UX Newsletter: Do your research
They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.
Jeff Goldblum is the voice of reason in Jurassic Park when scientists succeed in breeding dinosaurs. In this famous line he intimates, they easily could have prevented risking human extinction if only they had stopped to ask a few questions before extracting that mosquito DNA.
The best way to succeed in building digital products? Don’t build what’s not needed – instead prioritize users and their needs inside the design process. It’s not as easy as it sounds. How can you start work on a feature without knowing what the customer needs are? The first big hurdle: we have to stop listening to that inner voice that says it knows what the customer wants. We have to push our cognitive bias aside and acknowledge when we don’t know what the user would do. To put it simply, we have to be open to new ideas and new ways of looking at ideas.
We can’t build for what we don’t know. An integral part of the user experience for any product or feature is to understand what works now, what could be improved, what should be removed? We identify those key issues and gaps through user research and we validate optional solutions through testing. We’ll dive more deeply into testing in the next newsletter, but for today I wanted us to focus on the first practice: research.
The following articles walk us through the importance of user research, common misconceptions around the process, goal oriented experimentation, and best practices for gaining excellent qualitative results.
The truth and lies we tell ourselves
What stops teams from user research and testing? A lack of experience? Money? There are so many ways we can sit the customer’s voice front and center in our product’s future improvement. In Busting UX Research Myths, Linn Vizard walks us through a few lies we like to tell ourselves and a lays out a solid heaping of facts to wake us up to the value of research.
You can, but should you?
Shopify’s Dylan Blanchard explains how innovation for the sake of innovation is a detractor from the customer experience in You Can’t Research Without Context. Improvements and recommendations can only come from a contextually appropriate setup within a site or app. “As researchers, we can fall into the trap of making misguided recommendations by not understanding the larger context around our observations, or by not understanding the wider business objectives.”
It’s not me, it’s you
Empathy is at the core of a user experience role. It’s not enough to assume you know how a customer feels, like an actor you have to assume the role of the customer and be able to see through their eyes. In the article, “Empathy in user research: setting aside your own point of view“, Rob Strati will show you how to make the conscious decision to remove your own personal bias and begin a clean slate approach to solving problems.
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