User research in 5 (easy?) steps

Conveniently, Smashing Magazine (are you subscribing to their RSS feed?) just published a guide (with pictures!)  on a five-step process for conducting user research. Please use it to help you with your upcoming assignment.

See also their article on data-driven design. It explains how you can ground (re)design decisions in data and shows a case study.

On a related note, lest you think design is easy, consider this: in a recent usability study, half of the participants were UNABLE to find a product on shopping websites and add them to their cart.

Good design is not easy. It takes a lot of iterations and user research. Perfect design is impossible. There will always be a group of users whom the design doesn’t serve well. There will always be errors, trade-offs, and frustrations. This is why it is important to learn a reliable process that’s more likely to take us closer to good design.

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