EuroIA 2015

Madrid, 24 – 26 September


Whose User Research? The fuzzy boundaries between design research and marketing research

A talk by Alessandro Catania

User Experience is a mature discipline that encompasses different types of activities, including User and Design Research. Publications on User Research (Hall, 2013), interviews (Portigal, 2013), observing UX (Goodman, Kuniavsky, Moed, 2012), describing approaches and methodologies to integrate research phases within design projects have fully legitimated this activity within UX and Service Design.

But where does User Research stand compared to other forms of research? In particular, where does it stand compared to some types of Marketing Research? The integration between different disciplinary fields becomes today even more centrals as we question the “quality” of UX. What quality? Who measures it? How? With which competencies and approaches? Quality from whose point of view? The User? The Organisation? … As the integration becomes even more vital, the boundaries between disciplines and approaches become increasingly fuzzy.

Among these multiple questions, this presentation focuses on problematizing and discussing the relationship between UX activities such as User Research and (pre-)existing marketing research approaches used to provide an understanding of users and customers.

Rather than fueling the debate about the legitimacy of different disciplines, the presentation illustrates and discusses different models of integration between the two types of research activities though a series of illustrated Attoma’s case studies.

These examples will show the challenges of articulating these two dimensions providing a chance to analyse and discuss the methodological, organisational and cultural reasons underpinning an integration that is very often not (yet) mature.

Alessandro Catania

Holding a PhD in Cultural Studies and Media at the University of Nottingham and Master’s degree in Semiotics at the University of Bologna, Alessandro is an expert of qualitative research on users, brands and strategy. He worked as research manager in for media consulting companies, digital agencies and marketing and brand strategy research firms in Berlin, Geneva and Paris. At Attoma Paris, he is responsible of the User Research activities, from the design of research methodologies to the recommendations to bring user insights at the heart of enterprise innovation strategies and design projects.

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