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User Research and Its Advantages for Your Project

by Alicja Topor

User Research and Its Advantages for Your Project

Let’s imagine you’ve had this fantastic idea for a product or service. You managed to bring this idea to life, you put a lot of effort into creating this concept, refining the visual layer and coming up with a marketing strategy.

But for some reason, it turns out that despite the investments made, the product is not appreciated by the market, and the business plummets. 

What could be the reason for this? Well, there is a high probability that your assumptions about other people's needs and preferences do not correspond with reality. That is why it is essential to precede product development activities with a UX research phase that focuses on verifying assumptions, trying to understand users, identifying possible problems coming up with the right solution.

Keep on reading to find out the advantages of UX research, selected examples of methods commonly used as well as the answers on how to use those methods in the product development process!

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What is UX research?

UX research focuses on gathering functional requirements, researching target users along with their needs as well as testing solutions on the target audience.

The aim is to confront the concept and design work with actual users to verify whether the solution has a feasible chance of working in a real-world scenario.

In short, what we do in the course of research is define what we create, for whom, in response to what problems and obstacles, why we do this particular solution, and how - well before we spend significant sums of money developing something not yet validated, saving ourselves a lot of money and even more headaches in the process. 

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Why is UX research important?

Businesses should consider consider performing UX research before launching any product or service for the following reasons:

  • To get to know and understand your business’ end-users;

  • To make sure the assumptions we make are validated and based on real data;

  • To save time (and resources) for changes later in the product development process;

  • To reduce the risk that the product will not fulfill its goal and will not survive on the market;

  • To have a full understanding among the entire team of what, for whom, and how we want to develop the final product.

Well-done UX Research is a crucial part of the success of the product. Only by having a good understanding of the market and users‘ needs can we deliver an adoptable product-market fit and ensure a product or service will be able to adapt to changes constantly happening on the market.

Using a wide range of methods, we can properly select research techniques required to achieve desired goals, depending on our product’s maturity, or specific questions we want answers to. 

There are plenty of methods that we can use, depending on our needs, type of product or service and the stage it is at.

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How is user research conducted?


There are two types of methods depending on what kind of data we want to collect: qualitative and quantitative.

Quantitative  methods give us answers to “what” and “how many” questions. Examples Those methods include:

  • Analytics

  • A/B testing

  • Surveys

  • Card sorting

  • Eye-tracking

Qualitative  methods  give us answers to “why” and “how” questions. Those methods include:

  • Usability tests

  • Interviews

  • Diary studies

  • Focus groups

Stages of product development 

You can distinguish many different models when it comes to the stages of product development. One of them, described by the Nielsen Norman Group, is the division of product-related work into 4 stages: Discover, Explore, Test, and Listen.


This stage consists of collecting information and deepening knowledge about users to better understand what their needs are. It is especially important when creating a new product to verify whether our idea has a chance of success, but also when developing new features or services.


  • Stakeholder interviews

  • User interviews

  • Field studies

  • Competitive analysis

  • Benchmarking


Once we have successfully examined the needs of end users, the next step is to define the problem we aim to solve and correlate those needs with the required design work.


  • Card sorting

  • Customer journey maps

  • User story maps

  • Usability testing


The testing phase takes place when we already have a prototype of the product as well as during development. Using appropriate methods, we make sure that the product fulfills its role and works as expected. At this stage, we must make sure the designed solution is intuitive and understandable for users.


  • Usability testing

  • User interviews

  • Diary studies

  • Eyetracking

  • Focus groups


During the entirety of product development, we collect information about users, their needs, changes in their behavior, and emerging problems. The 'Listen' stage is an ongoing process and should never stop for the product or service to remain relevant. The methods that we can use include:

  • Surveys

  • Analytics

  • Gathering and analyzing incoming user feedback

  • A/B testing

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When to do UX research?

In short, investment in research always pays off; regardless of the product and the industry, it is always worth doing. But let’s take a look at specific use cases:

1. Creating a new product

When creating a new product, it is crucial to precede it with as deep research as possible to identify the needs of the target users and make sure that the product we want to create will meet them. It is equally important to check the competition — what products are already on the market, what are their strengths and weaknesses, where we see the value that our product can provide and be better at than the products of others. In other words: what is its advantage over the competition.

For a product development team, working together with startups and companies on their product ideas, it is essential to understand both the client and end users at an early stage and — using UX research methods – make the whole team aligned on business goals and assumptions of the project.

The methods used to create a new product are the methods listed in Discover and Explore stages, including:

  • Stakeholder interviews

  • Competition analysis

  • User interviews

  • Surveys

  • Field studies

  • Usability testing

  • User story mapping

  • Customer journey mapping

  • Personas

2. Adding new features

When working on a new functionality for an already working product, we can confidently use the same approach as when we create a new product . It is then equally important to research the market, understand users, and define the problem we want to solve.

However, at this stage, we can also use the knowledge provided to us by the existing product and feedback from users, using methods such as data analysis (e.g. Google Analytics), surveys, or interviews.

3. Redesign

When redesigning a product, we can learn from our current user base and their behavior for design decisions to be driven by data. This, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use A/B tests or usability tests along the way, too.

4. Attracting new audiences

If we want to expand our product to a new group of users, we naturally need to get to know this group well and understand what their needs, problems, and habits are. Thanks to techniques like interviews, surveys, or usability tests we can make the research much more accurate. 

5. Product’s end-to-end lifecycle

Research should be a permanent element of the work on a product during its whole lifecycle. That way we're able to improve the product constantly by reacting to new obstacles and changes in the market. Having the right amount of data about our users, competition, and the industry in which we operate means we're able to react faster to such changes and improve the product accordingly or, if necessary, even pivot our whole business model.

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Advantages of UX research

1. Product-market fit

A product created and developed based on UX research methods is able to achieve a product-market fit, which determines the degree of product adaptation to the market needs. Founders often tend to focus on the solution rather than the problem itself while creating new products. According to Michael Seibel from a renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator “only through launching, talking to customers, and iterating will you actually find a product that reaches product-market fit”

2. Knowledge about the market and customers

Knowing the market and our users, we can make informed decisions both when creating and developing a product as well as when a change on the market forces us to pivot or change.

3. Improving usability and accessibility

Usability has a direct impact on user engagement and conversions. What is more, making sure the product is usable for people with various types of limitations or disabilities, increases the overall user experience (it also benefits users with temporary restrictions, i.e. due to intense sunlight, using an app or a website in a hurry, in a noisy place, and so on).

4. Prioritizing features and planning product development ahead

Thanks to UX research methods such as user story mapping and prioritizing, we can agree in advance which functionalities are key and plan for further stages of product development accordingly, which translates into risk and cost reduction (mind you derisking is a recurring theme of UX research).

5. Reacting to changes in the market

As mentioned above, knowing your customers and monitoring their behavior as well as the ever-changing market on an ongoing basis, we are able to respond to sudden changes (like the one we all have been experiencing in the recent months) much faster and make more informed decisions.

6. Time to market

Paradoxically, investing time and resources in UX research directly translates to saving resources, because it protects us from corrections and changes at further stages of the product development that are costly.

 Without good research, it may turn out that after the development phase, our product does not fulfill its purpose, does not deliver value, or is unusable for the desired audience.

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It’s always important to perform UX research; despite it being additional work, it always pays off. There are plenty of methods you can use at different stages of your product lifecycle. Still, just by using a few, well-known and well-conducted methods, you will be able to collect the data that will support your design decisions and translate it into a better end product that users appreciate.

Need UX research to validate your product idea? Contact us for an estimation!


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