Effective user interviews are the first step in understanding how your users think and behave. Read these techniques on how to structure insightful interview questions. There are many pitfalls in conducting interviews that can bias your data and steer you down the wrong path! So be aware of leading questions and try to conduct an interview yourself.
Now that you understand more about your user, take a moment to look over their answers. Who is she? What is her problem and how is she currently dealing with it? How frustrating or frequent is this problem for her? Understanding this will help you better integrate your product into their lifestyle and behavior.
Read this article and identify where your product falls in the quadrant when designing for a user's problem. This will help you understand when to optimize your UX or when to be quick and scrappy.
There's no better way to understand a problem than by learning about the existing behavior exhibited. As designers, we're in the business of changing user behavior to achieve a goal.
Read this article on BJ Fogg's Behavior Model and identify the motivation, trigger, and ability your user needs to use your product.
Let's not forget copywriting! Your website's copy is an important form of communication and persuasion for your user. As engineers, it's easy to think in terms of programming jargon and place that on your website. But, your users won't grok this and will probably leave. Remember to think from their perspective.
Read through this crash course on copywriting and write a friendly paragraph that introduces your product and why your user should care.
As you can see, user experience design is constant communication with your users. If you're ever unsure about whether your product, new feature, or line of copy makes sense, you can always do a quick reality check with your users to stay on track.
Watch this informative video from usability guru, Steve Krug, on how to conduct an effective usability test.