A Look AT Some User Research Biggest Mistakes
There are some areas in science and technology where change and growth is phenomenal. Computer science is one such area where perhaps change is the only constant. So, if you are looking at a computer technology which is around three to four years, you perhaps could be looking at something that is antiquated or something which will become obsolete sooner than later. Many inventions have perhaps taken place based on what is referred to as user experience research. This user based research experience is not very old and could perhaps be around two to three decades at most as far as computer technology is concerned.
The first article on user research was published in the year 2005 and since then, there are reasons to believe that user research in the computers have become quite complex, sophisticated and even widespread. While it has had its own share of problems and challenges, such user based research has help in overcoming the delay in product development cycles. It has certainly helped in strategic innovation where the end users have been made a part of the development cycle. However, since user experience based research is about trying out untested waters, it does have some pitfalls. Here are a few of them that are worth looking at.
Usability And User Experience
One of the biggest mistakes of user based research is that at times the end product may not score very high as far as usability is concerned. At the end of the day there is no doubt that there has to be the right mix of usability and user experience. After years of research one could come out with a product which is quite user friendly. However, it must be usable. In other words it must add some value to the end users without which even the best of usability will not make much of a difference. Therefore this is an area where often mistakes are committed. The way forward would be to first identify the usability and then make the users spend their time, money and effort on the research of that particular product or service.
Upgradable, Iterative And Lightweight
Whenever a user undertakes a research of a new product, he or she must be sure that it is something which will stand the test of time. For example, you could have a new laptop which could have become commercially viable because it has the best of features and offers good value for money. However, as mentioned earlier, computer technology is always on the move and changes keep happening at rapid pace. It is therefore important to ensure that end users are aware of this. They should factor the challenge of change. This will go a long way in making the product upgradable, lightweight and iterative. Without this being in place, it will only be a matter of time before even the quality products and services become obsolete and unusable because of lack of upgrading features.
Speed Of Research And Innovation
When products come out user experience research speed of invention and innovation is considered to be highly important and critical. The shelf life of even the most modern and contemporary computer and allied products is hardly one decade at the most. Hence, the challenge before users lies in coming out with a product that will hit the market within a short period of time. There is no point in having a quality product hitting the market in eight to ten years when the product perhaps could have outlived its utility. A typical example is Nokia. Though they had some of the finest collections of conventional phones, they were caught napping when smart phones hit the market. They spent decades at length in their comfort zone. This is a real life example which users must keep in mind while researching and coming out with a product. Speed is of utmost importance as far as such inventions and innovations are concerned.
Research Ethics And Vulnerable User Types
Another common mistake is researching with end users who are first time users of such technology. Hence it would not be a good idea to look for researching products by involving, illiterate or semi-literate persons. children, aged persons, sick and homeless people should not become a part of the user based research because there are always chances of bypassing the ethical red lines in many cases.