Customer Research

Your constantly-updated definition of Customer Research and collection of videos and articles
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What is Customer Research?

Customer research is conducted so as to identify customer segments, needs, and behaviors. It can be carried out as part of market research, user research, or design research. Even so, it always focuses on researching current or potential customers of a specific brand or product in order to identify unmet customer needs and/or opportunities for business growth.

Customer research can focus on simple demographics of an existing or potential customer group (such as age, gender, and income level). Indeed, these considerations are vital determinants of a product’s target audience. However, such research also often seeks to understand various behaviors and motivators—factors which place a product’s use and potential on a higher level of study. Thus, the goal of such research is to expose clear details about who is—or will be—using a product as well as the reasons behind their doing so and how they go about using it (including the contextual areas of “where” and “when”). Customer research may be conducted via a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, and ethnographic field studies. It also commonly involves doing desk research of online reviews, forums, and social media to explore what customers are saying about a product.

While customer research is usually conducted as part of a design project, it is also often conducted in other departments of an organization. In some cases, customer research is part of marketing—for instance, to ensure that marketing campaigns have the right focus. In other cases, it can be carried out as part of concept development or ideation so as to identify opportunities for future products, services, or features. In any case, such research is an essential ingredient in keeping the end users in clear sight long before the end of any design phase.

Literature on Customer Research

Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Research by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Customer Research

Take a deep dive into Customer Research with our course User Research – Methods and Best Practices .

How do you plan to design a product or service that your users will love, if you don't know what they want in the first place? As a user experience designer, you shouldn't leave it to chance to design something outstanding; you should make the effort to understand your users and build on that knowledge from the outset. User research is the way to do this, and it can therefore be thought of as the largest part of user experience design.

In fact, user research is often the first step of a UX design process—after all, you cannot begin to design a product or service without first understanding what your users want! As you gain the skills required, and learn about the best practices in user research, you’ll get first-hand knowledge of your users and be able to design the optimal product—one that’s truly relevant for your users and, subsequently, outperforms your competitors’.

This course will give you insights into the most essential qualitative research methods around and will teach you how to put them into practice in your design work. You’ll also have the opportunity to embark on three practical projects where you can apply what you’ve learned to carry out user research in the real world. You’ll learn details about how to plan user research projects and fit them into your own work processes in a way that maximizes the impact your research can have on your designs. On top of that, you’ll gain practice with different methods that will help you analyze the results of your research and communicate your findings to your clients and stakeholders—workshops, user journeys and personas, just to name a few!

By the end of the course, you’ll have not only a Course Certificate but also three case studies to add to your portfolio. And remember, a portfolio with engaging case studies is invaluable if you are looking to break into a career in UX design or user research!

We believe you should learn from the best, so we’ve gathered a team of experts to help teach this course alongside our own course instructors. That means you’ll meet a new instructor in each of the lessons on research methods who is an expert in their field—we hope you enjoy what they have in store for you!

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Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF. (2016, June 4). What is Customer Research?. Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF.

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