I’ve always been uncomfortable with the reference “user” in the term user research. Research must step beyond the reference and stand in the nuances of the individuals, their wants and needs as humans . My goal as a researcher is to discover those wants and needs through inquiry and observation. Only by listening do we get to the emotion behind one’s actions. Only by observing can we see how they feel, or how they struggle. Only through empathy can the best designs emerge.
My UX strategy incorporates the three key concepts of integrated design, lean UX and metrics. These help to focus design efforts on creating innovative solutions.
With an integrated design approach, the experience extends beyond the interface. It encompasses every touchpoint and engagement. Good experiences are not always recognized, but bad ones are not forgotten and can have a long-term effect. By looking at more than just how a product or service is delivered, this approach can inform a new direction or optimize an existing solution.
Lean UX is the practice of adaptability and efficiency to get to the design and iteration stages faster. Lean UX incorporates the designer into the
research process. Utilizing methods like guerrilla research and body storming, the key questions here are “Who, What, Why?” along with a dedicated effort to observe and empathize with people to understand their perspective.
Metrics are the signals that show whether a strategy is working or not. Success isn’t fully realized, and you can’t learn from your failures unless they’re measured. Establishing them early and tying them to design decisions is vital.
These are fundamental principles that influence how I design:
—Understanding the underlying problem before attempting to solve it.
—Being mindful of the people by creating a positive and enjoyable experience.
—Making things simple—the design should be easy to use and learn but most of all intuitive.
—Acknowledging that I’m not the one—my background, experience and how I approach a problem is going to be different than theirs.
—Having empathy—going out of my way to understand their needs and to keep asking questions until I understand why they do what they do.