How to conduct user research

In this whitepaper, we want to explain how user research can be a powerful tool for building products that really meet your customers’ needs.

What is user research, exactly?

User research describes the practice of observing and understanding your users’ behaviours, needs, and desires. There is a variety of methodologies and approaches one can use at various stages of the product development process. While we currently most commonly apply research in agile software projects, user research can be applied to almost any product.

Instead of giving you a comprehensive overview of all the options out there, we will rather focus on how to integrate essential user research into your processes. In practice, user research is primarily but not exclusively conducted in the early and late stages of product/feature development. We call these two research phases “discovery research” and “evaluative research”.

Why spend time & money on user research?

Before we go into the different approaches and methodologies of user research, we need to discuss why user research is such a valuable tool in product development. Any successful product has one thing in common, it solves a problem for the user. Google answers your questions and WhatsApp allows you instantly communicate with others for free. Therefore, any product development should be centered around a user problem to solve.

Identifying a user problem to tackle is the first challenge. While it is possible to derive user problems from one’s own experience, the own perspective is bound to be a very narrow view. Everyone’s experiences differ from those of others, in some small or bigger way. In order to fully understand a problem and how it affects the wider population, it is essential to learn about, understand and empathize with the experiences of a range of people.

Once a problem has been identified and a solution proposed, the idea should be validated before being implemented. Just because a solution seems to solve a problem on paper, does not mean it really does for users. Understanding where your solution comes short is critical in order to work towards “Product-Market Fit”.

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How to conduct user research

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