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The “science” of user research

For the past few years we have been trying to convince clients the “user testing” isn’t all its cracked up to be. Christopher Fahey has a great 5 part series called “User Research Smoke and Mirrors” pts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

We often mention to clients that we see user research being used inside organizations as a political tool. A way to get things moved forward “the research told us” is easier to sell than “this is the right thing to do”.

We often hear clients talk about the “lab” where they are ushered into a sitting room with one way glass. The theater of it is very impressive. But it’s like going to the zoo to study gorillas.

I don’t deny that things like persona rooms and labs have a significant impact on clients because they look so “scientific”.

We have had great success with clients claiming the emporer has no clothes on this subject. We believe in research and science as long as it’s valid. There is a time and a place for it.

But most clients should save their money and trust the firms they hire to guide them through a design process.

Jon Lax More posts by Jon Lax