Monday, August 10, 2009

UX research vs Market research

I was recently asked what is the difference between UX and Market research, and why are both needed. Was it possible to just have one research team?

I looked at a few posts and sites about the differences, and to summarize:

Market research
- Focuses on larger samples
- Focuses on what people say
- Focuses on what people will buy

User research
- Focuses on smaller samples
- Focuses on what people do
- Focuses on how people will use

So is it important to have both? I’d say yes, since they focus on different areas. UX research often feeds directly into design decisions, where as marketing research feeds into business/strategic decisions.

Is it important to have coordination between the UX and Marketing team? What I found was marketing research could help drive specific areas the UX team can focus on.

Another reason to coordinate internally is to avoid bothering users too much. I realized I had no visibility on customer surveys being conducted by the Marketing team. Since some of our users are contacted by both teams, I’d hate to send a survey out at the same time and bombard the user with questions.

An interesting point about Apple’s approach of not using market research from Jobs: “It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”

This goes completely against UX principles of focusing on user experiences. But Apple is successful. Why do you think that is?

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