User research is the foundation upon which a user experience succeeds or fails. With various different testing methods, user research primarily falls under two types: quantitative or qualitative. Both of which offer insights into the human experience and aim to answer the why behind certain decisions regarding design, usability, and functionality preferences. Such insights impact deciding factors in the design process leading to the cultivation of an exceptional user experience and product. Research outputs [built] around a core insight or truth compel design teams to empathize with users, and thus, to design truly meaningful products and services, emphasizes Lindsay Ellerby for UX Matters. Simply stated, if you don’t start with user research, you won’t have a successful user experience. Here’s what user research does to create a delightful user experience.

User Research Clearly Defines the User

Numerous companies make the mistake of assuming they know their consumers and what they want. While it’s true that organizations have a basic understanding of who their users are, many neglect to realize that this information is just that, basic. And it probably won’t translate well into a user-specific platform or product. At Cake & Arrow, a recent client came to us wanting to expand its reach within the market. As an insurance provider, they required a system that was both easy to understand and easy to use. Through user research, we uncovered significant data that provided us with a clear path to a one-of-a-kind experience for our client’s consumers. Such research revealed that 80% of people didn’t believe and/or trust the insurance quotes they received online. To change this, we created a solid step-by-step process that worked with online users rather than for them. Established as a mobile first experience, this direct to consumer process forever changed the way consumers used our client’s services. Without user-research to back our design and development decisions, the outcome would’ve lacked the unique insights to create a pleasing experience for our clients and their users.

User Research Shows That You’re Invested in the User

Put yourself in the mindset that you’re there to learn about that person within their framework, says Steve Portigal, author of Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights for UX Magazine. User research shows the user that you’re dedicated to knowing them not just as a customer but also as a human being. You’ll not only be gathering data to inform your decisions, but it also signals to users that you’re invested in their satisfaction. In doing so, users begin to recognize, acknowledge and value a product led by user research.

User Research Achieves Goals (For You and the User)

“When user-centered practices are executed, designers and researchers can find the design ‘sweet spot’ where business needs and user needs overlap,” says Hoa Loranger for the Neilsen Norman Group. User research is not a stand alone function, it works as a bridge to connect and mend all functions of the user experience; thus resulting in that sweet spot Loranger mentions. The product of user research is information. Information with which you can address problem areas efficiently and uncover the solutions to daunting business problems that once seemed unattainable.

User research aligns the desired outcome with a means of achieving. Whether it be a website, product, or design, the importance of user research is heightened in its ability to define the user, trust the user, and achieve goals for the client and the consumer. In doing this, user research creates exceptional experiences.