Changing role of user research in the UX design process?
16 Feb 2013 - 4:06am
12 weeks ago
During the Interactions 13 conference in Toronto, Paul Adams of Facebook advocated a radically different development cycle than the "ideal" user-centered one (qualitative user research first, then modelling and concept development, followed by prototyping, testing, and iteration). Instead he proposed a much faster cycle, which discards the initial user research entirely: first quick hypothesis development (based on data mining, heuristic knowledge and culling from existing behavioral research), followed by immediate prototyping, development and implementation, and then a series of fast iterations through A/B testing.
We heard similar comments from other companies and consultants - particularly in Silicon Valley - where people tell us that conventional user research is too slow and too expensive now that they have all these data that they can unleash algorithms on.
We want to open this observation to the community and discuss with you if you have heard or experienced similar assessments on the role of UX research, and in what fields in particular. Is a new trend emerging (or an old one resurging)? Are some of us changing our UX research offering in response to that? Or is it a false problem, based on unrealistic expectations on what data mining and algorithms can achieve? In any case, how do you then react to your clients (or management) asserting this new way of working?