Image for post
Image for post

Getting Started With Foundational UX Research

Foundational UX research can be daunting. Here are four principles for getting started on the right foot.

Foundational research, sometimes referred to as “exploratory” or “pathfinding” research, centers on a problem or topic that hasn’t yet been clearly defined. It is critical in all research fields, helping teams generate initial understanding, establish priorities, and anticipate and adapt to changes in the competitive landscape.

A primary value of this type of research is that it enables teams to scrutinize problems and patterns beyond the scope or depth of a single feature or product area. This is essential in a company that seeks to stay (or get) ahead of the competition.

While this work has great potential for impact, it also requires a significant up front investment of time and resources. And in the short term, it doesn’t always lead to clear, measurable deliverables. It can be exciting, but also intimidating, to take on.

Here are some principles to keep in mind when getting started with foundational UX research.

1. Engage cross-functional partners

2. Show impact in the short and long term

Image for post
Image for post

Longer-term, more comprehensive deliverables may include product insights/implications and new knowledge and understanding. Decide which your study will result in. These deliverables can confirm or invalidate product plans, drive strategy, spin off a working group, and/or generate a design sprint.

3. Deliver insights in different formats

4. Build in time for reflection

Image for post
Image for post

Foundational research can feel isolating, especially if you’re the only researcher on a project that lasts several months. Seek process/methodological input from veteran researchers and directional input from cross-functional partners.

Foundational UX research can greatly impact the trajectory of teams, but it sometimes may seem formidable to take on. Hopefully these principles will help you on your way.

Author: Cailean Cooke Goold, UX Researcher at Facebook, Beth Lingard, Research Manager at Facebook, and Gladys Rosa-Mendoza, UX Researcher at Facebook.

With Contributors: Ann Hsieh and Katy Mogal, Research Managers (alumni) at Facebook.

Illustrator: Sarah Lawrence

Facebook Research

Learnings from the people who study human behavior for…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store