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Leo Poll
Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

UX Researchers are worth their weight in gold!

Does your company have an experience researcher? The answer is probably no but if you had one then she or he would be worth their weight in gold.

Employing a good experience researcher will have massive effect on your future revenues. Your sales team will take the credit but their success heavily depends on the work of, quite often, a single person. Unfortunately UX research is plagued by three stubborn misconceptions:

‘Users and customers do not know what they want’

Experience research is often mistaken for asking users and customers what they want. ‘Ask 100 users what they want and you will get 100 opinions’ is what I frequently hear. That is probably right but that is why a good experience researcher never asks people what they want. Instead, he or she will focus on what customers and users need for an experience to be useful (makes people buy) and usable (makes people come back for more).

‘Research costs a lot of time and money which we cannot afford’

Yes, it does cost time and money and your development will start a little bit later. However, if you develop your experience against a set of requirements you know are valid, or in other words ‘real’ rather than ‘made-up’, then you are spending your development budget on the right thing from day one. The alternative is to develop something and then see whether your customers and users like it. That is a risky approach and changes to an experience, once developed, are expensive and time consuming. Doing UX research first means spending a bit upfront and saving a lot later.

‘Our sales team knows what customers and users want’

They do not. They probably have a feel for what makes people buy but selling a feature list only goes so far. It is also not the same as knowing what people actually need when going through an experience, especially if the users is not the customer. And when was the last time your sales team did an objective evaluation of what customers really need?

A good experience researcher will uncover the requirements for the whole experience journey and will uncover ‘who‘ is doing ‘what‘, ‘where‘, ‘when‘, ‘why‘ and ‘how‘ before, during and after use of a product or service. Combine that with the other skill of a UX researcher;  iteratively testing a product/service under development, to check whether the design is aligned to the discovered the real needs. Both skills help businesses create a remarkable experience that meets real needs within the shortest time possible whilst also maximising your revenues.

Remember, useful products and services make people buy, usable products/services make people buy again. Experience research optimizes both!

Leo Poll
Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

Since 1996, Leo has been helping organizations provide an intentional customer experience while matching technical innovations to market needs. He uses the Akendi blog to share his thoughts about the challenges of addressing business problems from an end-user perspective and finding solutions that work for real people.

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