Questioning User Research (was Eyetrackingarticle on UXMatters)
12 Jul 2006 - 12:06pm
10 years ago
One of the biggest issues I notice in the application and understanding of user research is the confusion on its quantitative and qualitative usage. There is a persistent perception among designers that they need to produce "numbers for the marketing guys." User research as part of design research tends to be qualitative. It uses methods of observation, immersion, scenarios, and engages participants in activities like card-sorting. User research allows the design team to learn more and more about the logic users apply in accomplishing a task but also about the circumstances they are facing, the problems they experience and the opportunities for alternative approaches to a task. When user research is reduced to producing quantifiable questionnaire responses, it is not very helpful. I have seen too many user research efforts targeting a quantifiable outcome instead of really inquiring into how people think, act and work. By doing so, they are limiting their findings from the b!
eginning, channeling their inquiry rather than opening it. It turns out that the persuasive power of user comments and actions, especially when observed first hand by people in an organization can be a strong ally to the designer. This is not to say that there is no room or need for quantification. To each its time and place.
> > I tend to agree w/ Chris. I'm very suspicious to most user research, > especially quantitative stuff. I'm just to empathetic to get into numbers. > But quantitative is not the only type of user research and something I > read today from Mark Hurst was nice to get a chance to read. It is in this > week's "episode" of Good Experience: >http://goodexperience.com/blog/index.php. > > The blog is a preview to a case study that Mark did for del.icio.us and > the user research he did for them as part of their design work. Iike the > wholistic approach and importance of user research. > > The case study is at: http://creativegood.com/casestudies/delicious.html > > - dave