User research is the process of understanding user behaviours needs and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis and other feedback methodologies. This is a crucial process within the design phase. The complexity of UI/UX between products requires serious thought, partly because it involves thinking of what users require, beyond what has been asked for.
But why is it so important
It facilitates the design of better products.
Without this process in the design phase, products can miss the mark in identifying and treating pain points users might have when engaging with the product and may not address user needs in an effective and meaningful manner. Either outcome can lead to a reduction in user engagement. Increased understanding of how users behave therefore bridges the gap in uncertainty that companies have on their target user base.
It saves time, resources, and capital.
Though this process can seem daunting and time-consuming, the risks that are associated with creating a product that is erroneous for users are worth the prior research. Finding out insights about the users’ needs rather than guessing, will mean saving unnecessary time after product launch, and fixing bugs and usability issues. It is therefore worth putting in the research time beforehand to mitigate this risk.
Having not identified what users need prior to launching can lead users to not engage with the product. A lack of faith in the product initially may lead to target users switching to alternative products. This may lead to product failure and if your business is tied entirely to this one product, can sink the business.
User research is therefore the facilitator of success for software products and must be acknowledged.