The two questions we answer with UX research

Who are our users and what are they trying to do? (through field visit)

During field research, we try to observe how people are currently solving their problems. You observe user behaviors, needs, goals, and pain points, typically in their home/ where the action happens.

You conduct a field study to know how the users are dealing with their problem that your solution will be tackling BEFORE you build it.

  1. What problems do users face?
  2. What needs do they have?
  3. What are their skills and motivations?

An interview = Visit to the zoo Field research = Going on safari

You don’t just listen to what users say they do, you see what they do while they do it.

Without field research, you’re designing in the dark. With field research, it’s like someone has turned on the room lights.

Field research helps you validate the problem hypothesis — Is the problem you’re trying to solve for users a problem? + How serious of a problem it is?

You may have discovered an itch, but a field visit will show you if your customers are happy with their current way of scratching.

Can people use the thing we’ve designed to solve their problems? (through usability test)

A usability test focuses on how people do specific steps and the problems they experience while doing them.

It’s inward-looking — You give your users a prototype and a series of steps & actions to take and see if they can complete those tasks.

If a field visit is like turning on the lights, then usability tests are like looking under the microscope.

Usability tests help you validate the solution hypotheses – Does your proposed solution work?

Should you Run a Field Visit or Usability Test?

Field visits and usability tests are complementary research techniques so you need to do both. A field visit tells you if you’re designing the right thing. A usability test tells you if you’ve designed the thing right.

Is there a user problem to be solved? (If unsure, carry out field research).

Have we solved it? (If unsure, carry out usability testing.)

Make time for discovery & validation in your development cycle.

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