Frameworks or Artifacts


Can we have a talk about where the value of research really lies?

Is it in making easy to consume and understand artifacts to be used for and by something else like research study decks, personas, experience maps, empathy maps, and so on…

Or are those just the artifacts du jour of a practice that informs much more than designers?

I know this is controversial. But how do you feel about it? Do you feel research is a tool of design or a standalone practice?

Safe space for discussion caveat as this is about opinions. Opinions are neither right nor wrong, they just are.


That’s a tricky one. I mean, I think the real value is in the information that’s gathered and the knowledge that’s spread - but putting together the evidence that shows it is how others will assess what learnings have been made.

At the end of the day, we’re trying to help our colleagues make better better decisions about the things they’re making. Often, it’s up to us to help others track the impact we’re having.


Exactly. Research is it’s own practice, but it helps design quite a bit.


That’s pretty much where I fall, Research was kind of back-drawer for a long time in tech. At best a large org might have reference librarians.

Design opened back up the spotlights on the critical need for research in products and services that not only are critical defining desirability but feasibility and viability too.

It also makes what are typically things most people won’t engage with (research reports and reading) into easy-to-digest the critical meanings from for stakeholders.

Research wouldn’t be “back” without design as a practice and craft, AND the forward-thinking efforts of people like Nigel Cross, Richard Buchanan, Bruno Latour, Jorge Frascara, Don Norman… the list goes on and on in the design thinking and design philosophy genre


I’ve been trying to write an article about this for a few months now but I keep getting tangled up in my own rhetoric.

Research has always been considered a costly venture and ‘UX’ somehow managed to hoodwink people into allow it to be done because they used seemingly non-traditional methods and expressed it was part of the design process.

We’ve come out the other side of that now and where businesses of certain size acknowledge that customer experience is the true value of a modern organisation the investment it research is justified because they want to know what people want and what makes them tick.

It’s both a good time and a bad time.

What I see now is that the UX movement is majority accountable for the issues we all face today on how research is continually repeated and wasted because as an endeavour UX never concerned itself with what happens next just what happened then.

It interests me that a high number of the individuals who are now pursuing research operations and everything around it are also the same who were advocating the death of reports, running lean and all things agile.

Perhaps they’re now realising that the governance they were shunning for so long was necessary for sustainable design and operations of business.

I don’t know if that makes any sense or not, probably why I am finding it so hard to write this article.


I’ve been sitting on an article about exactly this without publishing it since early this year because it might get me in hot water and I’m not in a position to lose my job and just find another one right now. Jared Spool’s rather cheeky reply to Alan Cooper comes to mind every time I think about hitting the button.


Let’s just say while I certainly appreciate the help that design and design thinking philosophies and methods have given to bring back user research (I love all that old stuff by the monster-minds of that field) I do NOT appreciate how non-empirical research became. I understand well that research does a lot to help design, and vice versa because of the current climate in technology but I work with and for everyone in my org, not just design.


Oh man, I have to temper my inner Spool all the time. :slight_smile: Glad I’m not the only one.



I am relieved I’m not the only one as well!