Now, the question is: how can UX researchers ensure that we listen to users at an emotional level? To answer this question, it is worth asking a few questions of ourselves and trying to find answers within us rather than going outward to seek these answers. These questions include the following:
- Are we quiet enough within ourselves to hear users clearly?
- Does peace of mind have any connection to the quality of UX research?
- Do we know enough about our own thought processes and biases before coming to conclusions regarding key findings and actionable insights?
Calming our inner noise and overcoming our biases could help us to hear users clearly and, thus, to conduct more effective UX research. The whole story behind creating valuable user experiences is how well UX researchers can empathize with users.
On the other hand, a few of my colleagues think that having a team of expert UX researchers review study findings and derive insights can help them understand users and possibly remove biases from their research. But each individual’s life perspectives and experiences are different—even though we must work on common problem hypotheses. Let’s think critically about this and ask ourselves a few questions:
- Can we manage the biases of each individual teammate during our peer-review calls?
- Should we keep reevaluating our findings and insights over and over again until we are sure that our studies are completely free of bias?
- Can we tailor our findings and insights to validate our problem hypotheses?
- Can we reach mutual agreements, compromises, and consensus between research teams on users’ painpoints, needs, and expectations?
Obviously not, so we need to think of reliable solutions that we would never regret later on when launching our product in the marketplace.
There are better ways to hear users’ voices clearly and curb our biases. But this starts at the individual level rather than at the team level. (UX research reviews are different from peer design reviews.) At the team level, biases could multiply many times over to complex levels, with the consequence that we replace our initial research goals with personal research goals. By the time we finally got feedback on the user experience, it might be too late to invest in revamping the product user experience. The only outcome would be a long list of Jira epics (#UX/UI), tagged with countless user stories.