Friday, May 24, 2024

User Research is Critical And Here’s Why.

January 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( There’s nothing more important for any technology company, or any industry in the world, than user research. It determines whether the idea you have is truly valuable and if there is space for it to improve. So, what is UX research, and why should you use it? Most people who think they have a vague idea of what this is  limit it to to usability testing. And while this is a fundamental part of UX research, there is a lot more to it than this. The ultimate goal is to find the pain point – ultimately to create value for people and find where they are experiencing changes and problems. Before you can create value from a product or service, you need to validate your hypothesis. That is find the problems that people face which will allow you to find a solution to it before you go to market and well into the future as you continue to grow.


Once you have identified the type of person you want to sell a service or product to, ask them things that you want to validate. User research is similar to market research, focused around the user experience. This can take the form of a survey, interview, conversation. Essentially speaking with someone who could be your target customer, without leading them on and creating biased research which will be of no value. Because you know your product inside out, it can be easy to miss any potential issues that non-experts might face. User research allows you to step away from your product and see it from an unbiased pair of eyes.

User research 

Conducting interviews and observing your potential customer in the context of using your design is the most common method of user research. This can come at the beginning of a project, but is also relevant as your project progresses as it allows you to continuously validate your idea and ensure the longevity of your project or where it needs to adapt and evolve. Asking people about their overall perception of your design, and involving them in the process, where they feel like they can contribute, is good user research practice.

Unbiased strategies 

Not having biased validation is critical to good user research. Asking a subject  about a problem that they are facing without offering a solution at that time is important and will allow you to get to the bottom of any user issues, in an open and non-biased way. User research is not about problem solving, that is a step that will follow. This is the process of understanding any potential problems and flaws so that you can then move onto the solutions stage. 

There are many ways to undertake user research.  It helps in a face to face situation to have a list of questions and hypotheses that can validate. You need to understand people, and it helps, of course, to be a peoples person or at least someone who is able to understand people. That being said, it is the script and template that will determine how good the user research is. Another form of research, or another form of ‘validation’ is having a ‘test’ service or website that checks whether people are ready to put their money where their mouth is and invest in a product or service.

Customer retention 

The initial part of user research  is a key stage of with which to base your product development on, but this is a continuous process, and will need to continue as you build, develop and continue to update your brand and service.

Perhaps the most important reason to keep UX research going after the initial stages of setting up a product or service,  is because of the problem with retaining customers. The industry term ‘churn’ refers to the people who churn, or leave, a service or product, such as a Netflix account for example. User research is a big part of every good designer and marketers work, and aids with the successful retention of customers and clients. Without UX research, businesses are blind. It is concerning that many businesses start out without any insight that will help them set up and successfully build.

Utilise tools and software

This is an ever changing industry that requires an in-depth knowledge, and a team or range of tools and services that can help you keep up with the latest developments in user research.  There are many tools and services that you can utilise, and user research software that can take care of time-consuming tasks such as building and launching studies quickly. The benefits of using user experience software is that it can be scaled to your needs, allowing you to undertake more research, with more users, across more platforms. Automating your user research will enable you to have a greater understanding of your product and potential customer, with a wider collection of data.  

User research is the crucial step that will allow your business to understand the people who will use your design. This is the building stone for any concept or product, and is a fundamental step that can determine the success of any idea. Many entrepreneurs rush in to build and promote something, without undertaking the necessary user research, and then wonder why they fail. Rushing a product to market without taking time for UX research means skipping an important step that could have lead to a products success. Many failures are avoidable, and it’s better to find out beforehand if  something will do well with the target customer rather than building something that will later need to be altered or even binned. People rush into things with the best of intentions, pouring resources into a product that will ultimately fail due to the lack of relevance of a design in its industry or for its potential customers and users. And it’s not only the customers you have to be concerned about, but investors too. UX research can reassure potential investors that the product or service has the added security of UX designers with robust qualitative and quantitative insights to provide reassurance of success. 

Staff Writer; Mary Jones

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