User research is used to examine the needs and objectives of the software’s end users and identify any challenges posed by the work environment. They will form the goals and requirements of the software development project, the implementation of which will be validated through user testing.
User research is best suited for the first phase of a project when developing a new application. However, it is also useful for the further development of an existing application.
User research is used to examine the following:
- Are the users satisfied with the functionality, usability or appearance of the software.
- How well is the software suited for its intended purpose and how can it be improved.
- Whether the software lacks important additional functionality.
- Is the software suitable for its usage environment (contextual inquiry).
An investment in user research will pay itself back, because it will:
- Enhance software development. Projects will be completed more quickly and the need for further development is reduced.
- Lighten the burden on your company’s customer service, reducing the number of contacts related to software problems.
- Increase customer satisfaction. Your existing customers will remain loyal, and their praise may bring you new customers.
An investment in user research can bring about a significant competitive advantage by providing information on what the clients want and what they demand from the product.