Smashing Magazine - #443: UX Research

A complete guide to user interviews, UX research launch pad and how to build up UX research from scratch. Issue #443 Feb 13, 2024 View in the browser 💨

Smashing Newsletter

Tere õhtust Smashing Friends,

Poor UX research is a recipe for disaster. Without research, companies merely rely on assumptions, hunches and strong opinions. But if research questions are biased, or sample size is small, or user’s answers are misunderstood, the entire business can drift in a wrong direction.

In this newsletter, we look at how to avoid just that — how to build up UX research from scratch, how to avoid bias and how to embrace research in your company — along with useful guides, methods and templates to get started.

Meets: the Future of Design Systems
What’s the future like for design systems? Let’s find out! On Tuesday, February 27: The Future of Design Systems.

In our next edition of Smashing Meets, we’ll be looking at the Future of Design Systems, and how AI impacts it — with practical insights into tooling and maintenance. Kindly made possible thanks to our dear friends at Omlet by Zeplin.

And there are many more Smashing events coming soon:

As for our online workshops, we have friendly bundles for great teams, so perhaps get your incredible team together — for a friendly, inclusive, and memorable experience in 2024.

Happy reading and researching, everyone!


1. Build Up UX Research From Scratch

Being the first UX researcher in a company can be challenging, particularly if it’s also your first UX research role. Ori Dar has been there. To help you figure out how to build a UX research role and practice from scratch, he shares the methodology and techniques he used when he became the first UX researcher in his organization.

How to build a UX research role & practice from scratch

Ori’s guide teaches you how to apply a research mindset and align it with relevant stakeholders, as well as how to create research workflows, synthesize data, and make it accessible. It also includes templates that might be useful when planning and executing UX research. Honest insights that help you shape your role and become an advocate for user research. (cm)

2. UX Research Methods Launch Pad

UX research is key to better understanding your users. But where do you begin if you start planning a UX research project? The UX Research Methods Launch Pad features five specific launch kits for getting the most out of UX research — even if you’ve never done any UX research before.

UX Research Methods Launch Pad

The kits cover everything from getting to know your users better and exploring how usable your new product or feature may be to ensuring market fit and learning how users actually use your product. Each kit comes with useful templates and a crash course with answers to the top questions. If you’re unsure which of the five research methods is the right one for your project, there’s a quiz to help you find out. (cm)

3. How To Make Your Company Embrace UX Research

Anyone doing UX research has probably had discussions with people questioning the need for research. “Too time-consuming”, “too expensive” are often some of the arguments. If you want to get your colleagues and executives to see the real value of user research, Bas Wallet shares a tip that goes a long way: show, don’t tell.

11 ways to make your company embrace UX research

In his post “11 ways to make your company embrace UX research,” Bas recommends letting your audience experience what you want them to conclude so they realize by themselves how valuable UX research is. This could mean inviting your colleagues to tests, running tests with them, or regularly sharing video highlights of customer interviews to let them see how your findings could improve the product. Great ideas that help you turn skepticism into support. (cm)

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4. How To Avoid Bias In UX Research

Everyone has biases. What’s important is that we learn to recognize and overcome them so they don’t affect our work. To help you avoid bias in UX research and get the most accurate understanding of your users’ needs without stereotypes or prejudgments interfering, Genís Frigola shares a concise write-up of bias in UX research.

Bias In UX Research

The write-up examines the six types of bias that can harm UX research. You might have heard of some of them before (confirmation bias, for example), while other types of bias, such as sunk cost fallacy, might be lesser known. Apart from making you familiar with the different types of bias in UX research, Genís explores practical tips for being more strategic about how you ask questions and how you run tests. Practical tips you can apply to your work right away. (cm)

5. Upcoming Workshops and Conferences

That’s right! We run online workshops on frontend and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.

Smashing Online Events
With online workshops, we aim to give you the same experience and access to experts as in an in-person workshop from wherever you are.

As always, here’s a quick overview:

6. Understanding User Needs

There’s more than focus groups or surveys if you want to understand your users’ needs better. David Travis came up with 60 alternative ideas you might want to try. To get started, he recommends picking five of the techniques and pledging to try them out in the next 12 months.

60 ways to understand user needs

David’s techniques and strategies are rather unusual but definitely worth exploring. They include giving users a paper diary to record their experience with your product, running “ask me anything” sessions where the user is the star, making a site visit to learn more about a user’s experiences, goals, and frustrations, or asking them to come up with their own designs to the problem you are solving. Great ideas to help you start a UX research action plan tailored to your product, budget, and timescale. (cm)

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7. A Complete Guide To User Interviews

User interviews are a great opportunity to dig deeper into real user problems. If you plan to conduct user interviews but don’t know where to start, Anna Savranska’s complete guide to user interviews is for you. With important pointers, research plan documents, and templates, it helps you tackle the task strategically to get maximum results.

The Complete Guide To User Interviews

In the guide, Anna shares a seven-step roadmap for mastering the user interview process. It takes you from defining what you want to learn from your users and choosing the right type of user interview through writing a research plan and recruiting participants to analyzing the interviews and sharing research insights with stakeholders. Valuable tips, not only for those who are new to user research. (cm)

8. News From The Smashing Library 📚

Promoting best practices and providing you with practical tips to master your daily coding and design challenges has always been at the core of everything we do at Smashing.

In the past few years, we were very lucky to have worked together with some talented, caring people from the web community to publish their wealth of experience as printed books. Have you checked them out already?

Success At Scale
Also meet our newest Smashing Book: Success At Scale. Print shipping in early March, eBook now available. Pre-order your copy or browse the complete library.

9. Recent Smashing Articles

That’s All, Folks!

Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!

This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).

Sent to truly smashing readers via Mailchimp.
We sincerely appreciate your kind support. You

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