Modern tendencies in digital product development dictate that a user-centric approach is vital to standing out in the current market. Nowadays, people are ready to buy and invest in applications that are functional and tailored to their needs. The statistics show that 70% of customers will likely abandon the purchase if they face poor user experience (UX). That is why creating a well-thought-out UX part of the design is so important.
Before designers get into drawing prototypes of the design, they need to know who their audience is, what they want, and what pains they face. A UX researcher is the one who gathers and analyzes this information. Let’s discover what value hiring this specialist can bring.
UX Research in the UX Design Process
The process of UX design creation encompasses multiple stages. It all starts with the question: “Who is my user?”. This sounds too simple, but a minority of businesses indeed dedicate resources to learning more about their audience. This procedure doesn’t relate to anticipating what the ideal customers will want. It is about digging deep into the motives and wants of the audience and confirming them with real data and analysis.
Who Is a UX Researcher?
The first impression of the UX researcher’s job might be associated with some theoretical scope of work. However, a specialist in this qualification relies on strong professional skills in learning the end-user side of the product with qualitative and quantitative means. In other words, this is a person who advises designers on how to shape the design so that it solves users’ pains.
By conducting investigations, UX researchers discover what users need and expect from the product. They communicate those findings to the rest of the team, helping to build the design that suits customers’ requirements.
UX Researcher Roles & Responsibilities
The role of a UX researcher is to gather meaningful insights from data gathered from users and communicate them through the UI/UX designers’ team. Researchers typically perform these tasks:
Plan the research and recruitment. At this stage, UX researchers craft a research plan and set deliverables, choose the research method, conduct usability testing, and recruit end-users for research.
Collect data. This responsibility relates to creating user surveys, conducting user interviews, and making usability sessions. User experience researchers use surveys, forms, focus groups, observation, social media monitoring, card sorting, and other techniques to receive the needed information.
Analyze gathered data. To turn a huge amount of data into meaningful insights, UX researchers analyze users’ responses. They create recommendations based on discovered insights on how to build the design process.
Present the findings. Stakeholders, designers, marketers, and other team members need to understand what the research shows. That is why UX researchers create presentations like user personas or user journey maps to demonstrate their discoveries.
Plan a strategy. Researchers work closely with designers to align users’ needs with the product. They participate in strategy creation for design development.
UX Researcher Skills
The skills of a UX researcher go far beyond orientation in the design process. These professionals have the following qualifications.
Deep Knowledge of Human Behavior
For a UX researcher, understanding end users is the key responsibility. They have to be experts in such fields as psychology, sociology, anthropology, or other related fields.
The main soft skill these professionals have is empathy. Being able to understand customers’ needs and finding solutions to satisfy them are the primary goals of every UX researcher.
Surely, a researcher in the design sphere has to be skilled in design. This is not enough just to find out what people need. Those findings have to be linked with design solutions.
The main challenge among UX researcher tasks is transforming data into insights. That is why the specialist has to be prone to analytical thinking. Extracting only the necessary data and transforming it into demonstrative forms for other team members are the qualities of a good UX researcher.
Collaboration and Communication
UX researchers interact with cross-functional structures in the company: stakeholders, marketers, designers, and others. Depending on how clearly and effectively UX researchers communicate between departments, the whole process might go slower or faster.
Difference Between UX Designer and UX Researcher
In some, mainly startup companies, a UX researcher and designer are the same specialist. But even though their final goal is to provide user-centric design solutions, the difference is in their responsibilities and approach to work.
A UX researcher focuses on conducting qualitative and quantitative research to learn about the market and the target audience. Their main question is “why.” Why do users choose to follow this logic? Why do they stop at certain points? Do they find the product easy to use, and why? A UX researcher doesn’t create a design. This specialist crafts user personas, user flows, and information architecture and conducts usability testing.
A UX designer receives the information from research and turns it into design solutions. They don’t look at users’ motivation and behavior but create user-friendly designs. These specialists focus on the practical part and turn ideas into reality through prototypes, wireframes, and mockups. However, cooperation between UX designers and UX researchers is crucial, as being able to look at the design from different sides — the users and the developers — can help develop a product considering business and users’ needs.
When Are UX Researcher Services Necessary?
If you doubt the decision to hire a specialist for UX research, you have to analyze if you find yourself in the following situations:
You have little knowledge of your customers and don’t have a vision for your future product.
You don’t have a clear business strategy or don’t know which areas to focus on to make a profit.
Your product is planned for a diverse target audience, and crafting an image of an ideal customer is difficult.
You have a team of beginning designers who must be guided in creating user-centered design.
In such cases, hiring a UX researcher to clear up all the doubts regarding the product and set a vision for its future is better.
When Not to Hire a UX Researcher?
A UX researcher’s services might not be required when:
Your budget is low. If you experience budget constraints, the UX researcher’s part of the work can be done by experienced UX designers.
You have direct access to your customers. Being able to interact with customers can substitute for the UX researcher’s customer interviews, which you will be conducting yourself.
How Our Agency Can Help Your Business in UX Research
If you are determined to create a product whose design will be comfortable and easy to use, our agency will help you achieve this goal. As UX research is vital in the design development process, our UX researchers and designers can complete it. With years of experience in creating seamless and easy-to-navigate designs, our specialists can conduct market and user research so that you deliver a product that meets customers’ expectations.
The main purpose of a digital product is to be a quick and efficient instrument in the hands of users. However, predicting what real customers need is not enough. A data-driven approach is needed since design decisions influence product success and demand. For this purpose, UX research will help you.
Conducting UX research is the first thing to do before starting the design development process for businesses that aim to stand out in the market, bring value to clients, and get maximum profit. Understanding what customers need and expect will help create user-tailored design solutions.
A UX researcher is a specialist who investigates the motivations of users. These professionals gather qualitative and quantitative data from customers regarding what they want to see in the digital product, giving them a chance to test it. Based on that information, UX researchers craft recommendations for better-fitting design solutions.
What skills does the UX researcher have?
To become a UX researcher, a person must be qualified in human behavior sciences like psychology, behavioral economics, sociology, and anthropology. On top of this knowledge, the specialists need to have such soft skills as empathy, clear communication, and collaboration.
Are UX designers' and UX researchers’ roles different?
Yes. Even though they both work for one purpose: to provide users with appropriate design solutions, their tasks differ. A UX researcher focuses on the users’ preferences, motives, and needs. Based on that information, a UX designer creates specific flows and aesthetic pictures.
Do I need to hire a UX researcher?
There are cases when the company should hire a UX researcher. It is when there is no clear business strategy, vision of the final product, or clear understanding of the end users’ behaviors. However, if you have experienced UX designers on your team, they can manage UX research without additional help and reduce your costs for hiring another specialist.
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