User Research
Book

User Research

A Practical Guide to Designing Better Products and Services

Kogan Page, 2018

Rating

8

Qualities

  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

User research helps those who want to understand how to prioritize issues, how users feel about your offerings and how those offerings integrate into users’ lives. Stephanie Marsh, a UK research professional, pulls together all aspects of user research. She provides links, tools and templates to use in research and in evaluating methods for selecting participants and presenting results. Her exhaustive recipes for user research preparation, methodology and presentation yield a feast of information. University students, newcomers to the field and managers seeking a handy reference work will find her rich overview invaluable. 

Summary

The more clear your reasons are for doing user research, the more effective it will be.

Market research is designed to learn about consumers’ desires. User research concentrates on users’ actions, the reasons behind those actions and their requirements within a specific situation. You can leverage user research in every project, and ignoring it can risk a loss of time and money. If you’re working in an agile or iterative development environment, conduct user research repeatedly so you can fix problems before the next iteration.

Clearly identify the goals and framework of the research to help everyone involved avoid increasing the scope of the work – also known as “feature creep.” Framing the problem will help you understand the issue in its totality. To ensure strong results, don’t ask too many questions at once. Don’t combine different research goals on the same project. Also be certain that the timing of your research will provide the greatest impact for your project. Leave sufficient time to analyze and present your findings.

Enlisting the right type...

About the Author

Stephanie Marsh is a lead user researcher for the UK Government Digital Service and former head of digital strategy for the UK Ministry of Defense. She has consulted for the BBC, Arsenal, easyJet, Boden and Oxfam.


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