Most businesses know they should invest in research in order to gain deeper insights about their users. However, many do not know what kind of research will aid them in creating more powerful products and services. Businesses often make the mistake of relying too heavily on data and analytics as well as their own opinions and experiences. They break the cardinal rule of user-centric design: you are not your user.
This is a concept worth repeating. While it may be a simple one, it can prove to be quite difficult to hold oneself to when designing an experience. The majority of people falsely assume that others will make decisions just as they do when approaching a given situation. This is called the false-consensus effect, and it’s the reason user experience research is essential to every design.
Many businesses start with information about their users from data and analytics obtained through broad market research. This provides quantifiable insight into generalized user segments and their digital, media and product consumption behaviors. While data is helpful, data alone does not tell the full story of a customer’s journey.
Generalized information can be misleading to someone who does not understand the difference between market and UX research. While the data and analytics of market research provide valuable information about the user audience, these big numbers can often outweigh the more specific qualitative insights found in UX research.
In real-life situations where a tight budget or short timeline may weigh on decisions, a business may choose to forego a closer look at their customers’ decision-making process and instead use data extrapolated from existing consumer research. By basing designs purely on data, good ideas can quickly become bad experiences.