in Development

Why UX Research is Important

What does user experience research mean? Well, it’s basically that one thing that is supposed to help you better relate with your clients in your future projects. To put it simply: it is a bridge between users and business people.

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The potential benefits of UX research are numerous. First and foremost, it’s not always simple for a developer to understand that the design and application flow he or she has come up with doesn’t sit right with end users. The reason for this is relatively straight-forward: as a developer you’re so caught up in the logic you’ve created that it becomes increasingly hard to see it from a less technical-savy point of view. For example, I’ve had my nose buried in object-oriented programming for half of my higher education cycle and last week a classmate new to writing code asked me to explain to him the concept of class and object. Now, the problem we had was as follows, first off I couldn’t believe someone was attempting to create an Android application when they didn’t seem to know the first thing about programming. Second, when I started explaining that an object is an instance of a class and the class is something like a template that stores variables and methods that an object then uses them, they gave me kind of a vacant look. The biggest problem was that we weren’t having this discussion starting from a common ground and this is most likely the issue you’re going to have with most of your clients. They want their website to be responsive and load quickly and be as straight-forward and memorable, but they’re most likely lacking the best way to communicate this to you. You, on the other hand, can spat out a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that will supposedly let them know you’re going to supply their every need, but they won’t understand a word of it.

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With a bare minimum of UX research you will be better equipped to answer your user’s needs and provide them with a product that they can understand and use straight off the bat.

Now, if you’re worried that UX research will hamper your development process and that none of your clients will be willing to wait around and/or fund your UX research process, you’re still not seeing things in perspective. UX research isn’t something you do if you have the time, it’s something you need to do in order to have a successful product.

There are two types of UX research: initial and goal-oriented.

Your initial research should serve as a way for you to define the overall goal of your product and setup the main issues you can identify straight off the bat that you aim to solve. This particular type of research is beneficial for both product mangers and for clients, because it helps create a common ground that will be the base from which all subsequent discussions will start.

Goal-oriented user research can appear at any point in your development process, even well beyond it when your application or website has been released. As its name suggests, this type of research is done whenever a problem arises that must be addressed. This is the type of research you should be doing after reviewing heat maps for your website and realizing that your clients aren’t paying attention to the areas you’d like them to navigate to.

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All in all, it is very important to give UX research its due diligence, it is perfectly capable of providing you with short term improvements, as well as offer numerous benefits to your business in the long run.

Anamaria

I read, I write, I sleep.

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