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When Should You Conduct User Research (UX)?

User research is an important aspect of any project, allowing companies to themselves in the eyes of the customer. However, knowing when it should be conducted can be confusing. In this blog, we'll cover the key moments when user research becomes indispensable, shedding light on why timing matters as much as the research itself.

When Should You Conduct User Research (UX)?


Tech Talent Engine


User research involves a combination of research methods unpinned by a core understanding of the user's perspective. This includes their needs and pain points, allowing you to better market your product or service and generate leads.

It allows businesses to put themselves in a user’s shoes and, as a result, create products and services that genuinely meet the needs of their users.

Yet, the question of when to conduct user research remains a puzzle for many tech professionals.

Below, we’ll explain more.

What is User Research (UX)?

User research involves researching users and gathering insights about their needs, behaviours, and pain points.

This involves a combination of research methods, including using surveys, field studies, usability testing and many more.

When to Use User Research:

1. The foundation phase

The first and foremost fundamental phase for conducting user research is before the project even takes off.

Much like you wouldn’t go on a hike without a map, you shouldn’t start a project without understanding who your users are, what they need and how they behave.

At this early stage, user research helps you:

  • Identify user needs: By conducting surveys, interviews, and analysing market trends, you can pinpoint the pain points and desires of your potential users.
  • Define your audience: Knowing your target audience’s demographics, behaviours and preferences helps you tailor your product or service to their expectations.
  • Shape your project scope: With insights from user research, you can establish a realistic project scope that aligns with your user’s needs and your resources.

This is usually completed before the project takes off.

2. The iteration phase

Once your project is underway, user research remains an invaluable tool for iterative design and development. This phase helps to fine-tune your project, ensuring it forecasts any potential obstacles.

  • Usability testing: Conduct usability tests with prototypes or beta versions of your product. Observe how users interact with it, gather feedback, and make necessary improvements.
  • User-centred design: Integrating user research into the design process ensures that your interface, features, and functionality are user-friendly and intuitive.
  • Solving pain points: As you delve deeper into the development phase, user research helps you identify any unforeseen issues or pain points users may encounter.

3. The continuous improvement phase

Many companies make the mistake of thinking user research ends with a product launch. However, this is just the beginning of a new phase: continuous improvement.

Now that your product is out, it’s crucial to monitor user experience and feedback.

  • Feedback analysis: Collect user feedback through reviews, surveys, and customer support interactions. Analyse this data to identify areas for improvement.
  • Feature prioritisation: User research helps you prioritise which features to enhance or add in future updates.
  • Staying competitive: The tech landscape is constantly evolving. User research helps you stay competitive by adapting to changing user preferences and emerging technologies.
  • Continuous improvement is essential to any business, ensuring you constantly explore new ways to improve the process.

4. The problem-solving phase

In the tech world, challenges and roadblocks are inevitable. When you approach a challenge, user research can be used to help you navigate the next steps.

For example, if your website is attracting a lot of traffic but you have a high bounce rate. User research helps you to understand where you are losing the user.

  • Identifying issues: When you encounter problems such as declining user engagement, user research can be used to help pinpoint the underlying causes.
  • Root cause analysis: User research goes beyond surface-level issues. It delves into the root causes of problems, allowing you to implement effective solutions.
  • Preventing future pitfalls: Armed with user insights, you can implement preventative measures to avoid similar issues in future projects.

5. The strategy phase

Tech companies often need to make strategic decisions about expanding into new markets or pivoting their product offerings. User research is key to guiding these strategic decisions.

  • Market assessment: Before entering a new market, user research helps you understand the unique needs, preferences, and challenges of potential users in that market.
  • Product fit: If you’re considering a pivot or major product change, user research can validate whether you’re proposed direction aligns with user expectations and demands.
  • Competitive analysis: User research allows you to evaluate your competition by understanding what users appreciate about their products and where they fall short.
  • User research, at this stage, can be used to communicate the needs of the business, leading to better decision making.

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