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Why is User Research Important?

By July 17, 2016October 31st, 2016User Experience (UX)


“Why is user experience research important?” says the client. Well… dear client if we are building a product that only you and your closest friends and family will be using, I’ll be more than happy to build whatever it is you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking to scale your product to a wider audience such as the general public, it is very important that we conduct some user research prior, during, and even after the prototype is finally built, then released. Users will give us insight that we may have missed in our initial ideation phase or if the majority of the users use the product in a different direction than originally intended, then we would have to consider pivoting in a whole new direction. More often than you may think this happens and it happens to some really famous and visible brands such as Twitter, Slack, etc.

“I’m still not sure if we should spend the time and money on user experience research.” says the client. Ahhh, I got it. Let me speak your language, if you do proper user experience research upfront it will: SAVE YOU MONEY, GENERATE YOU MORE REVENUE, AND GIVE YOU A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE!!! Oh, I got your attention now? Nice. When you do the research at the start of the project you will gain qualitative and quantitative data that will help you define who your users are, what their needs are, what their wants are, we’ll be able to validate assumptions, put off that “really cool” new feature that you think is a must have, when it’s something users may not even use or worse find it distracting and avoid your product all together.

Until you do the research you will never know for sure if you’re going in the right direction and even if you get it right or if you’re a behavioral psychologist practicing in user experience for 20 years – you still need to validate your hypothesis. Below are 7 best practices to keep in mind when doing user experience research:

Seven Interview Best Practices

  1. Set proper expectations
  2. Shut up and listen
  3. Minimize biased questions
  4. Be friendly
  5. Turn off your assumptions
  6. Avoid generalizations
  7. Don’t forget the non-verbal cues