Chapter 6. Getting to Know the User

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The UX quality of your product will be determined by how successful you are at making the user’s needs the central focus of the product’s development. Though the broad scope of the project is set and constrained by the goals of the business, attending to the needs of the user is the means of accomplishing those goals. The needs of the user must be a priority from day one and must be central to the work of the whole project and team. Responsibility for attending to the user’s needs is not isolated to a single phase or a specific few members of the team. An understanding of and empathy for the user must suffuse the project at every level, informing prioritizations and decisions made by all members of the team. The framework for this kind of decision making is what user research brings to the project.

User research discovers information about the user needs that is necessary to form a key part of the framework requirements. You learned in Chapter 3 that framework requirements are an elucidation of the problem, not an attempt to define a solution. They serve as a flexible but fixed framework of constraints that help answer questions as they arise during the course of the project. Accordingly, the end result of user research isn’t a set of complete designs, nor is it a complete catalog of answers—in other words, it isn’t a depiction of the solution. In ...

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