User research methods
Whether in B2C or B2B, "User Research" is a foundational element of the User-Centered Design (UCD) process. Initiating the coding of a system without it is akin to taking a shot in the dark.
Choosing the right method
User research methods fall into two categories: quantitative (e.g. surveys) and qualitative (e.g. field research and interviews).
Quantitative methods involve measuring the behavior of both users and machines in a quantifiable manner, making statistical analysis easier. Examples include questionnaires asking users feedback about the machine output (e.g. lags, or data format) and software or hardware A/B testing for machine performance evaluation.
Qualitative methods are, instead, focused on gaining a deep understanding of the user's environment, conditions, and needs. These tests involve recordings, field observations, and interviews.
Three reasons to apply User Research in Industry
Relevant design: Tailoring systems to meet specific needs is crucial for every industrial sector and company. Only by understanding user needs an Industrial UX (iUX) Designer can create systems that meet requirements.
Intuitiveness and ease of use: High usability is non-negotiable. Usability tests are essential to achieving simple interactions and self-learning interfaces that users expect today.
Cost reduction: In an era emphasizing cost reduction, UX design, and particularly User Research, should not be underestimated. Post-coding design adjustments incur much higher costs, emphasizing the importance of user-centric planning.
In the B2B world, there's no "one size fits all" solution. Careful consideration of goals, context, and limitations is essential. Regardless of the chosen method, the user must remain at the process's core. User Research, an integral part of the UCD method, provides the data needed to propose innovative solutions in the industrial world, improves safety and efficiency and offers a competitive advantage fostering customer loyalty.