Qualitative research: Some is better than none

2 min read Max Koh

Recently, we hit the road in Australia to talk about UX, and brought a few local UX heroes along with us for the ride as part of the Optimal Workshop Roadshow.

Amir Ansari, head of UX at Transpire, spoke at our Melbourne event and addressed two problems that many researchers face: user research isn’t appreciated; and small sample sizes are seen as invalid.

Check out Amir’s presentation below:

User research is often not appreciated

Amir shared some of the many excuses he’s heard:

  • “We’ve been building software for 10 years.”
  • “We know our users and what they want. We don’t need to ask them.”
  • “No point in asking users what they want, they often don’t know themselves.”
  • “We speak to our customers. The people who buy the software aren’t the people who use the software.”
  • “If we’re building the wrong products, customers wouldn’t be buying.”
  • “You’re the UX expert, you should know what our users need.”

Small sample sizes are not seen as valid

  • “We can’t make expensive decisions based on a handful of feedback.”
  • “What % of users said this?”
  • “16 users is not statistically significant.”
  • “Are your findings quantifiable?”

Overall, Amir shared a number of handy tips that any and all UXers should keep in mind:

  • It’s your duty as a UXer to sell the research to your stakeholders
  • You are not the end user — you need to convince stakeholders that they are not representative of their users
  • Your client is not the end user (the people who buy your product many not necessarily be your users)
  • If your stakeholders say they know their users, ask for evidence
  • Don’t ask users what they want — observe what they need
  • Qualitative research is not quantitative research
  • Using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research, can help overcome many of these challenges.

We’re hitting the road — come along for the ride!

If you’d like to hear about what some of your local UX heroes have to say, come along to the Optimal Workshop Roadshow! We’re heading off to the United States and Canada in a couple of weeks and bringing some sweet swag and awesome presentations with us.

Check out the full list of cities, dates and speakers here. See you there!