User research, or user experience (UX) research, is a vital part of the UX design process. Usually the starting point of a project, user research helps designers analyse users needs and then come up with the right product ideas.
By gathering qualitative data from users, product designers can make out what is available in the market, what the users want and how to fill the gap. This is the foundation of any successful product development.
Reducing risk is ultimately what user research aims to do; but other than that, there are other reasons why user research is so vital for a project.
Conducting user research helps you to make a better design of the product. It helps you to understand the exact requirement of the users and come up with products that meet those requirements. User research is crucial from both a designer and a business perspective.
If a product is developed without conducting proper user research, the end product may not meet all the requirements of the user and probably requires a lot of rectification and modification. The further you are in the product creation process, the more costly it is to identify design flaws and functional issues. And this is in terms of both money and time.
Ultimately, user research means the difference between designing a product based on guesswork and creating a product that solves a real, actual user problem. User research is all about understanding users’ needs. It is about targeting the right users at the right time.
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The steps above are called thematic analysis, you can read more about it over here: How to analyse user interviews?