A month has passed since I started to work at Human Interfaces as a UX Researcher, coming from a different field (mass consumption market research) and country (Peru). Based on what I have gathered so far in this time, there isn’t a single definition of what UX is and I doubt I can give a coherent one with my (so far) limited exposition to it. Still, I’m going to try to compare my experience until now with the five years of market research work I’ve done, if anything just as a record of what I thought after the first few weeks of my new job.
A little background information about me first: in my work as a Market Research Analyst, I’ve come into contact with different industries and categories, ranging from Banking to Cosmetics, to Dairy all the way to Telecom. I’ve worked with small and big businesses, in small and big studies, as the agency and as the client, using quantitative and qualitative tools. So after being shown the facilities of Human Interfaces, my first impression was, “this looks awfully familiar”: the rooms, the one-way mirrors, the tools, the recruitment, and the prolonged, deafening silence when everybody’s working. So what has been different?
One thing I can say is that the focus of research is very different: UX centers on the object itself and the relation (frustration or satisfaction, for example) between it and a person. Market Research, on the other hand, is removed from the object and therefor more abstract: it speaks of things like brand loyalty, market share and segmentation, and consumer behavior. I believe that in order to be a good UX researcher you have to understand the object of study, how it came to be and how it’s used, unlike with Market Research (the extent of my knowledge of dairy is that milk often comes from cows, and I never planned to try on any rouge). The degree of involvement with the object of study requires and develops a level of expertise seldom found in Market Research, which is something that excites me.
Both UX and Market Research relate to each other, though: a good user experience often translates to more sales, a larger market share, better consumer satisfaction and loyalty, for example. It’s all connected.
Again, this is my first, very brief impression of UX, my “initial discovery”. The chances of me reading this down the line and thinking how wrong I was are very high, but if nothing else this is one of my first documents, along with my market research maps and charts, of my incursion into (seeming, but not quite) terra aliena.
Rodrigo Gonzalez Jeanneau is a Social Psychologist with years of experience in mass consumption market research and business development. Rodrigo, as a new researcher at Human Interfaces, is eager to bring a different perspective to UX research. If you need help from a full-service UX research consultancy for a study, recruitment, or facility rental, feel free to contact us.