First Designer In:
Misconceptions About UX Research
Research = talking to users
❌ Nope. You don’t have to talk to users to have done your research.
A research project’s goal is to validate a hypothesis. Sometimes you can do that with existing knowledge. Talking to users isn't always required.
Research = usability testing
❌ Nope. Usability testing is one of many types of research.
Others include: discovery research, internal validation, user data analysis, audits of existing knowledge, and more.
Research = takes too long
❌ Nope. It can be as fast or slow as it needs to be.
A full-on user study can take a while, but it’s not always required. A hypothesis can often be validated through other means.
Research is a Project
A research project is an umbrella term for any number of activities which are all performed to validate a single hypothesis. Only some of these are user studies which require talking to users. In other words, a project encompasses all forms of data gathering, various types of validation, and all user studies.
Example Valid Research Project
Users are dropping out of cart checkout
Unknown. Pricing? A technical issue?
Identify the cause of drop-off
Collect usage analytics
Review support tickets about issues with checkout
Ask sales about any pricing conversations or other grievances
Identify any patterns, and form a hypothesis about the cause
Checkout completion dropped after we made an update to the backend which slowed the page load by a lot. Support heard lots of complaints about this, and the analytics support the claim. Sales didn’t have any concerns about pricing, so it’s unlikely that’s a compounding factor.