I’ve lost count of the number of groans I’ve heard when the subject of user research comes up.
Most UX designers hate talking to users, and most non-design executives consider research a navel-gazing exercise.
Here’s the thing though: users don’t care about your product.
They don’t care that your product has better specs. They don’t care that it’s newer. They don’t care that it’s technically or aesthetically superior.
User only care about their problems. They care about the nitty gritty details that make something that should be easy difficult and something that should be fun frustrating. So you’d better understand those details like you understand every frustrating moment of your morning commute. And you’d better have a detailed plan for addressing those issues that you’ve vetted with actual users.
User research isn’t about asking users to evaluate their problems. They may not know what they are. It’s not about asking users to design a solution. If it’s a real problem, they’ve already pieced together the best solution they can.
User research is about giving the entire team enough information to make informed decisions about a solution as if they were solving the problem for themselves.
Unless you can honestly say that everybody in your organization is already empowered with that information, your product needs more research.