Some reasons I've been told for why we can't do research and/or testing:
- There are corporate spies out there and they will steal our ideas.
- Asking questions makes us look like we don't know what we are doing and our customers will leave us.
- Asking questions makes you look like you don't know what you're doing. Why did we hire you if you don't know the answer already?
- It's too expensive.
- We've tried to do research and testing in the past and it didn't work.
- We can get the answers in [event tracking software].
- Steve Jobs didn't do research.
Hi there Mitch,
That's some very interesting arguments you've been given. Of course, reasons for not conducting user testing are plenty, and most of the times they aren't based on any substantial evidence. I think convincing anyone that user testing is valuable is challenging since people are prone to sticking to their initial opinion. However, I still think it's worth a try and backing up your argument with data and use cases, such as examples of how other designers/companies do it, and potential benefits of user testing for the long run is usually the best bet. Of course, understanding where the other person comes from is also important.
Yep agreed. Sorry if I was being glib; this is a sensitive subject for me. I just spent the last 10 months trying to convince people to do research and failed. What I’ve learned is people don’t make decisions based on their best self-interest. They do things based on their value system. The evidence for conducting research is clear. However, within this company, "being correct" was valued. So when I asked questions about our users and their contexts, it conflicted with that value system. "Why don't you already know the answer?" No amount of data or logic or evidence could change that perspective; it was engrained in the culture. What I needed to do was to reframe the research so it worked within that value system. But before I could figure that out how to do that I got burnt out and quit.
Contrary to popular belief, Steve Jobs did do research. He was just saying that he didn't do certain kinds of research (market research). Not all methods are created equal. https://medium.com/@mktgwithmeaning/that-steve-jobs-research-quote-should-rip-e8f3335ec66
This where I get pedantic and suggest it's not user testing, it's usability testing. The aim is to test the usability of your product, not test the users.
Not exactly. User Testing seems to be a broadly encompassing term (much like User Experience Design) — for instance is card sorting usability testing? Not exactly. Is ethnographic research usability testing? No not at all. Usability benchmarking is probably the best way to get non-product people to understand the value of research, because watching users struggle to use something they're responsible for is generally deeply embarrassing.
User Testing is a bunch of activities product professionals can use to uncover true sentiment and opportunities for a product to address.
TO me User Testing is testing user opinion - best for deciding if a product is even needed or wanted. Usability Testing could include card sorting but, yes, not ethnography. However, the article detail seems to conflate the two, which was really the point I was making.