Research

“User Research helps us understand the user’s goals, behaviors, motivation but also how they feel when using a product. Frustrated users will not use a product again but users that can easily move through the application and not get frustrated will use the product daily and will be more likely to recommend it to others.”

— Chris Mears, UXr

Good & Bad User Research?

The biggest downfall of a company doing User Research is thinking that staff or even the individual designing and building it can test and give good user research feedback. If at any time the user knows the intricacies of the application or products being reviewed it means that the answers will not be 100% genuine and can lead to false positives in your results.

User research needs to be done with the users who will be using the Application on a day to day bases so that any feedback is genuine and will help future users not have the same issues.

Companies are more likely to try and outsource this to freelancers or third-party companies but by doing this they loose the interaction with the user and only gain data points of information. Sometimes the gems of information are not in the questions asked but in the communications had before and after the test has been completed. 

A developer, designer or director realising a user is struggling with their product that they thought was easy to understand puts a new perspective on how they approach new developments and also starts removing the barriers from the “I know better mentality” with future projects.

A 5-Step Process for Conducting User Research

I read this article a while back and it still holds water even after 5 years. In the article David Sherwin explains that there is a 5 step process to conducting good user research.

  1. Objectives These are the questions we are trying to answer. What do we need to know at this point in the design process? What are the knowledge gaps we need to fill?
  2. Hypotheses These are what we believe we already know. What are our team’s assumptions? What do we think we understand about our users, in terms of both their behaviors and our potential solutions to their needs?
  3. Methods These address how we plan to fill the gaps in our knowledge. Based on the time and people available, what methods should we select?
  4. Conduct Gather data through the methods we’ve selected.
  5. Synthesize Answer our research questions, and prove or disprove our hypotheses. Make sense of the data we’ve gathered to discover what opportunities and implications exist for our design efforts.

The first three steps are about forming questions and hypotheses, and the last three steps are about gathering knowledge through selected UX research methods and disproving the hypotheses and gaining an understanding of what users do.

What is the Purpose of User Research in the Design Process

“Good user research is key to designing a great user experience. Designing without good user research is like building a house without solid foundations—your design will soon start to crumble and eventually fall apart.”

Neil Turner – founder of UX for the Masses

User Research helps us understand the user’s goals, behaviors, motivation but also how they feel when using a product. Frustrated users will not use a product again but users that can easily move through the application and not get frustrated will use the product daily and will be more likely to recommend it to others.

What is the Value of User Research to a Business?

It is the ability to reduce uncertainty in terms of what users want and need and will help the product, your business and of course the user themselves.

Making good products with user research built into the design process from the start is key and will eliminate any biased views the team or company has that are creating it. The product will be for the users and made by the users. This will mean the business benefits from the research and also the users benefit from a product that has been catered for them and not dictated to them.