Understanding user research
We all know that User Research is the foundation of making designs. If businesses want to break the ice with their users and make an impact on them, they have to thoroughly understand what their users want. Once businesses identify the pain-points and problems users have with their design or digital asset it is easier for them to rectify the problems and provide users with a satisfactory experience. Brands cannot solely rely on their opinion and perspective on their own product or service. They need to dig deeper and get a better understanding of what their target audience wants and deliver accordingly. The best results come with collaboration. Yes, User Research is a collaboration between the brand and their end-users. User Researches are conducted keeping in mind the requirements of the user and how brands can re-evaluate their product or service to meet the standards of their users. Incorporating user feedback in design processes along with adhering to business guidelines definitely helps create great solutions which are beneficial for both the brand and their users.
When User Research is ultimately broken down to its most important aspects and steps, people understand the true value it adds to businesses. Interviewing participants, asking them to perform particular tasks, making a note of their reaction and observing their behaviour while they interact with the product or service is all a part of User Research. As easy as it sounds, it is very complex and is of much importance for businesses who truly want to understand their target audience and provide them with the best user experience ever.
In recent times it is noticed that more and more people are becoming aware about the concept of User Research. People have started to understand the value it adds to businesses. Professionals are understanding the benefits of conducting a User Research. Brands have started considering User Research as an integral part of their business model and have well-planned strategies and techniques to conduct successful User Researches. With the growing awareness about User Research, there are also a lot of misconceptions about the same circulating in the market. In this article let’s have a look at a few common myths and misconceptions people have about the concept of User Research.
What is User Research?
User Research encompasses various kinds of research techniques and methodologies to gather as much as relevant and valuable feedback and suggestions from the users to enhance a particular product or service. This is typically done at the start of a project. To maintain consistency and ensure that every minute detail, feedback or response of the user is captured and looked into, this research can also be conducted at multiple stages during the design process. This depends on how deep a brand wants to go to get a thorough understanding of its users. User research helps in understanding user behaviour and perception about a certain product or service. Once brands have the data about what their users feel it becomes easier for them to create solutions that not only meet but also exceed the user expectations.
Basically, User Research marks the difference between designs made merely on guesswork and assumptions and creating something that is actually useful and usable for the users.
Myths about user research
Common Myths about User Research
It has been noticed that with the growing popularity of User Research among business professionals, many myths and misconceptions are emerging. These misconceptions often create tension and in some way hold back business to fully explore this concept and make the most of it. Let's have a look at a few myths which are really just “Myths”.
1. User Research is optional. It is not a necessity.
This is one of the most common myths that business believe. User Research is definitely not optional. Businesses must take this seriously and accommodate User Research as a part of their design process to get the best results possible. If businesses aim to make a product or service that their target audience actually needs and likes they are sure to make profits. This is only possible if they know what their audience wants in the first place. User Research helps in determining user needs and feedback which can in return help businesses make products and services that are useful for the users and appreciated by them.
2. User Research is expensive.
It would be wrong if we think that conducting a good User Research session is cheap and easily affordable. However, it is important to understand that almost every business activity that requires reaching out to people and creating brand awareness is a cost to the company. Businesses have a planned annual budget for marketing and sales activities and strategies. If businesses really want to grow and make good profits, they must accommodate User Research in their design process and businesses agendas. Like every other design stage, User Research could also be looked at as an essential part of the design process.
3. User Research increases project time.
In this fast-paced world where time is very valuable for businesses, User Research is often thought to be very time-consuming. This is pure myth. With the availability of Remote Usability Testing, User Research has become very quick and viable for all businesses. People can be in different cities, states and even countries and still connect with each other and conduct successful User Research sessions which are of great value. Also, if User Research is incorporated in business plans from the very beginning and the required timeline is allocated for this segment, there is no way deadlines can be hampered because of this one aspect.
4. User Research tells businesses how they can design their product or service.
It is very important for businesses to understand that User Research does not define design guidelines. User Research just informs the business about what the users feel, how they perceive a product or service to be, how usable a product or service is, what is their opinion and feedback about the product or service so on and so forth. This means that a User Research report presents a consolidated data about everything the user has to say about a particular product or service but in no way state that by conducting user research the design guidelines and specifications must be hampered.
5. If the stakeholders of the business like the product/service, the users will too.
Again, this is a very common myth that most professionals believe in. But, this is far from reality. People are different, their needs and requirements are different too. The way they look at a product or service may differ from what the business feels about their product/service. So it is very risky to move in a direction keeping in mind the outlook of just a few people who hold importance in the creation of a particular product or service. It is very important to get a second opinion from someone who has not been a part of creating the product or service but in some way engages with the product or service.
It is very important to connect with users before, during and after a product or service is made. After understanding the myths mentioned above it is evident that different products/services vary from each other and require a different kind of treatment too. Believing something without actually understanding it and getting to the core of it is baseless and can cause harm to businesses in the long run. It is important to observe everything around but absorb only what is truly important. A product or service should solve user problems, not create new ones and a good User Research is a great solution.