In UX design, relying on gut feelings is risky and unforgiving.
There is no valid way to back your designs without analytics or research.
The true power lies in creativity and validating those creative ideas. Knowing how to plan and execute UX research methods such as user interviews, competitor analysis, and usability testing uncovers crucial insights and adds clarity to the idea.
By delivering designs that meet user needs and drive business results, you'll overcome stakeholder pushback and gain trust and confidence in the workplace.
This will build a strong foundation in your UI UX designer job, allowing you to excel in your current projects and open doors to more opportunities in the field.
Why research-driven and data-backed designers will lead the way
The role of UX designers is evolving, particularly with the integration of AI; including the use of ChatGPT in UX Design.
As UI design processes become automated, the true value of UX research and product success lies in UX designers' ability to gain deep insights from real users. They then interpret data to form pragmatic strategies and experiences that AI alone cannot create clarity.
This is why UX designers who struggle with UX research, strategy, and business acumen tend to struggle in the workplace.
They may find it difficult to align their creative ideas with the business's strategic goals. While aesthetically pleasing, the designs may not meet the practical needs of users or the company's financial objectives.
UX designers in this predicament often find themselves challenged when justifying their designs to stakeholders. Without data as solid proof, their arguments lack effectiveness and relevance. As a result, it will be difficult to gain stakeholder buy-in or approval.
Consequently, these designers might experience limited career progression. Their skills may not fully resonate with the evolving demands of the UX industry, where data-driven decision-making and a deep understanding of user needs are crucial.
5 reasons why learning UX research is non-negotiable
The importance of UX research cannot be overstated. It fundamentally influences product success, shaping how effectively a design meets user needs and business goals.
Here are five reasons to invest in UX research for any aspiring designer.
1. Secure your competitive advantage
When looking for UX designer jobs, you’ll often find that UX research skills are necessary.
Why? Because at the core of UX design is the idea of tailoring products and services to fit what users need. Businesses are keen on hiring designers who grasp this concept.
By thoroughly understanding your users — who they are, what they need, and what they're trying to achieve — you'll prove that you have what it takes to create designs that truly cater to them.
If your portfolio showcases how the work you made in your designs benefitted businesses, whether it generated more sales, acquired more customers, or decreased churn rates, you’ll have a stronger case than a UX designer without such experience.
UX research courses are an excellent way to expand your knowledge and skills. These courses can equip you with the tools to conduct effective research and apply it directly to your design process.
2. Eliminate costly mistakes for good
No business wants to invest in a project that misses the mark. Snapchat's 2018 redesign fiasco is an example.
Snapchat's major app redesign, aimed at separating friend and publisher content, backfired. The change confused and frustrated users, leading to a decrease in engagement. They lost millions of users, and the stock fell by 7%.
This highlights the importance of user feedback and testing. If Snapchat had listened to its users and iterated its design based on their input, they could have avoided the negative outcome.
By identifying potential flaws early, UX research can prevent costly post-launch fixes and tedious redesigns.
3. Master the art of workplace politics
Businesses operate with a primary objective: to generate profit.
Every decision, from product development to marketing strategies, is made to minimize risks and maximize returns.
Given this context, UX designers who rely solely on gut feelings pose a significant risk to businesses. They are often seen as unpredictable and unquantifiable. This makes it challenging for businesses to trust their decisions.
Alternatively, UX designers who embrace UX research bring a different value to the table. By engaging with real users and utilizing data to inform their design decisions, they significantly reduce the risk associated with their work.
When you bring design ideas supported by real user data from user interviews and usability tests, for example, you’re not just suggesting something for the sake of it — you’re offering a solution that aligns with the company’s goals.
Therefore, UX designers who know how to research and analyze data are less of a gamble for businesses. They can articulate the rationale behind their design decisions with concrete evidence.
4. Supercharge your work efficiency
Imagine you’re working for an e-commerce platform. You're part of a team responsible for improving the checkout process to boost sales.
There’s a lot of debate within the team about what to prioritize.
Without UX research:
- Some team members believe that simplifying the checkout form is the top priority.
- Adding trust signals, like security badges, is more important for other team members.
- The rest of the team argues that expanding payment options is best.
The team is deadlocked, so you plan a UX research strategy. The research strategy begins with clearly defining the problem: identifying the factors causing friction in the checkout process.
You formulate questions about who these customers are and how they feel about the checkout process:
- Who are the primary users abandoning their carts (e.g., first-time vs. repeat users)?
- What are the common stages in the checkout process where users drop off? What are the customers’ attitudes toward the checkout process (ease of use, trustworthiness, efficiency)?
- Which specific features or steps in the checkout process are users finding most problematic?
Through user interviews, usability testing, and analyzing user behavior data, you discovered that the primary issue causing cart abandonment is the need for more payment options.
Users were reaching the checkout stage but dropping off when they couldn’t find a suitable payment method.
With this clarity, the team knows precisely that expanding payment options should be prioritized.
This insight highlights its importance and value in the design process. It prevented the team from wasting time on less critical issues and helped prioritize efforts.
5. Amplify your confidence and expertise
As AI automation advances and the need for strategic UX designers grows, understanding UX research is becoming increasingly important.
Instead of merely stating, "This button looks better" or "I prefer this color," imagine presenting user interviews or A/B testing results that support your proposed design solutions. This data speaks for your users and aligns the team.
Take the experience of Zohdi Rizvi, a UX designer at Amazon. Rizvi's career took a significant leap after completing a UX research course by Michael Wong (or better known as Mizko).
“Integrating the insights gained from the course into two significant projects yielded outstanding results, significantly influencing both my career and personal growth.
This hands-on experience not only enhanced my proficiency in implementing UX strategies but also bolstered my confidence in guiding, coaching, mentoring, and leading design teams. The practical application of the Masterclass teachings has been a transformative factor, shaping my capabilities and setting the stage for my future plans to offer UX and Design freelancing services to clients.
The ability to seamlessly translate theoretical knowledge into tangible, successful outcomes has been the cornerstone of my career and personal growth trajectory.”
Plus, having UX research skills will enable you to offer more value to both employers and clients. In return, it may broaden your career opportunities, whether in a corporate setting or freelancing.
This can lead to tangible net benefits such as an increase in salary and higher service rates.
The role of UX research in design & its impact
Let's dive into a real-life case study showcasing the importance of UX research in a project.
In 2016, Fortune 100 company Cox Enterprises approached Mizko's then-agency Mizko Media for a big project.
They wanted to introduce their car sales platform, Autotrader, in Australia. The goal was to research, design, and launch it within 12 weeks, hoping to outperform their existing solution in conversion rates.
Mizko's team developed a research strategy that involved interviewing 20 participants, focusing on two user personas: car enthusiasts and rookies.
These interviews helped map the end-to-end car sales process, identifying customer needs and wants at each phase.
The team uncovered hundreds of pain points across the customer journey and summarized the needs and wants of the customers for each pillar as well.
Given the limited time, they prioritized their efforts in the "Intent to Sell" and "Advertising" stages. They recognized the importance of a compelling product entry point, preferring this over investing in advanced features for later stages.
With clear objectives and a tight deadline, rapid prototyping began. Mizko’s team crafted an experience radically different from their competitors, focusing on resolving customers’ pain points.
Pain Point: Sellers lacked knowledge about their vehicle details.
Solution: Implemented a feature for users to input their car’s registration number, which automatically populated the vehicle’s details.
Pain Point: Difficulty in valuing or pricing cars for sellers.
Solution: Provided an automated pricing guideline to help sellers determine their vehicle’s value.
Pain Point: Uploading vehicle photos was inconvenient for mobile phone sellers.
Solution: Developed a feature for more accessible photo uploading directly from mobile devices, enhancing the ease of listing a car.
Pain point: Sellers were uncertain about how to effectively showcase their vehicles in listings.
Solution: Offered guidelines on various views and angles for photos. This helped sellers in creating more appealing and informative listings.
Pain point: Lack of insights for sellers on how to increase the chances of a sale after listing.
Solution: Introduced progressive tips to improve ad health, so that sellers with strategies to improve their listing’s effectiveness.
Upon completion, the designs and overall sales experience were handed over to the Autotrader internal team.
The outcomes were remarkable: within four months of launch, the platform saw a 30% increase in conversion rates, boasting 90,000 car listings, and was subsequently acquired by eBay Classifieds.
This case study showcases the impact of UX research. The insights from interviews who matched their user persona guided their workflow and improved the product’s effectiveness.
The impressive results underlined the value of UX research in creating successful, user-centric designs.
Build UX research confidence with practical, hands-on learning in just 10+ hours
Now that you understand the huge advantages that UX research can offer, the next step is to start honing those skills.
Shift your UX design process from intuition to strategy. The Practical User Research & Strategy Course by Mizko offers just that. Whether you're a seasoned professional looking to level up or just starting, this masterclass helps you gain a solid foundation in UX research.
Get practical lessons from an expert who has managed a $6 million portfolio and worked with over 50 companies.
Learn how to strategize and execute research workflows that you can apply directly for real-life projects:
- Plan a research strategy that goes straight into the problem, not ideas
- Prepare for user interviews with the right type of participants and questions
- Synthesize your findings effectively in a structured sequence (customer journey map and affinity mapping)
- Conduct a competitor analysis to support your design recommendations
- Prioritize your insights for a project brief or designer handoff
- Understand business fundamentals and their impact on product design and research
Join over 6,000 designers who have benefited from this UX research course, boasting an impressive 4.9 rating. It’s the preferred path for UX designers at leading tech giants like Meta and Google, signifying its relevance and effectiveness.
Before taking the course, Senior UX designer @ Booking.com Alyssa Durante admitted to throwing things together that she thought made sense.
After taking the course, she achieved a proven process that seamlessly helped her from point A to point B.
“I'm 100% more confident when talking to stakeholders about User Research & Strategy and the importance of why it needs to be included in the process. I also have gained such a beautiful new understanding of my users that greatly influences my designs. All of the "guesswork" that I was doing is now real, meaningful work that has stats and research behind it.”
With a portfolio boasting an impressive variety of clients such as Johnson & Johnson, WebMD, and AnswerRocket, Alyssa’s story inspires anyone seeking to make that turning point, too.