UX Tea Break: User Research versus UX Design

UX Tea Break: User Research versus UX Design


I’m David Travis and this is the uxt break in this edition I’ll be looking at the differences between user research and UX design so I have a question here that was posed by one of the students on my udemy course her name is Tiffany Chung and she asks what’s the difference between a UX researcher and a UX designer so I thought this was an interesting question because back in the day you know when I first started out in the field all those years ago I wouldn’t have said there was much of a distinction between the two really they tended to be he tends to work in a team of one so you would both do some research and some design but increasingly over time the field of user experience has matured which is a good thing and that means or what tends to happen as a field matures is that you get specializations within that and so now typically a well-stocked scrum team will have a separate user researcher and a separate UX designer doing their different roles well what are those different roles let’s start with the user researcher so the user researcher will do it’s really two types of research the first kind of research will be research to understand user needs they’ll go out and find out whether or not there really is a requirement for the products but they’ll also try and understand what is it that people actually want in their lives that the business can offer and supply they’ll go out and do field research understand the users of backgrounds help the development team empathize with the users they’ll do things like build user journey Maps they’ll help the team get immersed in understanding what users need in their lives the second bit of research that the use of researcher will do will be more evaluative research so when they’re doing evaluative research what they’re doing is they’re looking at prototypes products ideas and what they’re doing is they’re putting those in front of users and seeing whether or not they work they’re looking for usability issues they’re looking to see how tasks are or are not being met and typically what they’ll do is present the data to teams in terms of a stand up made highlights video and again what they’re trying to do is get the team engaged in the research so they can take that users perspective so that’s the kind of that’s the role of the user researcher in contrast the UX designer well that’s the person that puts these things together the create stuff and typically there’s three areas of expertise that they have the first area of expertise that the UX designer has would be visual design so they know how to make things look good don’t use fundamental principles of design like contrast alignment repetition proximity and they’ll know how to use those to make screens look clean and elegant when people are using them but yeah that’s table stakes they can a good UX designer is way beyond a visual design that also know about interaction design don’t know about patterns that can be used in a particular situation that work design patterns that will work they’ll know about user interface animations they’ll know how to put those together as a way of showing to the team the way they’re expecting something to work and then also have expertise in prototyping so they may be a whiz with sketch or actua and almost certainly they’ll be able to do some code perhaps HTML and CSS at least rudimentary enough rudimentary Lisette word but anyway rudimentary enough that what they’ll be able to do is put that stuff together so that things can be put in front of users things like maybe they’ll use bootstrap or something else that would work so those are the two separate roles a user researcher and UX designer and I mentioned that back in the day you know one person would do both any deed nowadays you’ll have a team or one where people do both but the point is those people that do both they’re never 50/50 really you know you’re more of a user researcher than a designer or you’re more of a designer than a user researcher so I’ve never found anyone that can do both of those roles expertly so it’s a good thing I think that now those roles are separated and we have different specialisms for them they’re not the only special isms in UX on scrum teams by any means but certainly they’re the two most common ones so I hope that answered your question if you have that question as well as Tiffany Joel if you enjoyed that and you’d like to hear when I answer other questions to do with UX please hit the subscribe button

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3 thoughts on “UX Tea Break: User Research versus UX Design

  1. Hi David, you mentioned prototype in both the roles. What prototype a user researcher can offer his users for evaluation?

  2. Hi David, I have a question, in the case of a UX team made of UX Researchers and UX designers, who usually from the team comes up with the new ideas as solutions to cover the user needs? Is that a task discussed along with the whole team through meetings?

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