Home Research The 7 Deadly Sins of User Research

The 7 Deadly Sins of User Research

Published on January 15, 2015 by in Research

I came across this article by Dr. David Travis on user research that resonated some core research methods that should be ‘top-of-mind’ when conducting user research. The article also includes some great tips for getting the design team increasingly involved and invested in getting to know the user / customer.

Below are some highlights from the article and a link to the full article:

On Credulity

“… the first rule of finding out what people want is: don’t ask people what they want.


“People don’t have reliable insight into their mental processes, so there is no point asking them what they want.


“Trying to learn from customer conversations is like excavating a delicate archaeological site. The truth is down there somewhere, but it’s fragile. While each blow with your shovel gets you closer to the truth, you’re liable to smash it into a million little pieces if you use too blunt an instrument.


“… a successful user research study is one that give us actionable and testable insights into users’ needs.


“… The key point is: What people say is not as useful as what people do, because people are unreliable witnesses.

On Obsurantism

“User researcher’s fallacy: “My job is to learn about users”. Truth: “My job is to help my team learn about users


“… the most effective design teams spend at least two hours every six weeks observing users

 On Laziness

“The world you want to move to is one where the design team knows its users so well that personas aren’t needed… do it by making user research part of the culture.

On Vagueness

“… you can learn an important lesson about user research from a dishwasher. If you cram a lot in, nothing gets very clean.

On Hubris

“Our [researchers] challenge is to turn that data into information, and turn that information into insight.


“… create information radiators (like usability dashboards and 1-page test plans) to get teams understanding the data so they can take action on it.


Full article: http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/7-sins-of-user-research.html

Written by  – The UX Acrobat

Follow Marc on Twitter: @MarcNiola

About UX Acrobat - Marc Niola

Marc is an expert UX professional with a focus on customer-centered design principles, social media, gamification and psychology. He has developed innovative business solutions for global corporations, SME, agencies, clients and brands.

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