Agile · Design · Effectiveness · Innovation · Leadership · Product management · Prototypes

User Research for Everyone

Earlier this week a group of people from my company attended a virtual conference on user research for everyone; the focus of the seven sessions was about the value of conducting consistent research on how people in your target market are using your product (or your competitors’ products) so that you can enhance what you offer.  If you follow me on Twitter (@asbiv) you may have seen me tweeting throughout the day with the hashtag #urfe; if you’re interested you can find my tweets and those of many of the other conference listeners with that hashtag.

As with most conferences that bring in multiple speakers, the quality was not uniform.  However, each of the presentations had something useful to offer and some of them provided especially helpful insights for the team I serve.  Below are some of the key things I took away.

Assumptions (about what people want, what they will pay for, or how they use your product) are inherently risky; user research bridges the gap between your assumptions and the real world.

People want an outcome, not a product.

To help you answer key questions think about the type of research that you will use along two axes: empirical v analytical and periodic v continuous.

Where you are in the design cycle influences the types of users who want to recruit for your product research.

Bad things happen when there is a gap between research and design.

Always make sure your research leads to action.

Again, feel free to check my Twitter feed for more of my thoughts and to dig into the other comments using the conference hashtag to see what other people appreciated. In the quest for designing, developing and delivering great products consistent user research plays a vital role. Yogi Berra was right that you can observe a lot just by watching, though in truth it’s not that simple.


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