User research

See the web accessibility guidance that’s relevant to user research.

Note: Digital practitioners often perform a mix of design, development and testing activities. Even if you’re mainly a user researcher, be sure to check out the other roles for guidance that’s relevant to the work you actually do.

What is user research?

User research is about understanding end users and using these insights to inform the products and services that we design and develop. It involves learning about:

  • how users think, their goals and their needs
  • why users behave as they do and how they really use products and services
  • what causes problems for users and how to solve them.

User researchers also consider business needs, finding solutions that satisfy both business and user goals.

Core skills and knowledge in user research include:

  • familiarity with user experience (UX) research tools and techniques for conducting qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • knowledge of design methodology, principles and best practices
  • in-depth understanding of user interface (UI) design and how to evaluate common UI elements (labels, instructions, error messages, help text)
  • proficiency in digital design tools for creating research artefacts to share with stakeholders (user journey maps, personas, scenarios, affinity diagrams, storyboards, prototypes)
  • developing user-centred research plans
  • screening, recruiting and scheduling targeted end-users for participation in specific research studies
  • writing interview scripts, discussion guides, surveys, questionnaires, and tasks for usability testing
  • interviewing users, facilitating workshops, conducting usability testing, note taking and managing recording equipment
  • analysing data, synthesising and communicating findings to represent the user experience and drive business goals.

Relevant Web Content Types

User researchers should be familiar with the accessibility considerations of all Web Content Types.

Relevant Knowledge Areas

The following web accessibility Knowledge Areas are directly relevant to the user research role.

Fundamental concepts in web accessibility

How disabled people use the web

Accessible UX best practices