User Research Book Summary - User Research Book explained in key points
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User Research summary

Stephanie Marsh

A Practical Guide to Designing Better Products and Services

3.8 (70 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

User Research by Stephanie Marsh is a guide to conducting effective research on users to inform the design of digital products. It covers methods such as interviews, surveys, and analytics to gain insights into user behavior and preferences.

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    User Research
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    User research is a key business strategy, but make sure it’s above board. 

    Being a natural-born number cruncher probably didn’t do much for your popularity in the playground, but it does set you up for success in the job market. Today’s data-driven world is mad about numbers. The folks who know how to collect and analyze them are ideally placed to help companies conduct user research.

    User research is key in any business strategy, and there’s never a bad time to do it. Let’s say you’re developing a new product. The first thing you’ll want to find out is straightforward – will folks like it enough to reach for their wallets? Well, you’ll only know if you ask them – that’s user research. When you’re still in the early stages of product development, it’s enough to sketch your idea on a piece of paper and see how people react to it.

    This way, you gain a sense of whether your product addresses a common problem. If you get positive feedback, you might be onto something. Now’s the time to start investing time and money. Your aim now is to perfect your product. If you’re working on something that already exists, user research will help you beat the competition. 

    Like all experimental trials, user research should be carried out according to legal and ethical requirements. The key here is transparency. Make sure participants know what they’re taking part in and be upfront about your objectives and methods. In practice, that means using your first research session to explain everything and ask participants for legal consent to have their data collected, saved and used.

    It’s also important to tell them whether you’re recording their data. If you’re using video or audio equipment, point that out. You should also make sure you’re clear about whether or not you’ll use their data for other research purposes. Once you’ve explained all that, you need to explicitly ask for their consent. If they withhold it, end the research session immediately and destroy the information you’ve collected so far. 

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    What is User Research about?

    User Research (2018) is a practical how-to guide for entrepreneurs, researchers and managers interested in answering the most important question in business – does your product meet your customers’ needs? Drawing on author Stephanie Marsh’s years of experience in user research, these blinks present the most commonly used methods, clearly describing the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

    User Research Review

    User Research by Stephanie Marsh (2021) is a valuable resource for anyone looking to understand the importance of user research in designing products or services. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The book provides practical tips and techniques for conducting effective user research, helping readers gain insights into user behavior and preferences.
    • By highlighting real-life case studies, the book demonstrates the impact of user research on successful product development, making it relevant and inspiring.
    • With its accessible writing style and engaging examples, the book ensures that user research is not just another mundane topic but an intriguing and valuable endeavor.

    Best quote from User Research

    Make sure the research participants have understood what you have told them, and that they are happy to go ahead with the research.

    —Stephanie Marsh
    example alt text

    Who should read User Research?

    • Entrepreneurs working on the next big thing
    • Managers looking to optimize their business strategy
    • Researchers investigating user experience testing

    About the Author

    Stephanie Marsh is a user research expert based in the UK. She is the head of user research and analysis for the Government Digital Service, an official body tasked with the digitalization of public services. Before taking up her current position, Marsh was a consultant and led user experience design firm, Bunnyfoot. Her previous clients include the BBC, Arsenal Football Club and EasyJet. 


    © Stephanie Marsh, 2018. This Summary of User Research is published by arrangement with Kogan Page.

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    User Research FAQs 

    What is the main message of User Research?

    The main message of User Research is the importance of understanding users and their needs for creating successful products and services.

    How long does it take to read User Research?

    The estimated reading time for User Research is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is User Research a good book? Is it worth reading?

    User Research is a valuable read for anyone interested in user-centered design. It provides practical insights and techniques for conducting effective user research.

    Who is the author of User Research?

    The author of User Research is Stephanie Marsh.

    What to read after User Research?

    If you're wondering what to read next after User Research, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Mindset by Carol Dweck
    • 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk
    • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
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