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Making user research deliberate

To be deliberate. Something that’s done consciously and intentionally.

Being deliberate is thinking about who the users of your service are, taking the time you need to understand what their needs are.

Being deliberate is having a plan about what you need to learn. It’s making sure you know when it’s time to leave the plan behind and just talk to people.

Being deliberate is giving your full attention to the person you’re talking to. It’s a measure of stillness. Engaging in active listening, letting other people speak and resisting the urge to interrupt.

Being deliberate is making the time and space to include other people in your work. It’s making sure that everyone is learning about user needs.

Being deliberate is getting to a shared understanding of what we think things mean. It’s intentionally asking “why” to move beyond the surface of a problem to discover the underlying issue, motivation or need.

User research can happen without any of these things. Be deliberate about how you make it happen.

Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.