“I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
The above quote by the eminent theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, is the essence of what user research is and demonstrates its significance in any business model. To put it simply, user research is the activity of understanding the user’s behavioral patterns and needs to formulate the quintessential product or service. This research involves the employment of qualitative and quantitative measures to assess the impact of a probable solution on the general audience. Conducting thorough user research not only helps you to understand the users’ requirements but also helps a business to develop apt solutions and design the product accordingly to provide a great user experience.
Quality user research is not just about collecting and laying out random data, but about analysing and composing it to design a product which fills the gap in the market. It also helps developers to avoid their own biases and create products that genuinely fulfil the needs of the masses. Without sufficient understanding of the market, it is impossible to tell the difference between a product that merely looks good and one that genuinely fulfills the needs of users.
Make user research the first step of your project
It is crucial to understand a product and gain insights before designing it. While thorough research is integral throughout the development of a product or a service, it is essential to make it the first step of your journey. This not only helps you to understand the needs of the market better, but also helps developers to make logical decisions pertaining to the development process. Making UX research the primary process also helps you to design a better product without the need of retrospecting multiple times, hence preventing the need to look back multiple times along the way to fix hitches.
Establish a solid plan to go ahead
To create the ideal product, it is important to structure a solid plan to define the development flow of the product. In-depth user research helps you to understand the product extensively, which in turn helps the team to identify the scope of the project in order to plan the project better. Defining a clear end-goal is integral to any project is of utmost importance as it helps developers to work out effective risk-free sprints with practical deadlines. During this process, it is cardinal to ask questions specific to the product and come up with definitive answers to establish a clear plan. The more comprehensive the strategy of the project is, the more productive will the development plan be!
Conduct effective user research practices for your project
Once you formulate an effective development plan for your project, the next step is to conduct extensive research and pick out the best user research methods which will help you arrive with the most fruitful results. It is important to conduct both quantitative and qualitative analysis to determine the marketability of the product. Qualitative research helps you understand the behavioral patterns of the audience while ascertaining the quantitative aspects helps you come up with valid statistical data which you can use to leverage your product. The most important facet of conducting meticulous user research is determining the context of use of such data and how it applies to the product.
Communication is key
While all of the points discussed above are of extreme importance when it comes to conducting user research to understand a product, none of it will be worthwhile without effective communication along the way. It is important to record the data derived from the user research and converse convincingly with all stakeholders and team members involved in the execution of the project. Documentation of data is of foremost importance as it helps you to scrutinise and go through the data at any point. Make sure that you have necessary facts and figures to support your findings and have meetups with everyone onboard on a regular basis. It is crucial to ensure that everyone involved is not only on the same page, but that they thoroughly understand and believe in the development process and the idea behind it.
Make UX research an ongoing process
The market is dynamic with users’ tastes being everchanging and it is crucial to understand this fact when developing any product. While we have already examined why it is important to conduct user research as the preliminary process of the development plan, it is equally significant to make sure that this is a recurring process in order to cater to the varying needs to ensure that your ideas are not outdated. In the digital age where technology is evolving at a rapid pace, it is integral to keep up and adopt the latest trends which will have a direct impact on the marketability of the product; this can be achieved through continual user research
The customer is king and it is important to design any product keeping in mind their various needs. Meticulous user research not only helps you develop the perfect product but it also ensures a great user experience. As Frank Chimero has famously said,”People ignore design that ignores people”, it is necessary to keep in mind that only thorough user research can help you build up an ideal and successful product that caters to the consumers’ requirements