User research is a vital part of the design process. It helps to inform your decisions and make sure that you’re designing the best solution to the problem. There are many different ways to do user research, and different points it could be involved in your process so that’s what we discuss in this episode!
There are two main types of user research: researching the problem space before you start designing, and testing with users to research if your solution is the best one for the problem.
Don’t underestimate your gut. You’re still allowed to make your own design decisions. User research should inform those decisions and train your gut, but you don’t have to have a piece of research that says you should do a specific thing in your design. If you feel like it’s the right thing to do; do it! (and then test to make sure your assumption was right)
Asking the right questions can be the hardest part of user research. Before you interview a user make sure you prepare, and ask open questions so that you don’t accidentally lead them to a certain answer. When in doubt, ask ‘why?’.
You should always have a goal for your user research and know what you’re trying to get out of it. Go deep rather than broad and don’t try to test your whole website at once. Instead focus on a particular aspect.
If user research isn’t valued at your company yet, start by running user testing on an existing design. You can use the results to make improvements and it’s a good way to show your company why user research is important to invest in for more parts of the process.
00:00 - Intro and catch up
06:45 - Our experience with user research
15:25 - Where your gut fits in
18:00 - Doing research in the field
20:15 - How to ask the right questions
23:00 - First steps into user research
29:45 - User research in an agency