When I began my career as a UX designer, many product developers shared the aspiration of building great products with numerous features. While building great products is a worthy goal, teams often paid little attention to users’ real needs when deciding what features to build, which is a great shame. App development is not just about creating a product but about solving a problem for users. As an essential part of human-centered design, user research helps us to crystallize users’ problems and create solutions that directly address them.
As a design lead, I make user research an integral part of my team’s design process. We use various approaches to interacting with users to help us tailor the end product to the audience’s needs. In this article, I’ll share some of my experiences conducting different types of user research, focusing mainly on in-depth user interviews, usability testing, and surveys, but we’ve used all of the approaches that Figure 1 depicts. You’ll learn how to use each of these types of user research and discover useful methods of collecting and analyzing users’ thoughts. Read More
It’s hard to believe that I first started in the field of User Experience 25 years ago. In 1998, I began the Master’s degree program in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at DePaul University. Since then, I’ve worked for four different companies—as both a generalist UX designer/researcher and as a UX research specialist.
In this column, I’ll look back at the changes I’ve observed in UX research over the last 25 years. My goal is not to provide a definitive history of UX research during that period—just to note the changes that I’ve noticed and share my perspectives on them.
UX Education Expanded
The number of UX-related degrees and nondegree certificate programs has grown over the last 25 years. When I started in the HCI program at DePaul University, it was one of a much smaller number of schools with programs in HCI or similar degrees. I don’t think any of these programs used the term User Experience back then. Now, there are many more colleges all over the world with UX courses and degrees. In addition to degree programs, there are many UX design and research certificate programs and bootcamps, too. Read More
Starting a new user-research project can sometimes be intimidating—especially if you are a junior UX researcher. When I worked on my first UX research project, I battled impostor syndrome along with the anxiety of being a newcomer at my company. My intent for this article is to help other UX researchers—especially those who are early in their career—plan and conduct an effective UX research kick-off meeting—the first step in the research process.
What Is a UX Research Kick-off Meeting?
A research kick-off is a meeting that you should conduct prior to launching a UX research project. It involves all of your key stakeholders who can help you determine the scope of and plan your research project. Read More