While the term ‘user experience’ or ‘UX’ has received a lot of attention over the years, many are still not aware that user or UX research is one of the most essential components of designing a successful service. Companies cannot create a great user experience without understanding target users, their needs, aspirations and ways of thinking. We therefore use UX research – the systematic investigation of users and their requirements – in order to add context and insight into the process of designing the user experience.
Fundamentally, UX research helps to:
- develop and design the right things: the key value of UX research is to prevent wasting time and money on developing the wrong solutions.
- develop and design things right: it defines guidelines to make the right UX decisions.
What is the benefit of UX research?
A 2016 design study of 408 different companies found that the more a company invested in and focused on research with users, the more sales they saw, the higher their customer retention and customer engagement was, and the faster they moved through their product cycles. All this simply because they kept users at the very core of their process. As the mighty Google states: “Focus on the user and all else will follow”.
Just some of the benefits:
- Increase in conversion rates, user engagement and profit: A Forrester Research study in 2016 found, a better UX design could yield conversion rates of up to 400%.
- Customer loyalty and reputation: Companies tend to focus a lot on attracting new customers and while important, existing customers are 60-70% more likely to spend on your product/service
- Increased user productivity (making it easy to complete tasks): this leads to higher satisfaction and therefore, increased trust, better brand reputation and more word-of-mouth referrals
- More efficient/less costly development process: Roger Pressman’s business justification for UX: “For every dollar spent to resolve a problem during product design, $10 would be spent on the same problem during development, and multiply to $100 or more if the problem had to be solved after the product’s release.” This is to say that every dollar invested in UX returns $10 to $100.
- Reduction in user support requirements: Good UX helps reduce support cost per user by decreasing phone calls, chat time, email, etc
- Wider benefits to your organisation: think about tailoring sales and marketing efforts around what we learn from users
What do you risk if you skip UX research?
Businesses know the price of wrong decisions: monitory, time and brand reputation loss and sometimes even entire business loss.
Skipping user research will often result in poor business decisions that are driven by anything but objective user feedback such as:
- Using technology for the sake of it: just because the technology is available, doesn’t mean it needs to be used
- Obsession with design trends: Designers often get caught up in the latest design trends (burger menus, carousels) and feel that if they don’t follow, then they are not keeping up with the times. It is much more important that people can use your website efficiently than having an images-dominated website or blindly following a minimalist design trend.
- Emotional attachment: Designers and product owners often allow emotional involvement to cloud their ability to see where improvements can be made
- Personal opinions: many leaders make decisions based on deeply held opinions and let ego take over understanding user needs
The bottom line, good UX research = good design = good user experience = good business. If you would like to talk more about the benefits of UX research or how you can integrate this within your design project, we’d love to chat.