Both qualitative and quantitative methods of user research play important roles in product development. Data from quantitative research—such as market size, demographics, and user preferences—provides important information for business decisions. Qualitative research provides valuable data for use in the design of a product—including data about user needs, behavior patterns, and use cases. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses, and each can benefit from our combining them with one another. This month, we’ll take a look at these two approaches to user research and discuss how and when to apply them. Read More
Focus groups have gotten a bad rap over the years as UX research has shifted away from this very traditional method of market research. But focus groups can be quite useful for UX research if we approach them properly. This month, we’ll talk about ways you can get the most out of focus groups and apply the method properly to avoid the pitfalls that many people commonly encounter. Read More
One of the most important aspects of product development is the process of predicting the behavior of a product’s intended users. I’ve participated in ideation sessions with companies where designers, user researchers, and engineers were making major assumptions about what users would and wouldn’t be willing to do with their product, without performing any research. Of course, assumptions are important and useful. However, if not managed properly, they can definitely lead a project down the wrong path.
There are many examples of products that have challenged established industry assumptions—finally, overcoming them through their own success. Assumptions like these: People wouldn’t want to own a personal computer. People wouldn’t pay more for a high-capacity electronic music player. People wouldn’t feel comfortable purchasing electronic media without getting a physical product. One by one, these assumptions have fallen by the wayside as innovators have moved forward and created products that redefined their markets.
When dealing with assumptions, the most important thing is to recognize that you’re making them and need to understand their potential consequences. Once you recognize you’re making an assumption, it’s important to determine whether it’s a safe assumption or a risky one. Then you can evaluate each assumption and determine its viability. Read More