10 articles to help build your user research skills

productfernJune 29, 2020

User research is such an important part of your toolkit – whether as a user researcher or as a business analyst. Initially it can be hard to understand how to build your user research skills. By reading these 10 articles not only will you start to build your user research skills but you’ll have ten new areas to search for excellent user research content.

Building your user research skills

These articles will all help you form a solid base to conducting and building your user research skills.

UX Field Guide

Start with the basics, and this excellent UX Research Field Guide from User Interviews is an awesome introduction. It is broken into 8 modules, from an introduction through methods all the way through to logistics and building teams. Each module has chapters with a whole load of links. You can even get it emailed to you too. The best place to start building your user research skills!

In addition, I really recommend this article about user research sprints from Lookback. It can be hard once you get into user research to understand how it fits into the development cycle. The 5 day research sprint which they propose is a great place to start.

UK GDS Service Manual

If you’re based in the UK then the Government Digital Standard is something you should be referencing. It is used widely across all Government departments but also adopted in the private sector. GDS is a huge proponent of user research and pushing the discipline forward. In the user research section of the service manual, they cover many different UX methods and how it fits into the wider project.

Tips on UX methods

Once you have your basics down, it can then pretty difficult to know what method to use and where to go from there?! I hugely recommend the Nielsen Norman Group for articles on every aspect of User Experience you have ever wondered about.

Their article on ‘when to use which user experience research method helps to break down just where to start. They rank 20 different methods and compare them to decide when to use which. I guarantee they then have a follow up article on everything you wanted to know about the techniques itself!

Once you’ve picked the methods you are going to use then these 8 tips on how to do UX testing from Fuzzy Math help to break down what you should be thinking about no matter what.

And no matter what method you are following, you need to make sure that your findings are valid. Have a read through these 4 steps to ensure the validity of your data from People for Research to make sure you are doing it right.

Image showing a woman drawing a wireframe of potential screens using her user research skills.

Understanding and explaining user research

One of the key user research skills is actually being able to articulate and share user research with others. By communicating the value of user research, you will get buy in from your stakeholders and hopefully more time and budget to conduct your research. I loved this use case example from Bunnyfoot about user research, insights and accessibility.

If you need to talk to others about the business case behind user research and why it is so valuable then this article from Akendi on making the case for user research is excellent. It gives an actual percentage breakdown of the impact of doing research on your product.

Image showing a man drawing wireframes for an app with an iphone.

Managing remote user research

I can’t share posts about user research skills without mentioning anything about how a lot of user research needs to be remote at the moment! ExperienceUX have a great article discussing their move to remote user research and what things should be considered to make it successful.

If you’re debating what different tools you could use when working remotely then this Career Foundry article covering the top 7 remote user research tools is a good place to start.

What next?

For more background on user research and how it links into business analysis, check out ‘what is user research?‘. If you’re interested in other options for remote tools which will also be excellent for user research then have a read of ‘10 great tools for remote product management and business analysis‘.

Do you have a useful user research article? Comment below!

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