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Assumptions in UX Research

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Received wisdom does not equate to fact

This quote from American writer, Emily Levine, summarizes where many organizations find themselves. Assumptions are counter to what UX or any research is attempting to achieve.

“When you’re surrounded by people who share the same set of assumptions as you, you start to think that’s reality.”

Generally speaking, assumptions represent the business view and should be acknowledged as incomplete knowledge and challenged by data from research. If anything, assumptions can be used to form a hypothesis, which research can either prove or disapprove. We all can tend to make assumptions about what people want or need. The very act of acknowledging what these are is a hugely important first step in establishing facts that we can work from and act on.

Establishing what facts are

Here are some simple definitions that may help when attempting to categorize the data you have before any research begins.

  • Assumptions are made without supporting evidence.
  • Presumptions can be based on evidence, but are unproven.
  • Facts are supported directly by evidence or data.

What assumptions or presumptions does your business have about its customers?

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Rick Monro

Rick Monro is UX Director at Fathom. He has extensive experience in user research, interaction design, user-centered design, and design strategy with private and public sector organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Appraise practices for planning UX research
  • Critically evaluate the roles of innovation and users in User Experience (UX) research
  • Evaluate cognitive biases that can affect research data

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

If you are interested in learning about the principles of UX and the tools or techniques that you can use to develop and refine your user's experience, DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:

DMI Short Course: UX Essentials

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UX Research
Rick Monro
Skills Expert

With the help of Rick Monro, you will develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective user experiences. You will learn how to think like a user in order to understand their priorities and needs, and you will recognize the role of various research and analytics techniques such as tree-testing, card-sorting, user-testing, user-surveys, Google Analytics and specialized tools such as Click-tale.