Most Common Excuses For Not Doing User Research

Posted 5 months ago by Fabricio Teixeira

“Sorry we didn’t have enough time to do user research in this project… you know, we have all been super busy. We should definitely consider doing that in the next round. No, no… we definitely understand the importance of bringing users into the process, it’s just that our deadline was coming up fairly quickly. Next time for sure.”

We have all been there.

There is always a great excuse.

Here’s how to push back when you hear someone in your team trying to move user research to “a further date”.

“We already know our users”

User research is not only about understanding your users, but understanding how they think, act, and feel when it comes to engaging with the product or service you are offering. Companies have plenty of demographic data about their audience (age, gender, location), but user research can actually give you qualitative, behavioral insights about what your users do or how they use your product. In all these years working in UX, there has never been a single time when I did user research and learned nothing new. You simply cannot “know your users too much”.

“We don’t have a usability lab”

Well, sorry to be the one to break the news: but you don’t need one. First, there are tons of user research methods other than usability testing —user interviews, surveys, card sorts, A/B tests, scenarios, diary studies, intercepts, shadowing — so stop thinking about “usability testing” as soon as you hear “user research”. Second, even if you are doing usability testing, you don’t need to gather your participants in the same physical space. Remote user testing is becoming increasingly accessible, and so are the tools and software you will need to be able to run them.

“We don’t know how to run a statistical analysis of the results”

Unless you are talking about a really robust quantitative study, you don’t need to be a genius in mathematics to be able to analyze the results. Most user research methods are actually focused on gathering qualitative learnings about your users. You are looking for insights, not statistics.

“It’s hard to recruit users from this particular audience”

Well, it shouldn’t be. If your company is already providing products and services for that audience, chances are you can get access to those users by simply asking your existing customer service team. Also, people love to participate in research — and actually feel flattered to have you consider their needs. Even busy people are willing to participate. All you have to do is be creative on how to approach them.

“We don’t have the time or budget”

Start small. Even an informal study with 1 or 2 people is better than not doing any research. It won’t take as long as you think. Targeted studies can actually be extremely helpful to get more in-depth about certain topic, as opposed to running the same tests over and over. By proving the value and the return over investment of a smaller study, it’s easier to convince stakeholders to allocate more time or budget next time.

“We don’t know how to run user research”

There are tons of online guides about that. After your second or third study, you’ll be feeling way more confident. Try another excuse.

“Our product has been meeting all KPIs, we don’t need to get better”

Says no one. Well, how about exceeding your KPIs? Or even reconsidering your KPIs to include new, more sophisticated ones?

Originally published on Fabricio’s Medium page.

Design Director at Work & Co, Founder of UX Collective

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