UX research is an important investment throughout any design process. It encompasses gathering and analyzing data in a way to improve usability, using a set of research techniques (interviews, usability tests, card sorting).
The goal of UX research is to aid in the process of understanding our users. By interacting with our end users, we get a better sense of the impact of our design on potential users, leaving aside our own perspectives, assumptions and expectations.
Research can come into the design process early on, to gather information about the context and space in which the future design will reside. This phase gives a foundational understanding of user behavior and needs which can include interviews with customers. It can help us gain a sense of the representative user. It can take users through real tasks on your design to identify frustrations.
Early and Often
A common adage is to “test early and often” in the context of UX research. Put simply, it means starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) design, validating it with users, and using gathered data to inform future designs changes.
Overall, UX research is important because it clarifies high level questions for stakeholders involved. It focuses on real needs, defines the features needed to address those needs, and prioritizes what changes should be made.
Stay tuned for more in our whistle-stop series on UX Design! Up next we’ll be looking at design fundamentals, before we move on to problem solving and testing.