UX stands for “user experience” and includes everything the customer experiences while trying to accomplish a task in software or a digital product. UX Designers spend their time at work planning, researching, and prototyping products and features to give their customers the best experience possible.
This post will focus on one of the most important aspects of a UX Designer’s job: user experience research.
What is UX Research?
UX research is a combination of market analysis and recent UX trends. At large companies, UX research may include recruiting users for focus groups and usability testing. Since many UX Designers work at small companies that can’t afford to do their own massive studies, it’s important to know where to look to get great research on the web. Sources range from heavily detailed articles on specific topics to common rules and guidelines.
Staying up-to-date on the latest UX research will help you (and the product you work on) stay ahead of the curve.
Great Sources for UX Research
Free Online Publications:
UX Movement is an online publication that “teaches you how to design intuitive user experiences through innovative tips, techniques, and best practices.” There is a huge catalogue of helpful posts that are organized by category, like Forms, Navigation, Buttons, and more. Some of the posts are sponsored, but it helps keep the rest of the content free.
UX Matters is another online publication that provides “insights and inspiration for the user experience community.” Many writers with a passion for UX contribute to this community, which means that there’s a ton of useful information to read through. In fact, there are 160+ topics covered on this site, all relating to user experience.
UX Booth is a website full of UX articles that are aimed more at beginning through intermediate-level UX Designers. This is a great place for those who are just starting out.
UX Planet is a Medium publication dedicated to user experience. They have a whole section for beginners as well as many articles that are translated into Spanish and Arabic.
UX Myths is similar to other publications based on UX except there’s a twist. Every article is based on a “myth” or common misconception about user experience design. Reading over this list is a great way to purge any biases you might have when getting started.
If you want to conduct your own UX research on your product, UX Check is a great place to start. It is a free and easy to use Google Chrome Extension that helps you audit your website for usability—how easy and pleasant a products’ features are to use.
The Baymard Institute offers a massive catalogue of UX research, including large-scale e-commerce research, benchmarks, UX case studies, examples of page design, and more. The price tag is pretty hefty, but a lot of this research is data that can’t be found on a small scale.
Without going into too much detail about the plethora of A/B Testing products that exist, software like Optimizely make testing different usability flows on a website easy, even for less technical users. This is a great way to collect your own research about your product.
While Stack Exchange is well known in the developer community as a place to get help with tricky coding problems, many people don’t know that it has a whole UX site. Searching for a question you have on UX Stack Exchange is a great jumping off point. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can ask the question yourself and someone from the community will help you out.
The r/userexperience subreddit is another great place to connect with the broader UX community. There are over 54k subscribers who are happy to answer questions, direct you to resources, and share their insights.
Do You Want to Conduct UX Research for a Living?
If reading about usability research all day at work sounds like a dream, then you’re in luck! UX Designers have never been in higher demand in the tech industry. First, read a little more about the UX Design Process and then check out Udacity’s UX Designer Nanodegree program to get started today.