The UX research reckoning is here

The UX research reckoning is here
The UX research reckoning is here

‘The user research discipline over the last 15 years is dying. The reckoning is here. The discipline can still survive and thrive, but we better adapt and quick.’ – Judd Antin

Judd Antin, a seasoned leader in research and design teams at companies like Yahoo, Meta, and Airbnb, explores the transformation that the user-research field is experiencing.

Antin unpacks where user research has gone wrong over the past decade and introduces the three types of research—macro, middle-range, and micro—and their distinct purposes.

Table of Contents

  1. Shift in User Research
  2. Three Types of Research
  3. Phenomenon of ‘User-Centered Performance’
  4. Misuse of User Research
  5. Aligning Research with Business Goals
  6. Considerations when Hiring User Researchers
  7. Need for Change
  8. Issues with Middle-Range Research
  9. Misalignment of Researchers’ Role
  10. Importance of Integrating User Research
  11. Vicious Cycle of Hiring Researchers
  12. Evolution of User Research Role

Shift in User Research

Over the past decade, user research has shifted towards symbolic customer obsession rather than genuine learning.

This trend needs to be rectified to ensure the relevance of user research.

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Three Types of Research

User research can be classified into three categories – macro, middle-range, and micro.

Macro focuses on strategic business aspects and innovation; micro involves technical usability studies for high-quality products; while middle-range often lacks impact despite being intriguing for researchers.