Research is about questions.
Regardless of your methods, you need a way to validate design decisions. The problem is that many people think that research and confirmation are the same things.
Here are the main components of the scientific method: research, hypothesis, experiment, result, and report. Remember this. It can change your life.
The problem with UX design is that people often mistake brainstorming for research. But research is based on questions, not ideas and suggestions.
When asking a question, especially to yourself, it is very important to choose the right type of question. There are different types of questions:
- Closed-ended question: Is our target audience gamers?
- Leading question: Apparently, gamers might like this, right?
- Open-ended question: Who is most likely to want to buy this?
Depending on the type of question, you will receive different types of answers.
A closed-ended question can, in fact, be answered only with “yes” or “no” – after all, the question itself is based on the assumption that gamers are the target audience.
What if it’s not? Then, you need to return to your original position because your unsubstantiated assumption was wrong.
A leading question suggests a larger number of answer options, but they appear under the influence of the question text itself. Perhaps you will get an affirmative answer (if gamers are a completely possible answer), or any other answer that will still be a logical continuation of the gamers option. (Perhaps gamers will like it, but …)
But if the target audience is actually quite different – for example, women with just born children – you may never know the truth, because the question does not include them as a possible option.
The study is conducted by open-ended questions:
With open-ended questions, you won’t have the above problems, and therefore open-ended questions are suitable for research. Instead of trying to confirm and advance your assumptions, you will be guided by the principle of “anything is possible, but something is right” and will begin to receive information – whatever it is – rather than confirming hunches. Huge difference.
Is my idea a hypothesis or a guess?
The hypothesis emerges from an open-ended question. If the question is “Who is most likely to want to buy this?”, And after collecting a lot of evidence, you come to the answer “gamers” – this is a hypothesis. So, you need to create a design and test it on gamers. Good job!
A guess emerges from a leading question (that is, a guess). If the question is “This will probably appeal to gamers, won’t it?”, you start checking gamers and stop at this option, unless you get a clear “no” answer. You’d better do some more research because you could very well be missing out on a lot of money…. that’s why research is questions, not confirmations 🙂