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Why UX designers should also do UX research: Part 2

Maarten Hoogvliet
Maarten Hoogvliet
Apple products

It is common in large organizations and governments to have a separate UX research department, with UX researchers and (top if any) a UX lab. Often the UX designers make requests for qualitative or quantitative UX research, which the UX researchers prepare, schedule, execute and report. In other words, the disciplines are strictly separate.

I am writing this piece to argue that UX designers should also possess UX research skills and actively use them, as this has many advantages.

Debate & Con's

You often hear that UX designers shouldn't do UX research and vice versa. What you then hear is that doing research is something fundamentally different from designing. And that the creative of UX design competes with the analytical of UX research. Also, UX designers wouldn't be able to judge their own work because they created it themselves and therefore it's not objective.

In 7 arguments, I want to highlight another side: that of the UX designer as UX researcher. In many environments, you benefit tremendously from this. And if the UX designer has the skills to do solid UX research, he/she is worth twice as much. Why?

Argument 3: Flexibility in smaller environments.

In smaller organizations/teams, e.g. startups or teams with relatively low budgets, there is often far too little research done. While it is essential for the success of new products/propositions that you do exactly the right things for your end user. As a UX designer, you can only do your job well in such an environment if you bring research skills. And not only that, you have to be able to identify the moment when research is needed. In a smaller environment, the functioning of individuals is crucial to success. In such an environment, UX research skills are priceless.

Argument 4: Produce evidence

As a UX designer, you are responsible for the success of the interface solution you design. Naturally, then, you want to provide evidence for the chosen direction. And how can you substantiate your solution other than through results from research? This means that if, as a UX designer, you need to convince your stakeholder(s), you really can't do this without presenting research results. Otherwise, the discussion will remain subjective. And good UX design is never subjective, never about taste or opinion, but about facts. So you have to be able to gather the right facts as a UX designer, to base your work on, to convince your stakeholder(s) and in this way always build on successes. In this, it works incredibly effectively if you can operate independently.

Argument 5: Control over reporting

UX researchers actually always create the report of a study they have conducted. Logical. The UX designer is then presented with the report of the research of his/her work. While the approach of this report is crucial for making the next step. The report is also sent or presented to stakeholders, e.g. a Product Owner, manager or owner. And as a UX designer, you often want to adjust the perception of the research as well and correctly as possible. That means you want to highlight certain things from the research strongly and/or formulate them in the right way. After all, the report is the carrier of the, for UX so important, evidence and supporter of the follow-up direction. And this often listens very closely. That's why it works incredibly well if, as a UX designer, you can take control of the reporting and the way it is reported. Yes, you can do this together with UX research and of course it has to remain objective, but as a UX designer you are more connected to the design being tested and know the nuances much better. Also, as a UX designer, you know what you want to achieve with the stakeholders and you can make stronger use of the reporting that way. So: take control of the research then you get control of the reporting.

More soon
Thanks for reading so far! I have more arguments ready to go that I will discuss further in blog 3. I will put these online in the coming weeks!

Would you like to read blog 1 as well? Click here

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