We asked our resident researcher, Kyle, to weigh in with his thoughts on this article. In case you don’t have the time/desire to read the full article, it makes the case that demographics alone aren’t adequate in brand positioning. Kyle’s thoughts on it, and on user research in general, are below.
In the social sciences, a special technique called “triangulation” is used to ensure the insights obtained are valid. In the context of user research, this means looking at three things — what users say, what they think, and what they actually do. Putting these together allows for a more holistic understanding of the user.
The end goal of user research is to find and account for the differences between what users say, think, and do. Taking the model one step further, we can even look at what people “make,” which has been pioneered by Liz Sanders and explored in her book Convivial Design.
User experience designers need information about the people they’re designing for, which comes through demographics to an extent. But designers also need deeper inspiration that stems from empathy into the users’ attitudes and behaviors (i.e., psychographics and behaviographics). User research allows for “informed intuition” that feeds innovative experiences that delight customers. So ultimately, delighted customers must begin with deep user research.