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The State of User Research Report 2019

We did some research to learn how UX professionals are approaching research, what's working and not, and what inspires them every day.

Editor's Note: We updated the title from "The State of User Research Report 2018" to "The State of User Research Report 2019" to reflect the year it was released and maintain consistency with later editions of the report.

Survey design and analysis by Erin May. Writing and graphics by Carrie Boyd.

User research is on the rise. More and more companies are putting user feedback and insights in the place the belong—front and center. This is a great thing, a trend we’re happy to be part of and help celebrate.

To kick off the year, we wanted to zoom out, and take stock of the state of user research as it stands right now. In our first annual State of User Research Report, we heard from 169 professionals who spend at least 10% of their workdays closely involved with user research. We probed into how they [perhaps you] spend their time, what they love, and don’t love, about practicing user research today, their hopes for tomorrow. The results have already been helpful for us internally, as we seek to build better products and experiences for research professionals, and we hope they’ll be enlightening for you as well.

Here are some highlights of our research, followed by more detailed analysis, and ending with an appendix containing charts galore.


1. More research please

75% of our respondents said their companies didn’t do enough research. The same percentage said they could do more to use the research they are doing to make smarter decisions. As the industry moves forward to conduct research more habitually, an important aspect of its success will be making sure teams are empowered to maximize the use of the research that’s happening.

2. Research helps teams understand customer needs and make better decisions

Our respondents’ favorite thing about research is the ability to make decisions with better evidence (40.7%). The top goals of their research programs overall? To understand customer need, rated at a 4.6 out of 5 in terms of importance, closely followed by validating early stage solutions, a 4.4 out of 5. We were happy to see understanding customer need come in #1.

3. Researchers think their programs are effective overall

On average, our respondents rated the effectiveness of their research at a 7.5 out of 10.  There’s a high correlation between how effective researchers view their efforts and how fulfilled they are in their roles. Those who reported they are more fulfilled at work (5 out of 7 or more) rated their effectiveness at a 7.9 while those who feel less fulfilled rate it at a 6.5. Which came first, fulfillment or effectiveness? We can’t say, but we dive into what makes teams feel effective and fulfilled below.

Carrie Boyd
Former Content Writer at UI

Carrie Boyd is a UXR content wiz, formerly at User Interviews. She loves writing, traveling, and learning new things. You can typically find her hunched over her computer with a cup of coffee the size of her face.

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