Chapter 2

Quantifying User Research

What is User Research?

For a topic with only two words, “user research” implies different things to different people. Regarding “user” in user research, Edward Tufte (Bisbort, 1999) famously said: “Only two industries refer to their customers as ‘users’: computer design and drug dealing.”

This book focuses on the first of those two types of customers. This user can be a paying customer, internal employee, physician, call-center operator, automobile driver, cell phone owner, or any person attempting to accomplish some goal—typically with some type of software, website, or machine.

The “research” in user research is both broad and nebulous—a reflection of the amalgamation of methods and professionals that fall ...

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