User Research User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition


User Research: Concept Definition

User research is conducted so as to understand users’ characteristics, aims, and behaviors towards achieving these aims. Its purpose is to produce designs that improve their working practices and lives. User research also involves the continuous evaluation of the impact of designs on the users, not only during the design and development phase but after long-term use, too.

To conduct user research, a multidisciplinary team may employ both observational and experimental methodologies. Such a team will use these in hopes of forming a complete understanding of the users’ requirements in the context in which they might use a product or service. Most systems have a complexity that increases with the diversity of potential users, aims, and contexts of use. Because of this, a full understanding of design requirements is unlikely to be captured successfully at the initial stages. Thus, the iterative and continuous application of user research methodologies is critical to the success of the development process.

The types of user research that can be carried out include both qualitative (e.g., ethnographic studies, scenarios, personas, focus groups, prototyping) and quantitative methods (e.g., surveys, eye tracking, controlled laboratory or field testing). The chosen tools and methodologies depend on the type of system to be developed, the timeline and budget constraints, and the usage environment. User research aims to apply scientific principles not merely in order to solve design problems. It does so also in order to feed findings back to the various disciplines, so as to inform and shape current theories on underlying principles. Given that the intricacies surrounding the use context and user requirements of a product can remain hidden until far along into development, designers will tend to appreciate the time-saving—and, in some cases, project-saving—value of user research in hindsight.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with User Research. Here’s the full list: