Powerful research tools for improving the usability of web sites and apps.
We dare to compare a quality UX researcher to Legolas - a mythical being that is hard to find, but if you do, your life changes forever - and we are not being dramatic here 😎
In this article, we will discuss reasons why it is worth searching for them and hiring UX professionals.
Why is it crucial to hire a UX researcher?
To be clear, a UX researcher does not have to be fluent in Sketch, InVision, Axure, Figma, or Photoshop. Don’t ask them to remove your second and third chin or make a wedding website for your sister-in-law. A UX researcher is a professional who is studying the behavior of users and their interaction with the design in general.
A researcher comes to the process before the product is even designed. Is there a need for a certain product? If yes, what are the exact features that are needed? are there products that are already solving the problem, or is there a way how to improve them? This does not mean that you have to fire a UX researcher when coding the product. Engage a researcher in the whole process and observe the magic. Data from research can navigate toward better decisions regarding the marketing or business models of the product.
UX researchers are studying the behavior of users and the way they deal and interact with the product. Empathy and open-minded thinking are the key features of any UX researcher. In general, they are good psychologists who you can even invite for a coffee after work to talk about your relationship problems.
Okay, so the UX researcher is not designing anything, but how is he studying human behavior? Is it like House M.D., Sherlock, or The Mentalist? UX Researcher is conducting quantitative or qualitative research. It may sound interesting and fancy, but research takes time before and after the actual research. Planning, creating hypotheses, writing perfect tasks, and searching for participants are time-consuming. UX researchers are also spending a lot of time with users themselves. They are either interviewing them, taking notes, or analyzing their behavior. This is the reason why UX researchers are often good psychologists and go-to people in case of any problem.
UX researchers can rely on many tools that are making their work easier. With industry tools like UXtweak, all researchers can test the usability of the website and record sessions with respondents. All the interactions will be recorded together with the design, including every scroll and click. Researchers can review the behavior of respondents and analyze data after collecting all this information from testing.
Completely another story would be data analysis. UX researchers are also spending a lot of time analyzing data and evaluating results. Researchers are translating the data to all members of the team who will decide what is the future of the product and approach it the best way. UX researchers are working with data-based decisions, not intuitive ones that can be biased.
1. Deciding the Direction for Your Project
UX researchers are not good but great with data. The goal of findings from the analysis is to recognize the limitations of the current design, its weak spots, and possibilities for improvement. UX professionals can identify what users want, desire, need and long for. What could be actually better than that? It even makes a magic ball look like an amateur. UX researchers are helping you not only to not losing track of what is important but also what is not worth your time.
2. Saving Your Money
Do you remember the saying: I can’t afford to buy cheap? This is something similar. Many companies can’t afford bad decisions because, in the end, those will cost them more. You really don’t need to spend money on cool features and widgets that are actually not needed among your customers. Your customer does not need such filters.
Understanding your users is the key to any success for your company. Of course, It can’t happen without a UX researcher, but it will definitely cost you more than hiring a professional who knows what they are doing!
3. Saving Your Time
The equation is simple: more dead ends cost more time. One famous Greek philosopher once said: Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This is the reason why many companies fail even though their ideas are great. They are spending money and time on things that their users don’t need and don’t want. How can you prevent that? Rely on science and conduct usability testing. Believe us; this will be a lifesaver or, should we say, a time saver?
UX researchers need time to conduct high-quality research. On the other hand, their time is leading to important findings that can influence the whole product. And here comes the question: Are you familiar with usability testing?
4. More Efficient Communication Within the Team
It happens quite often that professionals within the team are struggling with aspects of communication. They are looking at the product from their perspective without considering other opinions and points of view. UX researchers can separate unnecessary stuff and biased opinions from reality and concentrate on the actual data.
The communication will flow smoother because of the clear instructions and directions from UX researchers, who definitely know what they are talking about. And of course - cutting the unnecessary bulls*** that only confuses people.
UX researchers are able to help many people in different departments. For example, they can help coders to find bugs or any technical errors without knowing any programming language. They can help designers provide their clear vision of design and also marketers with an understanding of users’ behavior. Product managers can cooperate with UX designers to create effective business strategies and decisions. UX researchers are people who bring value to the whole team.
5. Growth for the Business
By understanding human behavior and the ways users interact with the design, the business itself can benefit. Your company will be competitive, innovative, and unique. Finding UX researchers can give you insight and show opportunities for growth. Having a UX professional in your team can be the most important feature that takes you one step further from the other companies in the field and guarantees you a lead.
Good to know: Evey user appreciates when a company expresses the importance of them for the company life. Making their client’s life easier is one of the top priorities of many businesses out there. Publishing discoveries, writing case studies, letting the users participate in the internal usability research - is a great tool on how to make a client feel important and his opinion valued.
Your candidate UX researcher should have sufficient experience in understanding the methodology of research. They should know how to conduct research, how to find participants, and analyze data. The person should have good communication skills to bring people from the team together. It is important that the person can present the result and report the findings in a clear way. It will be great to look for a critical thinker who is open-minded toward trying unconventional methods and innovative approaches.
Sometimes it might be tempting, especially when a tight budget is pressuring us to search for a multi-talent person who does not only have UX skills but also is a programmer, designer, and maybe works well with office flowers? It could be great, but everything comes with a price. Therefore we highly recommend concentrating on a person who is great in his field ( UX professional) primarily.
Without a UX researcher, you could be developing a product that no one wants or needs. Even if it is interesting to users at the beginning, you will soon lose their interest because it does not reflect their needs, intentions, and expectations. The question that you should ask is not: do you have a budget for a UX researcher but do you have a budget for not having a UX researcher?
Reduce bull***t. Cut what is unnecessary. Work with data. Understand the needs of your users. Good UX researchers can prevent you from making wrong decisions.