular attitude towards a product?’ provided clarity on what would users do with the product in question. Research in such areas helped to find out how users navigate through a site. 

In the end, it’s important to remember that it is the user’s needs that matter the most. 

Published by Antara Bhargava

Sr. UX Designer

Antara Bhargava Sr. UX Designer