Research Is a Method, Not a Methodology

by Kevin Godby

All projects should include research.

In an article I found recently by Dan Saffer, he provides a counterpoint to this widely held belief.

Saffer claims that there are only eight conditions that require user research. If you or your project doesn’t fall into one of these categories, you shouldn’t need user research and can rely solely on the designer’s experience.

  1. You don’t know the subject area well.
  2. The project is based in a culture different to your own.
  3. You don’t know who the users are.
  4. The product is one you’d never use yourself.
  5. The product contains features and functionality that are for specific types of users, who are doing specific types of work, work you don’t necessarily do yourself.
  6. You need inspiration.
  7. You need empathy.
  8. You don’t have much expertise.

Some questions that this raised for me are: Are there any projects that fail to fall into at least one of these conditions?

What do you think?

References and Resources