While you may think you know the difference between UX research and UX design, it’s important to consider the details that make these processes differ from one another. To sum it up these two fields complement each other to deliver products that meet users' needs.
Each field is equally as important as the other, it’s in how they elevate your product in different ways that makes paying attention to these differences so crucial in understanding each one to utilize them to benefit your product.
Below are the key differences between UX Research and UX Design:
Generally speaking, UX research is to measure and understand user behavior. More specifically the behaviors of your target audience. UX researchers work with qualitative and quantitative data to scope your target market as well, what is the current state of the market in which this product will be used? Asking the right questions is the researcher’s job, when they can provide and collect data-driven insights, you can properly address the needs of the consumers.
UX Research Methods:
- Qualitative Usability Tests: In qualitative usability testing, the researcher instructs test participants to perform specific tasks within the product interfaces.
- Interviews: During the interviews with participants the researcher will simply ask about preferences, interests, and even habitual tendencies. The purpose of this is to further understand the target audience and market.
- Surveys: Different from the questions asked in the interviews, surveys in UX research consist of questions that are geared towards understanding the user's problems and gathering insights about what needs to be improved. Surveys are typically a quicker way to get responses as opposed to interviews.
- Field Studies: Using field research in UX is critical to finding the most accurate results. Field studies involve being completely observational of your participants. Researchers are observing users in ideally a real-world context, how would they use this product in their everyday lives?
UX researchers perform a variety of methods and tests to understand these questions and figure out the roots of your users' problems. Studying consumer behavior with interviews, surveys, usability tests, and more allows your team to provide sufficient evidence to make good decisions during the design phase. Rather than driving change throughout each stage, from design to engineering, with proper UX research, you can create an impactful and solution-oriented experience for users.
After all, the research has taken place and you have a good amount of usable insights from your consumers, it’s time for the designers to step in. In the design phase, you want to implement your findings from the research process to create functional features that address your users' pain points and problems to solve. The design process relies heavily on the research results, as we are ensuring that we meet our customers' needs, so referring back to your findings is critical.
UX Design Process:
- Prototyping & Wireframing: Designers will begin with prototypes and wireframes to display functions they plan to use and explain their visions to stakeholders, engineers, and others. To understand each layout process in-depth check out our other blogs on Prototypes and Wireframes.
- Conducting User Journey Maps: User journey maps are essential to mapping out the directions your customers will take as they use your product and ensure designers are checking to see that every step they need to take has no issues. Journey maps allow your team visualizes the experience you are creating and can be crucial to implementing changes during the design process.
- Designing Visuals: After all, is accounted for and user problems are addressed it’s finally time to design the product! When designing visuals, as we’ve mentioned, it’s important to constantly refer back to your findings from the research process, or else you could lose sight of what matters, your customers' needs.
UX design is creating the product and features your users will be interacting with, and the one aspect that will face the market at the end of this whole process. It’s important to plan accordingly for what your product will look and feel like to users, for without their approval your product is a failure no matter how good it may simply look. Functionality is key in designing within UX, and it’s the designers' job to ensure the product is pleasantly functional, easy to use, and serves its intended purpose.
UX research and UX design go hand in hand when creating a successful and functional product. Many people overlook the importance of the research process and jump right into the designs, or they spend too little time on the research and are left with a product full of issues for the users. Both UX research and UX design are critical to elevating a product to its best potential while also addressing its issues at the core. When utilizing both of these fields together, you can ensure your users are left with a positive user experience.
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