User Research in Product Development

José Moya

What is User Research?

User Research is the understanding process of target users and their principal features. It includes their needs and primary necessities related to market research. About this, designers get a perspective on how to make a bold and helpful design. User research looks for methods to solve potential problems and crucial factors.

Its purpose lies in placing the design process into context and making it real. It looks for solutions when facing problems to solve. It defines the market and target addressed to express what product or service is needed. So, it helps to get things done by understanding design from the mind and not just technologies.

User Research represents a fundamental insight into what we need for product development. When it comes to it, most people think they know what to cover first, but they ignore some crucial questions. What is essential for my project? Why do I need it for software development? How can you get research in this early stage? So, let's read this article to find out how to start user research and product development on the right foot!

User Research in Software Development

How to do User Research?

There are some essential techniques to consider first, such as:


This refers to analyzing what the customer reads and will not, the things he loves and the ones he hates. This part comprises keywords and interactions when choosing a product or clicking a website.

A/B Tracking

This consists of creating some versions of a "provisional" site or product. It also tests them to know which options get more interaction with the user.

Card Sorting

This technique refers to testing some previous options with determined people. It includes an examination with a list of choices. They must put them together to define which structure most people will choose. This helps determine which version would be the standard way to organize things.

When to Apply User Research?

In terms of stages, this option will cover three main steps to creating a product or website, which are:

During Previous Research

This is the best time to start tasting a cart sorting option. It helps get information about the client's thoughts about a possible product. It helps to determine if the client knows the product and its features.

During the Research Process

This time, eye-tracking can be tested via a selection between possible mockups of a site known to the user.

Real User Researching

This one implies testing one or all three techniques at once. It includes real users after finishing the beta version of a product.

User Research in Software Development

Main Types of User Research

This method comprises many different types of versions. However, this one can be organized into three frameworks.

Attitudinal vs. Behavioral

It checks user behaviors to understand how a user can react through examination. It helps to catch all the emotions the client experience when choosing a product. In sum, attitudinal research measures what your customers say, while behavioral research measures what they do. This analysis can be beneficial for developers and designers to get how users will reject-accept functions and features.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative

In quantitative as opposed to qualitative studies methods, UX is studied in comparison. Qualitative Research relies on non-numerical insights like opinions and motivations. Meanwhile, quantitative research gathers data points in a measurable form. With the aid of using frequency and occurrence with deeper scrutiny, we usually cover it. This method seeks to locate the why at the back of the events and their frequencies.

The Context of Product Use

This one involves researching and investigating what the participants are getting into consideration. It refers to recognizing a product or service by asking for a first impression or showing other options. For these purposes, it considers both context and inquiries. In this sense, context analyzes users in their natural environment. Further, it focuses on everyday activities conduction. Moreover, inquiry involves researchers asking for information about why users do what they do.

Choosing the proper User Research

Determining categories is the best way to know what user experience you should use. Developing a product must include a timeline, systems, restrictions, and environments. This means you should create a triangular plan. It counts on products, technologies, and methods to know which one fits your project.

User Research vs. Usability

The main difference between both is that user research analyzes who the user is. Conversely, usability comprises if the project gets what we want them to experience. This implies that the first one provides the main ideas while the other analyzes how they work.

User Research in Software Development

User Research Stages in Software Development

Early Software Development

It is fundamental for each product development, especially in the early stages. It gives the importance of knowing what a customer thinks about a design to see if it fits what a client wants. Based on this, the principal features that help product development are:

Time Management

This means involving user research in development simultaneously with the other product stakeholders. It helps not to waste time and money without waiting for its final version.


The essential part is the adaptability and flexibility that meetings have. Creating sessions should be helpful at the beginning to know where to start and when.


The first thing to consider is not forcing adaption if no information is available. This represents the importance it has to know the audience your product has. User research can be beneficial at the early stages. Due to its impact, you can agree on getting aspects of competition, positionality, and unseen versions. Also, not creating a product without enough information cannot be successful.

Market and Partners

User experience helps to know what the market gets used to. This implies getting in touch with people you are unfamiliar with about their work. This stage comprises what the competitors and partners expect about your product. At the same time, this can be accompanied by advice or the best ways of thinking.

Development Stages

Product development requires more information for product development, including its initial stages. Regarding this, some essential steps that are affected by this method are:


User research affects it because a client can change a complete design. This refers to suggestions that appear when a customer sees the possible product.

Technical Tasks

Another exciting stage that is affected is the technological approach. After receiving suggestions, a developer can use new technologies to get things done.

Testing Day

This is the most affected stage since it is when the product meets the client. At this point, everything can happen and start from scratch or not. This involves the final thoughts that user research can give and the possible ways to apply them.

User Research in Software Development

User Research Benefits

What customers think about your product is essential for knowing what to expect. It can benefit your business since it helps test future user interactions. This is when we see the difference between what you think the client requires and what they need. Some of the most beneficial aspects that user research gives to businesses are:

● Reduce cost and time
● Optimize task performance
● Improve details and look of products
● Avoid mistakes and possible problems
● A better understanding of business models
● Employees can get familiar with the product earlier


User Research covers more than developers think to create a product. Analyzing experiences through this method is necessary to understand the needs and goals. Choosing the proper user research can help to shape an outstanding development at the right time!