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Do we need user research?

Current thinking in user-centered design prescribes that all projects should include initial user research. To Dan Saffer, this is a false dogma. Lots of projects, such as the Mac OS X, have turned out fine without any research at all.

According to Dan Saffer, we should only use design research when:

1. We don't know the subject area well
2. The project is based in a culture different to our own
3. We don't know who the users are
4. The product is one we'd never use ourselves
5. The product contains features for specific types of users
6. We need inspiration
7. We need empathy
8. We don't have much design expertise

These guidelines could apply to every design project. But the point is that we should "...stop thinking of it as a necessary approach to design and start thinking of it as just a helpful tool."

Links:

  • Research Is a Method, Not a Methodology Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 18, 2007

See also: User research (23) 

 

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