In January 2020, I spoke at the 2020 QRCA Conference in Austin, Texas. The name of my talk was “UX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing.”
The inspiration for my talk actually came to me immediately while attending the 2019 conference… Sometimes when I introduced myself as a UX researcher to another qualitative researcher, I heard, “I do usability testing, too!” Hhm?
Upon doing a little more digging among online forums and asking my UX research colleagues, I discovered that it’s a common misconception that the terms “UX research” and “usability testing” can be used interchangeably.
Usability testing is just one method among many! My original blog post 28 user research methods—now includes more than 80 research methods, techniques, and metrics.
Not only is usability testing a small part of what UX researchers do on a day-to-day basis, even user research makes up only a portion of the discipline.
Overview of My Talk
In this talk, I covered:
- What UX researchers do
- Where UX researchers work (and where UX research happens)
- How UX researchers work
This high-level talk is designed for market researchers, qualitative researchers, and early career UX researchers who want to experiment with new research methods and techniques in the areas of digital experiences, product design, service design, customer experience, or innovation.
I also gave my point of view about how (or if?) UX and CX intersect—plus showed lots of visuals and examples. Attendees of my talk also learned how to conduct a product research method called “Kano Analysis.”
(Shout out and thank you to Rachel Wang, my QRCA reporter on the scene, for the thoughtful write-up about my talk!)
UX Research Resources for Beginners
If you’re just getting started in the field of UX or UX research or want to learn more, here’s a list of resources I assembled:
UX Research Methods
UX Research Deliverables
UX & UX Research Books
- Human Factors in Systems Engineering by Alphonse Chapanis
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- Measuring the User Experience by Thomas S Tullis and William Albert
- Understanding Your Users by Kathy Baxter, Catherine Courage, and Kelly Caine
- Build Better Products by Laura Klein
UX & UX Research Blogs
UX Research Tools
UX Career Tips
- How to Conduct an Open Card Sort Analysis Using Miro
- 16 Tips for Conducting 100-Person Focus Groups and Brainstorm Sessions in Zoom
- Evaluating UX Research Plans & Reports
- When to Use Which UX Research Deliverable
- Takeaways from My 2020 QRCA Conference Talk: UX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing