Research is a thing that ought to be done with joy. Ask any PhD student. Joy gives you the strength required for rigour and analysis that comes with research. Now, what can be more joyful than the thought that what you are doing will make someone’s life, even if a smidgen, better.
Why does this seem to be missing in many, many places that profess a UX practice? Why are people afraid of User research? As a freelancer when people approach me with projects like the re-design of a web space or an app, and I start to go, ‘why’ they disappear into the ether.
The best of times I’ve had doing User research has been on my Masters course in Design Innovation and independent research on many different things. One could say we had the luxury of time, (we didn’t) or money, (I paid my way through it). So why do companies abandon this very crucial element. As an independent researcher (I’ll research whether you ask me or not) it really grates when UX practices omit the very thing that puts the U in UX.
What is User Research?
User Research is the proper way of doing research. Why? services, systems, do not have desires, goals or aspirations. Living beings do. People-focused, not product or tech focused, because products and tech do not have desires or goals.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing market research or usability testing, they must have these basic principles. I was prompted to write this post because of the recent conversations I’ve had on twitter. User research should not just be a step, It is should be a constant.
The Importance of User Research
No Research, no UX.
This is from Karl Smith
Paying for UX means paying for research, insights, testing and customer requirements. It’s survival of the fittest, some companies should fail in any case it’s normal. If you pay peanuts… and some client companies think you can get platinum by paying for cement. That’s not what the market is for, it’s to offer wider choice, not cheaper brilliance.
Also read from GDS a team I respect when it comes to UX, it’s User Research, not User testing
User research: a mixture of usability testing and more, generally trying to better understand our end users so we can make better services for them.
The Nielsen Norman Group published this recently, UX without User Research is not UX
User experience cannot exist without users. Creating user interfaces involves intricate and complex decisions. User research is a tool that can help you achieve your goals.
Even the most well thought out designs are assumptions until they are tested by real users. Different types of research can answer different types of questions. Know the tools and apply them accordingly. Leaving the user out is not an option.
They also show you how to choose the right research methods
UX is about people, people!
More, Karl Smith.
The real job of UX, find out about the users.
The real job of ux is to align the business with the users, from the user perspective. Users ask “what’s in it for me”, “what do I personally gain”. This means that user research is required by the clients customers, in order to work out what they want for from the business in order to take up their services or buy their products, how they will want to interact and what they will give the business for a relationship.