How do you get clients to understand the importance of UX research?

How do you get clients to understand the importance of UX research?

As designers, we know the importance of UX research.

But, getting clients and stakeholders to “buy in” is a different story. Many clients don’t understand the nuances of the design process- especially the value of research. It’s especially challenging to demonstrate the value of UX research to them. Often, clients equate more designs, screens, or features with progress, but research is crucial. If we create without direction, we’re probably not designing anything useful. So, how can we effectively communicate the value of UX research to our clients?

One of the common questions I get, especially from fellow freelance designers like Nina, is: “How do you get clients to understand the importance of UX research?” It’s a legitimate concern that many of us face in our line of work, and here’s my take on the issue and some actionable strategies.

The Uphill Battle

It’s a challenging task to persuade clients about the value of UX research. Often, clients equate more designs, screens, or features with progress. They see numerous wireframes, user flows, and deliverables as signs of a product moving forward. As designers, we understand that if we’re not addressing the right issues and continue to create without direction, our efforts can be in vain.

A significant part of the challenge arises from the fact that many clients are unfamiliar with the UX design process. They don’t grasp how interviewing users or brainstorming with post-it notes can lead to a more effective product. Another aspect is the delay in realizing the consequences of neglecting research. If you’re not consistently evaluating your designs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re on the right track. But the lack of research often surfaces in the form of negative reviews and feedback post-launch.

Making The Case for Research

To effectively communicate the value of UX research, we must make the consequences of overlooking it real and tangible for our clients. A personal experience might illuminate this further:

I once worked on a platform for car dealerships. The project involved a flow for the dealership owner to set up their account, add branding, invite team members, and be billed based on the roles of these members. However, during user testing, a consistent pain point emerged: users were uncertain about the roles and how to assign them to their staff. Despite my insistence on the need for research, the client’s directive was clear – keep designing.

Taking matters into my hands, I tested and recorded users navigating through this confusing section. I compiled a video showcasing users hesitating, looking perplexed, and eventually abandoning the process right before the crucial purchase step. Showing this video to my client made the message loud and clear. Watching potential users disengage due to a design flaw was far more impactful than abstract discussions about the value of research.

The Way Forward

Showcasing real, immediate user feedback, be it through videos, screenshots, or direct testimonials, is arguably the most potent way to demonstrate the value of UX research. Building and designing without understanding the user experience is like shooting in the dark.

In essence, if you want clients to value research, make them see its absence’s immediate consequences. Remember, we can design continuously, but if we’re designing the wrong things without understanding our users, we’re wasting precious time and resources.

For those with further questions or insights, reach out to me at Maybe I’ll tackle your query next!

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