Why Ignoring User Experience Research is a Mistake

The Consequences of Insufficient UX Research

Increasing the learning curve for users

Ignoring the user experience research means you’re making no effort to truly understand your users or even the scope of work. Without proper UX research, it’s difficult to familiarize yourself with what your target audience struggles with. You’re more likely to end up increasing the learning curve for your users and driving them away.

Losing key insights from early adopters

A lack of UX design research can impair the ability to find early adopters. Early adopters are a vital part of the project as they can lend a lot of critical insights about the usability of a feature and provide you with an accurate picture of the pain points — and gain points — of your target customer.

Difficulty in identifying opportunity

Another element most clients/stakeholders don’t take into consideration when allocating time and resources to UX research is that of opportunity. Identifying and evaluating your competitors helps UX teams understand what already exists in the market and where there is space for improvement and innovation. Without such competitor insights, you could risk losing out on opportunities to enhance your business strategy and have an edge in the market.

The Value of Investing in the UX Research Process

The UX research process can include both quantitative and qualitative UX research methods that can take up several forms, like:

  • Card sorting,
  • Focus groups,
  • Interviews,
  • Competitive analysis, etc.

Risk Control With Limited Resources For UX Research

All too often, UX research gets sacrificed due to time or budget.

Using available data

Take whatever data you do have available. Analyze what you have and make your best guesses.

Post-launch plan to track metrics

If you can’t validate your hypotheses now, build a post-launch plan so you can test and track metrics.

Creating proto-personas

Build proto-personas based on your best guesses to get a shared understanding of what you do know about your users. It will help identify critical tasks and create a focused project scope.

Mini-interviews with small groups

Conduct mini-interviews on the down low, if possible. This is an informal method to test ideas and could be done within 10 minutes among a small group of users (around 10 people).

Educating Clients and Stakeholders on the Value of UX Research

For many organizations, there might be a lot of difficulty in trying to change or update their process. At the same time, there might be others who believe they’re already operating well. Some might even prefer sticking to the practices they’re accustomed to, relying on analytics tools to retrieve data.

Takeaway

It’s essential to convey to stakeholders how assumptions about the users are causing more harm than good to their overall UX design process. The current bias found in most organizations needs to be put aside: business goals are NOT the same as user goals, and managers, project owners, and designers are NOT the end users. The end users are the people outside of your organization who will use the product — your actual customers.

FAQs

What is the role of a UX researcher?

A UX researcher’s role is to study and find key insights about target users, like user behaviours, wants and needs, challenges, and motivations. Using both quantitative and qualitative UX research methods, a UX researcher will thoroughly research what users expect from products, services, applications, and websites and convey these insights to UX designers so they can design experiences that are more user-friendly.

Why is UX research important?

UX research is an integral part of the UX design process as it helps give a direction to your strategy as well as better define the goal(s) of a project that is more aligned with the users’ wants and expectations. UX design research is a way to ensure that your designs aren’t just based on your assumptions about what the user wants but accurate insights about what the users’ actual problems and goals are.

What does the UX research process include?

The UX research process includes both quantitative and qualitative UX methods and various UX research tools to study the users and be able to extract the required insights about their behaviours, wants, needs, challenges, and expectations.

What is the value of UX research?

The value of UX research to the overall UX design process is most significant when it comes to addressing vital questions about the project, like what the goals are, what is the true challenge for users that we are trying to solve, and what users expect from the solution, etc. User experience research helps UX teams design solutions that are well-aligned with the actual situation of the end user rather than simply relying on assumptions about the users.

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