User Research - Adapt to Reality



Jay Anthony

29 May 2020 8 min read

User Research - Adapt to Reality

Many brands claim to have user-friendly products and services, but, why is it that what brands term to be easy for users is in reality not really easy to use for many users? Why is it that what brands perceive to be easy for users isn’t really easy to use for users? Why is there a gap and disconnection between a brands idea of “simple” or “easy to use” and why is it that this is very often not aligned to that of the user's reality of the product or service?

Very often poor usability of the product or service is the answer. But what we don’t pay much heed to is poorly conducted user researches which give designers insight into what users really expect. If brands only did the right user testing would they be successful in bridging the gap between what they feel is easy to use and what users really feel is easy to use?

Brands are always seeking ways to keep a check on their customer needs and feedback, very often we see our inbox flooded with spam emails requesting us to undertake various surveys and rate their service or product. This is a great way to get direct answers and feedback from the users themselves, but the number of people that actually reply to such emails is substantial. The numbers are very few as compared to what they should be. Also, it has been noticed that the replies that come in are not genuine and many times people just end up having fun through these surveys and end up providing false information to pass their time.

So, how do we get accurate and genuine feedback from the users of our products and services?

Adopting User Research as a part of your business model is a very efficient way to get a thorough understanding of user behaviour and perception.

Primarily, many people completely rely on user research or user testing to create designs, this is again not the right thing to do as market study, brand guidelines etc. should also be given equal, if not more importance while creating designs for a particular product or service.

What is User Research?

“User Research” also known as “Design Research”, covers a wide range of methods to get an in-depth understanding of user behaviour and their personal perception about a particular product or service. This could mean conducting ethnographic interviews with your target audience or conducting classical usability testing with users directly. User Research provides complete insights into what the user feels about a brand and what they expect from it.

User Research can be conducted to evaluate your design solution or to inspire your design process and is also widely used to measure the impact your product or service has on the target audience. A thorough analysis of user behaviour compiled in an insightful report with genuine feedback and suggestion is apt for businesses to enhance their designs and meet user standard.

User Research is divided into Qualitative and Quantitative methods:

Qualitative and Quantitative methods

  • Qualitative research methods are more exploratory as compared to the quantitative research methods and it helps in getting a complete insight about the overall experience your audience has with the service or product you offer. You may not need many participants for this, a good recruitment process to have only genuine users is advised for the success of this method.
  • Quantitative research on the other hand focuses on measuring user behaviour and feedback in a way that can be quantified in numbers and can be used for statistical analysis for the betterment of a product or service.

Each method has its own set of drawbacks and perks and each method can also be used based on specific goals and agendas. The method you select depends upon the goal you wish to achieve, the time and money you are ready to invest in it, the outcome you are looking forward to, so on and so forth.

Here are 6 reasons you should adopt User Research

  • 1. To create designs that are easy to use for your target audience
  • 2. To know what perception your users have about your product or service
  • 3. To help you enhance your product or service based on user feedback
  • 4. To create designs that are relevant and easily accepted by the users
  • 5. To cope with changing market trends and meet user standards
  • 6. To increase customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and boost the overall ROI

If you wish to gain maximum insight which is accurate too, you should conduct well-structured user research with the latest tools and technology at the initial stages of your design process and you should also continue to conduct this user researches throughout the designing process at regular intervals to keep making the required amendments and upgrades in your design.

Since user research helps you get feedback and suggestions directly from the users of your product or service, it makes your audience believe that you as a brand truly want to hear what they have to say about the brand, giving them a voice to layout their expectation from the brand. This creates a sense of brand loyalty in users which is very beneficial for any organization.

Steps to conduct a successful User Research

Steps to conduct a successful User Research

  • The objective of the User Research
    We should first define our goal and set it clearly for the participants recruited for the user research. This ensures that both you and the participants are on the same page and have the same end goal to work towards.
  • Methods adopted for the User Research
    There are plenty of methods and tools in the market that can help you systematically plan your user research process, but it is very important that you pick the right one based on your requirement and based on the outcome you are looking for.
  • Conducting the User Research
    It is very important for moderators to ensure that they have the right set up for conducting user researches. The right environment, the right timing to conduct user research, the right set of questions that need to be asked so on and so forth.
  • Evaluating the outcome from the User Research
    Synthesizing and channelizing all the information received from the users in a correct manner is of utmost importance to gain insights that are beneficial for the organization.

Data acquired from good user research helps in understanding “Why” a user does something, “When” they undertake which action and very importantly, “Why” they do something related to the product or service you are trying to analyze. Good user research helps us understand what users really want and expect from your product or service to enable you to effectively respond in a way that meets their expectation by creating design solutions inspired by their input.

We frequently create designs for people who aren’t like us, so conducting good user research helps us avoid our own bias outlook towards certain design solutions we feel are right but maybe suitable or appropriate for our target audience.

In conclusion

One should understand that User Research is not typically about card sorting, paper prototyping, contextual interviews etc. These are only a few methods that have been thought to be effective when conducting a good user research session. These help moderators and researchers find answers to complex and critical areas. The insights from these researches fuel design processes to make a better and more accepting design that meet user needs and expectations. Creating rich and good user experiences for users has always and always been of benefit to any brand or organization.

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Concluding message

A well-designed website for users with disabilities is a site that is more accessible to use for all types of users.

A well-designed digital business can easily explain the process of online buying and selling for users with disabilities and can add more value to the business.

Therefore, add some mint into the users’ cup of tea and provide an accessible zest to your digital assets by making it more compliant.

Feel free to get in touch with TECHVED Consulting!

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Jay Anthony

Marketing Head | TECHVED Consulting India Pvt. Ltd.

He led efforts to develop a fully integrated marketing communications plan and growing team. He is responsible for successful corporate re-brand and update of all branded assets.

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