2023 is a great time to invest in UX research

March 13, 2023

In 2022, technology and software sectors took a thrashing in the stock market, with many companies declining in both revenue and headcount. Although it is unclear what 2023 has in store for technology and software, one of the ways companies can come out ahead is by using this time of uncertainty to find clarity about their product, market, competitors, and users. UX research and the product decisions derived from that research provide some of the highest ROI in technology according to Forrester. We’ve outlined the key risks of ignoring user research and included best practices for UX research that can help your product team.

What are the risks of skipping UX Research? 

  • Building a product that doesn't meet the needs or expectations of the users. Oftentimes teams across engineering, product and design may think they know the users' pains, frustrations, and perspectives, but they are not the user. A biased perspective from those too close to building the product can lead to costly errors. 

  • Creating a product that is difficult or frustrating to use. When done correctly and consistently, user research and testing helps identify key usability issues and pain points. 

  • Losing users or customers due to a poor user experience. The cost of switching software products these days is nomina. Users will turn to a competitor's product if  your product is too complicated or frustrating to use.

  • Wasting time and resources building a product that does not solve the intended problem. UX research can help validate product assumptions, ensuring that they are building a  relevant product. 

  • Missing opportunities to differentiate your product from competitors. Competitive research can help you create superior products that users will find more valuable than your competitors' products.

Key components of UX Research:
Here are some of the key activities to begin integrating into your team's user  research practice.

  • Surveys
  • Surveys are a quick and efficient way to gain a pulse on user sentiment. It is easy to make assumptions for users, and continual surveys help eliminate internal bias from design decisions. They can be used for idea generation or concept validation.

  • User Interviews
  • Interviews help us understand user frustrations, desires, and usage patterns. Our team conducts interviews early in the process to inform product design direction. Investing in interviews ensures that users' needs are incorporated into product design roadmaps. Out of interviews comes synthesized persona profiles that are integrated into our design process. 

  • Personas
  • Archetypical user profiles created using information collected from surveys and user interviews. Personas are used to align team goals around the core needs of a user group and outlines what each type of user’s pain points, motivations, and behavioral patterns are. 

  • Usability Testing
  • Usability testing is observational research performed by our team directly with users in order to validate or discover areas for improvement in the designs. Users are given instructions to complete tasks within the digital product and the user’s path is recorded. Common themes are analyzed to simplify task completion within the digital experience. 

  • Competitive Research
  • The competitive landscape holds critical information about the alternative digital experiences users may be considering. It is important to know how competitors have invested into the user experience and how it is perceived by users. 

  • UX Audit
  • A quick way to assess your current experience, our team of UX experts will perform a comprehensive audit of your user experience and create a scorecard which outlines areas for improvement and new opportunities. 

  • User Flows
  • Visualizing and laying out each interaction, page, click, and step in a low fidelity diagram allows us to visualize the flow and gain feedback.

  • Journey Mapping
  • Journey mapping not only outlines the steps a user takes as they experience the product, but also considers the user’s feelings, frustrations, and delight at each touch point. It can also display how the user’s relationship with the product can change over time.

We strongly believe user research should be seen as an investment for 2023 rather than a line item to cut. We suggest teams of all design maturity levels dive deeper into UX research this year to better understand their users and to get ahead of the competition. Should you need help, our team is here to assist with your UX research needs.