7 June 2010

On user researchers and behavioural economics

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UX Matters
UX Matters has again published a couple of great articles:

So, you want to do user research: characteristics of great researchers
By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain (Metric Lab)

“One of the best things about user research is that anyone can do it. On the other hand, it takes real commitment and a lot of personal development to do user research well. People commonly assume that research is research—and doing any kind of research is better than doing none at all. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Not all user research is created equal. Flawed research can be a significant liability to the success of a product, as well as the company developing it, so it really is important to get it right.

To be effective, there are certain personal characteristics a user researcher should have. Whether you are a dedicated user researcher, a student who is considering a career path in user research, a UX designer or software engineer who sometimes gets called upon to do user research, or a stakeholder looking for research support, this column will help you to understand the personal characteristics that really make a difference to a user researcher’s success.”

Designing with behavioral economics
By Peter Hornsby

“Much of economics theory is based on the premise that people are rational decision-makers. In recent years, behavioral economics—also known as behavioral finance—has emerged as a discipline, bringing together economics and psychology to understand how social, cognitive, and emotional factors influence how people make decisions, both as individuals and at the market level. Many of the findings of behavioral economics have a direct influence on how users interact with a product. In a worst‑case scenario, a product’s design may encourage user behaviors that are detrimental to users’ best interests.”

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