Let’s set one thing straight, market research is not the only thing to factor into the user experience. There are a variety of tools and resources that user experience experts utilize— user research being one of them. We incorporate specific user research methodologies into our market research practices in order to assist the user experience and drive usability. Product managers, the ones often incorporating market research into the user experience, need to make sure they have a good understanding of the differences between market research and user research to be able to shape the right user experience.
Market Research and User Research: Two Different Things
Market research, as we already know, seeks to gain a better understanding about consumers— sometimes on a broader scale. User research, on the other hand, is all about the users of a particular product and often entails more detailed or in-depth results and smaller sample sizes. More specifically, market research provides a direction based on consumer feedback, while user research provides an action based on user needs. For example, during new product development, market research can be conducted during exploration or ideation in order to identify a need, define a target market, or analyze the competition. User research is conducted post-market research to develop features and specific product attributes before returning back to market research to test and prioritize them:
Often many researchers don’t recognize the difference between the two because they are so closely related with only small variations in targeting and methodologies. While they do differ, it’s important to use them together before working to design the user experience.
Together they Shape the User Experience
Market research, in combination with user research, helps to identify the insights needed to understand the user experience. UX encompasses the aspects of a website, application, or other technology from the user’s point of view. Product managers, or UX designers themselves, are tasked with implementing market research across the product development timeline to build the right experience for their users.
Our approach to market research (and user research) can shape the user experience by
- Addressing consumer wants and user needs at every stage of product development
- Providing a consistent, agile, and iterative approach to research to align with product development processes
- Developing an understanding of the market direction versus product design
To learn more about how to apply market research to product technologies check out our eBook, which provides a guide to successfully incorporating user insights throughout development.