The power of empathy through user research
Knowing how to conduct user research is good, but having empathy for users is even better.
With any project, you need to start from somewhere. As UXers, we build products for users that enrich their lives and are easy and enjoyable to use. We aim to solve users’ problems, while aligning with business goals at the same time. Our starting point is conducting user research.
This is an important aspect of the UX process, because it helps us understand and establish the user’s needs and frustrations — the pain points and empathise with them. The initial step is to define the end goals to discover what you’re trying to solve and learn. This is where user research comes in handy. It allows you to reflect on the notes and data to find solutions, answer questions and ultimately improve the product or service.
In this article, I will explain how the power of empathy through user research has changed the way I solve problems for users.
Diving a little deeper, user research is the means to understand the user needs when they are interacting with a product to complete an action. It helps UX designers discover where the interaction is enjoyable for the user and when it becomes problematic — perhaps even preventing them from completing the intended action. If the interaction is smooth and enjoyable throughout, and hence has high satisfaction and a good experience, it is much more likely the user will continue using the product or service.
Conducting user research should be an ongoing process that begins in the discovery phase and continues throughout the development stage. This helps ensure you are constantly meeting the user needs and aligning to the business goals.
Achieving this will:
- Produce a higher likelihood of products being used
- Help users reach their goal effortlessly
- Make it an enjoyable experience so that users feel good when completing a desired task
- Increase the number of users who recommend the product or service to others and ultimately grow the user base
- Result in a positive and memorable event