UX research: 'Faster horses' are all you need

Last year I posted a Nielsen article, UX without user research isn’t UX on LinkedIn. It sparked my interest as we regularly say similar mantras here at Webcredible so it felt worth sharing. It attracted 29 likes and 28 comments, my highest engagement for any post on any social channel, ever! What was most satisfying was the calibre of the people commenting but I would expect that from the UX Strategy and Planning Group (join in if you haven’t already).

At Webcredible we work across multiple sectors, digital channels and products and every minutia of the UX spectrum for each individual project is bespoke. What we can’t advocate enough for pretty much every project is user research and testing. It is the only way you can identify the user requirements and validate if your product works with your audience.

Recently I recalled this post as I have started seeing people challenging the incorrectly attributed quote from Henry Ford which is often used against user research, or as the starting point for arguing for it.

Henry Ford: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

If Henry Ford had done his research and received this answer it would have been the job of the researcher to identify the key nugget and user requirement – FASTER

I believe I have missed the important element in this quote all this time, maybe who ever actually said this wasn't against research. If Henry Ford had done his research and received this answer it would have been the job of the researcher to identify the key nugget and user requirement – FASTER, which would have given him the evidence he needed to innovate and use as the basis of his marketing (rather than any colour as long it is black).

As Rolls Royce did with their advert back in 1907.

Rolls Royce: The Best Six-Cylinder Car In The World

As UX specialists, it’s our role to spot this information and translate it to user requirements that mean we design products to fits user needs (in this case building something faster than a horse). This mythical research would actually have been the best start to product design as it provides no solution, just the requirement.

At Webcredible we interpret user research into the best design solution for the audience - all it can take is one element of information or a series of commonalities for us to deliver a highly successful digital product.

Give us a call to see what we can discover and design for you!

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