The following is a guest post by Niraj Rajput, cofounder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs
User experience research is a method that can be used to gain insights into how people are using your product or service.
There are many different types of UX methods, but they all have one goal in common – to create an optimal user experience.
Some believe that it is more than just practice because it involves specific steps and procedures while others think the exact opposite.
This blog post will help you decide if user experience research is considered scientific or not.
What Is User Experience Research?
Why Is User Experience Research Important?
Is UX Research a Scientific Method or a Practice?
Which Is Better: User Experience Research as a Scientific Method or as a Practice?
What is user experience research?
User experience research is the process of understanding how users interact with a product or service. This can be done through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and user testing.
The objective of user experience research is to collect data that describes how a user interacts with your product or service. In turn, this can help you make more informed decisions about the direction of your design and development process.
UX research helps establish a shared understanding of the problem at hand and guides you in making informed design decisions.
Why is user experience research important?
It provides an opportunity to validate assumptions that have been made about what your users want from your product or service.
UX research helps us understand who our customers are, their wants and needs as well as how they behave when interacting with products or services.
Without this knowledge, it’s impossible to create something that will achieve success within your target audience. This can be done through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and testing prototypes by real users.
User experience research provides invaluable insights into potential issues in current processes, as well as new opportunities for improvement.
By understanding what makes users happy and frustrated while using a given system, companies can improve their products. It is done by eliminating pain points and enhancing desirable behaviors.
This allows them to better align their business goals with the needs of customers/users which increases customer loyalty and revenue generation potentials drastically.
Additionally, UX practitioners have an opportunity to contribute directly towards company objectives through designing successful solutions on time without any scope creep.
User experience research is a practice that can help companies to gain insights about their current users or potential new customers. The insights are gained by studying how they interact with the company’s product.
User Experience Research Methods are also known as UX research, user testing, usability testing, and so on. These methods are used to understand what makes people happy and frustrated while using specific products. This information will be helpful for businesses because it helps in improving their end-products.
To align them with customer needs that brings more revenue generation opportunities, with creating a loyal customer/users base for any business organization.
User experience research is a great way for companies to gain insights into how their customers perceive the different aspects of their business.
To help them achieve long-term success. However, not all user experiences are created equal – what makes one product superior to another?
Factors that can influence customer satisfaction rates
- Speed: How quickly information is processed by users on websites and applications. What results do customers get from using your site or app within desired timeframes? Can they meet their goals faster elsewhere?
- Reliability: Whether customers can rely on your products to be there when needed without malfunctioning unexpectedly. How frequently are systems down for repairs & maintenance in comparison to other similar companies offering similar types of services/products?
- Security: Level of protection against cyber threats that could put business data at risk (i.e., hackers). Do you have measures in place that prevent unauthorized access to your customers’ confidential information?
- Usability: How easy or difficult it is for customers to navigate and interact with your site/app. Is the layout intuitive and logical? Do buttons, links, and text provide enough instruction without being overwhelming? How frequently do users need help from customer service to accomplish their tasks?
- Satisfaction: Whether customers are happy with their overall experience using your product. What aspects of the interaction made them feel good about using what you offer? Which left a bad taste in their mouth?
Now comes the real question which we are going to discuss now.
Is UX research a scientific method or a practice?
To answer this question we need to look at UX research from both aspects.
From the scientific method perspective, user experience research is a practice that seeks to gain knowledge by making observations or conducting experiments.
The goal of UX research will be to answer questions to generate new ones and have more evidence-based decision-making when it comes to design.
It can also help guide product strategy through insights into customer needs, tasks natural user flows (NUX), and task models for specific features.
All this information provides designers with important data which helps them make informed decisions about how they are going to solve problems within their designs.
User research as science involves systematic observation, measurement, and experiment. The scientific method is an empirical process that relies on evidence to support or refute a hypothesis. When conducting user research experiments, we can use the scientific method to test our hypotheses.
The goal of user experience research should always be to generate new knowledge about users to make better design decisions; it’s not simply about confirming what we already know.
We must constantly strive for objectivity and avoid bias in our thinking and actions if we want to produce accurate results. As such, using the scientific method as part of our UX research methodology can help ensure that our findings are reliable and reproducible.
While user experience research shares some similarities with the scientific method, there are key differences too:
User experience research should be rigorous and objective to generate new knowledge. Its goal is to make better design decisions by using iterative methods such as user testing and prototyping.
In contrast, the scientific method consists of well-defined steps that are followed sequentially:
Problem formulation → literature review/preliminary data collection → hypothesis formation → experimental test of the hypotheses (data collection) → analysis and interpretation of results→ conclusion drawing which leads back to another iteration or cycles through this process.
On the other hand from the practice perspective, User experience researchers approach understanding people’s experiences as art. This means that UX research might not always follow clear procedures but instead allow participants freedom when working.
This is because art means that you have special skills and knowledge which can be applied to solve problems. In this sense, many UX researchers follow a principle of ‘pragmatic creativity’ where there isn’t always a right or wrong answer. But instead multiple solutions to the same problem.
From both perspectives, it is clear that User experience research plays a large role. It aids in helping designers understand how people use products and services so that they can create better user experiences.
Although its methods may differ from one researcher or company to another, understanding how people interact with digital products and services helps turn data into insights about users’ needs and behaviors.
Which is better: User experience research as a scientific method or as a practice?
- User experience research as a scientific method: provides the basis for making good design decisions and is very valuable in helping to understand user behavior. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming, so it may not be suitable for all projects. Scientific Method research is very formalized and follows a set process.
- User experience research as a practice: is less formal than using a scientific method, but can still provide valuable insights into user behavior. It is usually cheaper and faster to carry out than using a scientific method, making it more suitable for smaller projects. UX as a practice is more about understanding the people you are designing for, and what makes them happy or satisfied with a product.
So which is better: User experience research as a scientific method or as a practice?
The answer to this question depends on the project at hand and your budget and time constraints.
However, in general, we would recommend using UX research as a practice whenever possible.
It provides valuable insights into user behavior without being too formal or expensive.
In conclusion, both methods have their benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the right one depending on the project at hand.
Whichever method you decide to use, make sure you always aim to create the best possible user experience for your users.
Niraj is co-founder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs, a premiere agile product management software company that brings together roadmapping, team alignment, and customer connection. Niraj is passionate about building scalable infrastructure and systems and he also happens to be a huge fan of Cricket!