Recently, Bluetext has been engaged to design and develop several global, enterprise class websites that have required a significant amount of user experience research. This more immersive step in the full lifecycle of our design process has become increasingly more critical given the role corporate websites play in the overall go to market strategy of any successful brand – and as such often begs the question – what is the difference between market and user experience research – and which is more important?

The short answer to the first question is that market research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods – focusing on a large sample size that verifies insights with large numbers – primarily to get an understanding of what people want to buy and why. User research is exactly the opposite – it’s not about demographics, markets, pricing or trends that capture generalizations – it’s about how your customer feels about using a product or service – preferable yours. User experience research is more valuable than its market brethren in that it provides direction about what aspects of your experience will meet your customers needs that we identify during the UX research process and answers the question of how and why they buy your product. User research helps us understand how your buyers live their lives, so that we can respond with an informed and inspired design strategy that creates a more direct and effective pathway to their innermost needs. And since we are creating design solutions for customers who are typically nothing like our clients – user research also helps them steer clear of their own biases

Because UX research isn’t interested in the statistical validity of large sample sizes, it focuses on smaller audiences to delve into the innate desires of the user to discover how your customer will actually engage with your product, providing us with the window to see what they actually do during that experience to uncover needs that could not otherwise be articulated.

We have discovered that research of any kind is far less about designing a product to address the demand of a specific market than it is about capturing deeper insight into the subconscious motivations of your buyer to create an experience that people actually want to use – before the market for it even exists. So if you want the answer to the second question – just ask Apple.