Contributing Authors - Ross Flom & Letty Huston
Of issues related to UX can be detected by performing a usability test on a group of 5 users.
What Is UX Research?
UX research is a process of studying people, i.e., users, in order to understand their requirements as they engage with various products and applications. UX research can be utilized at any point within the product or application lifecycle. The outcome of UX research is to provide insights and action-oriented information that will be used to make products and applications that people love.
Why You Need UX Research?
You have an idea for an application, product, or website, yet how do you know it will work as intended? How do you know if your user base, or potential user base, will adopt this product or feature? Maybe you have an existing product, website, or application that is ready for a re-boot. What needs to be changed? What could you, or did you, miss in designing and/or developing your product? These are critically important questions that necessitate evidence-based answers. To best answer these questions, you need UX or User Research.
UX vs. Traditional Research
User research, from a process perspective, is quite similar to traditional research. Like traditional research, the UX researcher develops and articulates a precise research question. The researcher makes sure the appropriate participants are identified, recruited, and included within the study. The researcher will ensure that the appropriate methodology is used. For example, various quantitative measures are used to address how or what is happening with the product, whereas qualitative approaches are used to address why something is occurring. In other cases, the researcher will utilize both quantitative and qualitative approaches in a mixed-methods context. Finally, user research, like all other forms of research, provides results, insights, as well as a clear plan and timeline for how to implement the findings into the product and product lifecycle.
In-House or Agency Based?
While you can, and many organizations do conduct UX research in-house, this is a double edge sword. While in-house teams often have increased product knowledge, by their very nature they have inherent and implicit biases towards the product. These often unavoidable biases may affect how the researcher interprets and understands the collected data and ultimately the trajectory of the product or application. To be sure an outside firm or agency may not initially possess the same level of product knowledge as an insider, yet this is actually of benefit to the product and the organization.
Outside firms or agencies are hired to provide answers to questions and to provide action-oriented insights. Outside entities have the advantage of being at arm’s length from both the product and the user thus increasing objectivity. Second, and as noted earlier, because outside researchers do not have the same level of familiarity with the product, they enter with fewer preconceived notions or assumptions concerning the product. In addition, outside researchers are more likely to include seemingly naïve, yet timely follow-up questions that more fully explore and reveal the “whys of something” as they do not know or assume, rather they have the user explain the “whys” concerning the use of your product, application, or website.
On average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return. That’s an ROI of 9,900%. — Forrester (paid report)
Fixing a problem in development costs 10 times as much as fixing it in design, and 100 times as much if you’re trying to fix the problem in a product that’s already been released. — UXPlanet
Only 55% of companies are currently conducting any user experience testing. — Skyhook
By incorporating user research, you eliminate the risk of product failure. In addition, you will derive a deeper understanding of how individuals use your product, those features that are essential (including those that do not have value), and importantly why those elements are, or are not, of value (and what would give it value). Finally, you will be provided with a long-term strategy for the product or application, including its fit within the organization, and deeper knowledge of your customers, clients, and users.
Flom & Lee UX Research Can Help You
We had the pleasure of working with Ross Flom this year on a new logo and website for his UX business. Flom & Lee UX Research is built and run by psychologists trained in qualitative and quantitative research designed to understand human behavior and decision making. They bring decades of research experience in collaboration with your knowledge and vision of your future and together they will create a product people love. Learn more below.
By engaging in user research, they will help you understand the behavior and insights of your customers and clients. Specifically, they identify the needs and pain points necessary for improving users’ experience with your product.
They will help you prioritize all discovered issues, explore solutions, and develop plans for implementation and follow-up. Let them help you discover (and measure) those issues that will have the largest impact.
They will help you understand what currently works, what is creating problems, and where there are opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. Through creating products and applications that engage users, you will see growth in adoptions and retention.
What is engaging today, may meet only the minimal requirements of tomorrow. We must be focused on building products, applications, and features that innovate and solve non-obvious challenges. This is best achieved through iterative research and frequent engagement with the users.
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