The UX Researcher's Mindset

Stepping into a researcher’s mindset can be overwhelming for some individuals. There aren’t any firm rules for achieving this; however, by building your own researcher’s mindset, you can ensure that your findings are valid and reliable. This article aims to answer any questions you may have about the researcher’s mindset, helping you achieve success in this field.

How do you move into the mindset of a skillful UX researcher?

There is a time for exploring and a time to focus. When you’re ready to move on to creating real documentation and assets, focusing on the end goal is paramount.

First, you need to think about the interview process. Interviewing different users and clients can be customized to meet the tone and mannerisms of the individual, but this does take quite some time to master.

There are a few things you need to be thinking about when cultivating a researcher’s mindset when asking questions.

Is a repeatable and verifiable process being followed?

A detailed process is necessary in order to ask the right questions; if this is not done, it cannot be repeated and loses its authority as a valid resource. 

Are you confident that the questions you’re asking are right?

You need to ask the right questions to be a great researcher. This means unbiased, neutral questions that will give you the factual information needed for the UX research.

Are the questions staying on target?

It is not uncommon for answers to take a turn down a different route, and it often derails the interview process. Make sure this doesn't happen by steering the questions in the way that will most benefit your research.           

It may be necessary to give the participants room to answer or talk through their thinking. If the question doesn’t give the participant room to talk about the real issues, they may go on a tangent, and you can then understand the real issues they face. As a result, you can reevaluate your questions to address them better.

What’s more, feedback is key. It’s often a waiting game while the clients fill it out, so patience is always important, especially when the results come in and the research can be seen in full.

After all of this has been done, you now need to look at the feedback and see what can be improved when questions are concerned for next time.

User research is not a new invention

It’s no surprise for you to learn that user research and how we conduct user research are not new. It began to gain traction in the early ’90s when Don Norman, working at Apple, came up with the term ‘user experience. He predicted that by 2050 there would be over 100 million UX professionals. And with the UX industry growing by the day, this prediction doesn't look far off.

Research can be carried out in many different ways. Which is the right way?

The way you carry out research is done in a contextual manner by viewing the way users and clients interact with their environment and the decisions they make.
You might have a step-by-step approach to performing research. However, many people often wonder if you need to perform every step during the process.

One thing you should know is that research is not a linear process. Some steps need to be done again if there is an error or an anomaly; being flexible with your methods can be useful when the interview doesn’t go as planned or the participants respond unexpectedly.

Become an expert in UX research and the subject you need to research

All the best UX researchers know everything there is to know regarding UX research. This includes becoming extremely familiar with the subject that’s being researched so the best questions can be asked to users and clients.

Sometimes you need to take a step back from a subject and look at it from a different angle. This will allow you to research, ask questions, and perform your duties more objectively, providing more reliable research than if you had not done this.

However, this isn’t all you need to do to adopt a researcher's mindset. It would help if you also thought of things outside of research. Problems are likely to arise, and you need to find a solution for all of them without them affecting your research. At the end of the day, you are there to give your users and clients a voice of how they believe things to be and come to a conclusion about how things are and what can be done to improve the UX design.

To wrap up

Although there is not just a single approach to performing user and client research, by adopting a researcher’s mindset, you can create a repeatable and reliable process to ask the right questions and come up with the right results for your research. 

Are you in need of seasoned UX designers? If so, contact us today.

Consumer Marketing Methods Insights for UX Research

It’s no secret that user experience research (UXR) and consumer marketing have been the center point of conversation in the design industry. The UX sector has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Consumer marketing is also seeing dramatic changes as research continues to improve the field.

Although UX and consumer marketing are two separate sectors, they have features that intersect, allowing researchers in both of them to learn from one another. For the purpose of this post, we will look at how researchers with a branded mindset can produce more value during user experience research.

User experience research is essential for the intended user and the client

Understanding the unique position that UXR has in UX means that different interests can be identified among stakeholders, designers, and users. However, many of these interests are interconnected. The main force connecting all of these interests is the brand.

With the UXR being located between the user and client, both benefit greatly. The user receives their wants, and the client can achieve their overall goals, creating the best possible situation for both parties.

As a result, UXR plays an important role in helping implement positive change. And it goes without saying that this type of research is fundamental in consumer marketing and can be achieved by discussing core elements connected to the brand.

Understanding that customers have a plethora of choices

Emotions and other factors can affect how users navigate certain things. Therefore, it’s essential for UX research to include brand-experience factors. If not, understanding user engagement and how long they’ll be engaged (even if barriers occur) in the product will be hard to determine.

When users interact with great interfaces that have clear connections to the brand, it’s suggested that they will be more understanding if issues occur. However, the same cannot be said if the brand isn’t clearly represented.

User experience research is so much more than just identifying pain points for users. In addition, it’s about finding the brand interface's effect in terms of a social and sensory experience for the user in question.

How brand perception impacts UXR

User perceptions of brands can determine how their products are viewed. So, brands must learn to capture users’ attention.

The consistency of the experience is also essential. If done correctly, the overall opinion of the company will likely improve. When UXR is concerned, it’s typically focused on the user’s experience with technology. However, when adding consumer marketing into the mix, it’s easy to see that the technology experience is also a brand experience, meaning that the research should include more factors.

Qualitative data that identifies pain points commonly shows a user's digital experience and perception of a brand; this data is intertwined in many cases. Furthermore, every moment reviewed could invoke different reactions due to emotions. It can be said that the cumulative response to the amalgamation of points will develop the perception of the overall brand.

To explore this in more detail, say all touchpoints benefit the user, apart from one. As a result, the brand is likely to be perceived by the negative point rather than all the good ones. This leads the user to view the brand poorly, especially if the negative touchpoint is significant. Thankfully, journey mapping, which is used a lot in consumer research, can be implemented in UXR.

This helps to understand what emotional responses are triggered from different touchpoints. Overall, it can determine how the brand is seen through users' eyes.

Looking at macro and micro perspectives

 If we draw our attention to some of the biggest global brands, you can see their identity is integrated with user experience. Take Coca-Cola, for example; the bottle is uniquely shaped and has a tint of green. Or look at Apple; the well-known brand shows the difficulty of trying to remove user experience from a brand’s identity. All interactions that users have with Apple products show that there’s no escaping brand identity.

To some extent, UX researchers look at the user experience's micro elements, but macro-level factors should also be considered. Macro aspects of the brand identity can influence micro experiences by affecting cognitive and emotional responses. That’s why UXR needs to understand how users look at the brand aesthetics of products and how the brand is viewed overall.

Need help from UX professionals?

At Radiant, our team consists of highly passionate UX designers. We help businesses connect with their audiences without the hurdles of poor interface design and more. Contact us today to learn more!


Wireframe, Mockup, and Prototype: What’s the difference?

To the uninitiated, wireframes, mockups, and prototypes appear to be synonymous. They’re used interchangeably by the layperson and understandably so. But for product and design folks in the digital space, these differentiated outputs serve different requirements. Wireframing, mockuping, and prototyping are processes in the early stages of product development, especially the web, mobile, and native applications. In this context, they’re typically defined as follows:

● A wireframe is a quick sketch of a product intended to convey its desired functionalities.

● A mockup is a realistic design of a product designed to gather feedback on its visual elements.

● A prototype is an interactive simulation of a product designed to test the user experience.

It’s worth noting that diving into each step is not a straightforward box-ticking activity. Instead, these are problem-solving exercises that entail consensus-building, testing, and iteration, among others. For instance, product teams leverage design thinking methods to bring out user-centric approaches throughout the product development process.


Wireframes are basic, black and white renderings that focus on what the features and functionalities are intended to do. For example, a low-fidelity user interface representation depicts how information is structured and which content is grouped. Wireframing is far from drawing up meaningless sets of grey boxes, although they may appear that way. Instead, as the first scratch of a project, wireframes are ideally accompanied with brief notes to explain vital visual elements and how they interact with each other. A wireframe is rarely deployed as a testing material but helps build consensus and gather early feedback. These may even be deployed for guerilla-style research where initial insights suffice and methodological rigor is not yet essential.


Taking off from wireframes, a mockup would then incorporate design choices, particularly color, font, and icons. Designers often include content to approximate the final output, even if these are placeholder text and photos. Visually, the ideal mockup should resemble the intended look and feel of any given digital product. Mockups remain a static output, but UX designers should solicit feedback regarding its visual components and aesthetic qualities. These are also particularly helpful in solidifying buy-in and support from high-level decision-makers, mainly clients and management, by dazzling them with what the outcome could eventually look like.


A prototype may or may not exactly look like the final product, but it should simulate the intended experience. It needs to be stressed that the heart of prototyping lies in user testing. Letting sample users navigate through the interface informs development teams how to enhance user experience better. As veteran UX designers and product teams know too well, prototyping is about observing what users do and not about what they say they’re going to do. In this process, the interface may not yet be linked with backend mechanisms. This enables product teams to test user experience before allowing the developers or engineers to begin their work. Interactivity can be tested with various tools without needing code. Product teams may also do some preliminary A/B testing to compare two different versions of a prototype to assess which one performs better.

Wireframes and mockups present to stakeholders how a product looks and how it should work. On the other hand, prototypes demonstrate how it works.

Wireframe Mockup Prototype
Purpose To develop and gain consensus on product functionalities To collect feedback on visual elements To collect feedback by testing user experience
Visual elements Black, white, and grey boxes that present structure Must incorporate colors, fonts, icons, and all design elements Visual elements must be interactive and demonstrate navigation
Design fidelity Low Medium to High High
Interactivity Static Static Dynamic or interactive
Time and cost invested Low Middle High
Creator Product team, project manager, and UX designer UX designer UX designer and/or developer

Is it necessary to wireframe, mockup, and prototype - and in that order?

This is an ongoing debate; product teams have the ways they have settled into. Resources and time play a significant role in any development process. Some projects can afford to do this step by step and take their time to iterate their wireframes, mockups and even conduct well-structured prototyping studies and experiments. And even then, the envisioned product is not necessarily assured even when product teams commit to all these three design processes as ideally conceived. In other cases, after producing well-designed wireframes or medium-fidelity designs, some teams opt to do prototyping first, even before finalizing their fully designed mockups. It’s also not uncommon for projects with tight deadlines to do their prototyping with an interface already coded by their developers.

Early-stage product development is a dynamic process, each with its unique dependencies, circumstances, and limitations. Even the UX tools and applications at hand influence the design process. Professionals in this space are already well-versed with prototyping tools such as Balsamiq MockupsAxurePidocoPenultimate, and Jutinmind. These tools allow designers and product teams to create, edit and collaborate on wireframes and mockups. Some of these even extends to the creation of interactive prototypes.

Method to the Madness

Designing and developing products, incredibly complex and highly technical applications, is sometimes at its most daunting in the early stages. Wireframing, mockuping, and prototyping are methods to this seeming madness. Product teams, clients, stakeholders, and users can more easily break down the design process into digestible phases allowing for better engagement in the development of the product.

Will you be working on a project that requires careful and deliberate consideration for the user’s experience? Reach out to our experts at Radiant Digital to learn more about our product design and development process.

Designing Beyond the Screen: UX from Digital to Physical

User Experience (UX) is almost always associated with screens and device interfaces. This is, of course, understandable as it was once termed as Information Architecture and rose to its present label only in around 2010. Thus, today UX Designers are titled Information Architects. However, with the growing digitalization of physical products, consumer services, and virtually everything, UX design is no longer limited to the two-way interaction between users and their devices and the entirety of their user experience with the outside world.

UX doesn't have to be just for digital

Collins, a design studio in New York, worked with beauty and skincare brand eos to study how women used lip balm. In retrieving their lip balms, two groups of behavior emerged. One group of women dumped out the contents of their bag while the other spent a few moments digging through it. The fundamental issue they realized was that a stick of lip balm, Chapstick, for example, was difficult to distinguish by feel from lipstick, eyeliner, a roll of mints, or other similarly shaped objects. This became the focus of their design. Their strategy: "Stand out by improving the packaging experience." Its innovative spheric shell can be recognized simply by touch in the dark or inside a cluttered bag. As a result, it generated massive social buzz and drew praise from design circles when rolled out to the consumer market years back. Now a staple in beauty stores worldwide, this design-driven product continues to deliver commercial results for its company.

This is just one of many stories that lend to the paramount value of user-centered design for physical goods. Be it for furniture, children's toys, kitchenware, and other everyday objects, well-designed products make so much sense that they become part of daily lives. The same can be said about today's electronic devices and digital products.

Digitalizing the physical

The past two decades have seen a rapid acceleration in the digitalization of almost everything that can be digitized. Analog devices such as watches and televisions became smart. At-home and hospital-grade medical devices have been transitioning to digital. However, even today's car dashboards are far from their analog predecessors. And while these continue to become more innovative with each new model, challenges in user experience also continue to evolve.

Integrating digital with the physical has likewise been a growing business. Peloton, for example, introduced an interface to stationary bikes. In addition, the internet of things has enabled household devices such as thermostats, refrigerators, and doorbells to be managed through mobile devices. User experience now goes beyond the interaction with a screen but also with tethered devices. 

Augmenting the reality

Further, digital technologies have grown to influence offscreen user behavior. For instance, home workout apps have taken off, primarily due to lockdowns. Similarly, mobile apps that track running and cycling activity would influence users' behavior to increase or decrease intensity on their next session.

UX design takes on a particularly influential role when an application almost entirely guides user behavior while users interact with their devices. Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game, is a demonstrable example of this. On the one hand, studies have proven the physical and social benefits for its users. One key finding of the app was that Pokemon Go successfully targeted a unique set of users: people who are difficult to motivate to be physically and socially active. On the other hand, immediately after the launch in 2016, frenzy's news coverage were reports of injuries and accidents among its users. The game was also criticized for enabling its users to flock to certain memorials and cemeteries. The field of UX is conventionally about enhancing the interaction between users and products. However, this new phenomenon places an unprecedented degree of responsibility on UX designers and product teams to be mindful of their users' behavior in the real world as a direct result of engaging with their applications.

UX Research and testing are no longer a luxury

As human interaction with digital products becomes more dynamic - more physical and consequential - this could serve as an opening for UX designers to bolster their case and bargain for more user research and testing resources. While some are still skeptical of UX research (UXR), thinking that they already know their users too well, in reality, UX research and testing are no longer a luxury. 

UX practices must also evolve by incorporating user environments and circumstances. For instance, UX studies need to go beyond the usual arrangement where UX researchers observe sample users in the exact location. Instead, product teams may explore deploying ethnographic research to monitor how users go about their daily lives and how that shapes their interaction with the application. Designers may also deploy a mixed-methods approach to UX research. In this approach, results from one research method, both quantitative and qualitative, are triangulated with the results of additional ways to build a more comprehensive picture of user needs and behavior.

With the fast-evolving capabilities of digital products in the market, user interactions likewise grow in complexity where the digital collide with the physical and the environmental. Will you be working on a UX design challenge with this kind of intricacy? Reach out to our specialists at Radiant Digital to learn more about our UX methods and expertise.


Powering Up your UX Research with Virtual Reality

Research is vital in UX development and usually involves questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. However, gauging the design's functionalities requires quantifying user interactions and participant behavior. Near-exact experiences of the actual UX design can be helpful in this regard. However, this involves complex concepts and expensive prototypes that are hardly modifiable. Virtual Reality implementation is a context-specific way to overcome these UX research challenges. It helps transport people to many places virtually, teach new skills, and even fight phobias.

We at Radiant Digital are excited about new technologies that can potentially transform how we work! Virtual Reality is one of them. In this blog, we deep-dive into where VR UX research is already in practice and how it powers up UX research.

Why VR in UX Research?

UX research involves gauging user-product interactions within a physical, social, and cultural context. Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance UX research by creating realistic-looking virtual environments (VEs) with better environmental control and ecological validity. Some of its applications include:

  • Researching workflows or interactions in developing virtual layouts.
  • Display or configuration-related details can be built, experienced, and judged in VR.
  • Safety and convenience in UX are other factors that can be effectively reproduced and evaluated by VR.

With VR, researchers can test a product’s user experience with higher visibility cost-effectively.

The Countless Possibilities

VR simulations apply to almost any actual space type in a variety of domains.

  • Workplace occupational safety: VR modeling helps tackle workplace hazards when included in training exercises.
  • Easing mental and physical health problems: VR applications are helpful in patient care, especially in diagnosis and curing phobias.
  • Educational and training environments: Educators can promote skills development by leveraging a virtual domain where the real-world consequences of failing can be avoided.

With multi-sensory features, VR helps replicate an environment for a design and its user interactions while improving the scope for understanding the product’s real-world acceptance.

VR User Testing in the Service Industry 

Providers, primarily in the IT service domain, need to test product performance in near-real environments rigorously. For example, UX researchers can use VR to inject variable attributes into their UX design in a lab setting. This helps evaluate different results for different scenarios, environments, & conditions, or geographic disparities.

VR as a UX Evaluation Tool

VR is helpful for UX research and human–product interaction. It helps with the following:

  • Obtaining insights on the users' needs and expectations by observing and evaluating the users' behavior during design interaction in a controlled environment.
  • Focusing on UX evaluation through optimizing human–product interactions.
  • Gaining information on target users and their behavior in a 3D multi-user virtual environment.
  • Gauging emotional levels during user interactions and translating that to data on the users' preferences and needs.
  • Enabling usage changes while observing natural and subjective responses.
  • Obtaining data related to performance, errors, and learnability.
  • Mediating interactions with realistic and directly controlled user avatars with motion trackers.

Best Practices for VR User Research

VR in UX combines conventional usability testing and a contextual interview. Some unique factors to consider include:


The Environment:

  • Evaluate the space where you will conduct the VR experiments for your design.
  • Configure a "mixed reality lab" for the infrastructure to conduct augmented and virtual reality UX research.
  • Perform safety checks and remove any obstacles to free movement.

The Technology: It is essential to know the underlying technologies impacting your research in a cross-functional environment.

The Subject: Ensure your target users know what they are signing up for by briefing them thoroughly on the requirements and how to handle the experience. UX researchers should ensure:

  • Participant comfort.
  • The clarity in technology concepts and goals.
  • Digital data analysis is done before, during, and after an experience.
  • Awareness of possible motion sickness or mobility issues affecting participants.

The Equipment:

  • Test the VR equipment and the software for performance after synchronization.
  • Check if the gadgets are cleaned regularly and make users comfortable without disorienting them.

Privacy:  UX researchers should clarify what data they'd collect and how it will be used when conducting VR research from a participant's home or device.

Recruitment: Understanding the users' digital knowledge and experience in the VR space is crucial while recruiting them.

Research plan: VR combines physical, emotional, and digital experiences, which mandates clarifying the following:

  • Which aspects of UX design are you testing and whether it correlates to the device setup or the application?
  • What user behavior traits are you observing?
  • What you'll be recording and how?

Make your research seamless by setting up your research plan and the required tools.

VR User Testing

During VR sessions, you must consider the following differences between VR and conventional user testing.

Unfamiliarity with the technology: Users need buffer time to attune themselves to the technology, equipment, and environment. It is paramount to plan and explain the sequence in which the participant would navigate different experiences.

Cybersickness: Please note any symptoms and metrics (such as frame rate, session length, sudden acceleration, standing versus seated position, the participant's age, etc.) of cybersickness and only proceed when the participant is ready.

Facilitation: Noting verbal and non-verbal cues without distractions is crucial while observing the user and their interactions. VR facilitation is challenging because the user experiences a simulated environment context different from that of the interviewer.

Recording and notetaking: Ensure that participants look in your direction to record their expressions and emotional responses correctly. Use cameras and notetaking tools to obtain clear user feedback.

After the Experience 

Post-interview: UX researchers must keep a checklist to clarify the user’s experience with a design and note any negative feedback that can help fix loopholes.

Key Takeaways

VR helps identify the core concepts, evaluation methods, and limitations of your UX design to validate user acceptance. Though VR is still work-in-progress w.r.t market penetration, integrating it with UX research can unfold novel ways of fulfilling user-centric designs.

Radiant Digital can help you convert your Virtual Reality Vision to Enterprise Reality Designs. Contact us to know more.

Incorporating UX Research to Inform Business Strategy in Tech

In the context of the modern tech sector, user experience (UX) researchers, UX research (UXR) approaches, and methods can greatly improve business strategy.  Though UXR is commonly employed in designing software or devices or as part of the service design process, this practice can also provide essential insight and expertise in formulating business strategy.  UXR leverages a powerful mindset and methodological toolkit to ground strategy in the actual needs of customers or the workforce charged with fulfilling customer needs in UXR oriented toward enterprise software or other technology.  Incorporating UXR as a component of business strategy is analogous to making a roadmap from the deep knowledge of the land rather than a cursory survey or guessing based on a few opinions.

The Value Add of UXR in Business Strategy: Beyond Apps

While the most well-known role for a UXR practitioner is to be embedded and work closely with a design or design and development team, the capability these professionals bring to an enterprise extends far beyond the proximate level of product design.  UXR adds value to business strategy because of the broad knowledge base, varied experiences, and can-do mindset of these experts.

For example, UXR is essential to an adaptation of the design thinking process to service design.  Service design applies design thinking to optimize service by directly improving an employee’s user experience of workflows or processes and indirectly improving customer experience.  Service design may be a strategy component, especially when there is a need to pivot or change the business culture to adapt to changing circumstances or customer needs.

Another vital element UXR perspectives can offer to business strategy is an ethical framework based on a deep empathy for the constituents of a business, be they external customers or internal stakeholders.  For instance, social scientists with long careers in UXR, such as Ken Anderson (Intel) and Sam Ladner (Workday), have been instrumental in ensuring that scientifically based ethical considerations are surfaced in strategy sessions with key corporate leaders.

UXR in discovery research and exploratory research can be crucial in knowing when to adopt an initiative or product a bit, pivot, or scrap an idea entirely in the startup world.  In my previous work in startups, there was one case where I used the research method of netnography, a modified approach to ethnography focused heavily on online interaction. It helped guide the design of a property tech application whose purpose was to help people get to know their neighbors more readily in dense, urban settings.  This study surfaced themes of buying and selling goods, leisure, and real estate on Facebook interest groups geared toward the target market.  These insights helped target the UX design of the application and informed the launch strategy.  Alternatively, I led an exploratory research project that triggered the indefinite parking of an application that a CEO thought was a great idea but about which a sample of people in the target demographic was decidedly unfavorable.  This decision was demotivating in the short term but saved the startup time and money to focus on more important initiatives in the long term.

Incorporating UXR into strategic decision-making enables companies to form a complete picture of the current state of affairs, discern how well a current initiative does or meets user needs, or spot emergent opportunities.  For instance, discovery research is a highly effective way to map out what sort of initiative to embark upon or what product to build.  Similarly, ethnographic research as part of a mixed-methods approach that incorporates quantitative trend data can yield insight into the lived experience of workers or potential customers that can surface blue ocean opportunities.

UXR Approaches to Business Strategy

Two UXR-related approaches positively impact business strategy; these approaches are research strategy and strategic research.  While research strategy is the process of formulating and executing a grand vision of how the research will ensure and amplify enterprise success, strategic research is research conducted to set direction, map out strategic initiatives, or surface new opportunities.  Research strategy and strategic research are complementary modalities of crafting a business strategy that is attuned to the needs of internal and external stakeholders and maximally effective in achieving business goals.

In practice, an effective research strategy entails having a UXR or other type of research practitioner with enough access to senior leadership and decision-making authority to determine the direction and execution of UXR or other types of research that benefit an enterprise.  Areas of responsibility for a research strategist should include:

  • overall vision and mission for the research group or function;
  • research topics;
  • research project plans including, goal, design, and methodology;
  • research team organization and deployment;
  • personnel allocation to projects;
  • training;
  • and having a voice in research budgets.

All of these aspects of research strategy must tie in directly to business goals and objectives.

For strategic research, key considerations involve researching early enough in strategic initiative formulation to positively impact selecting initiatives that balance innovation and business goals with the reality, needs, and pain points of the people who would execute or benefit from said initiatives.  Discovery research is a strong approach to strategic research because it takes place before formulating an initiative or design of a product.  Examples of strategic discovery research include Facebook’s pathfinding program or an ethnography of the “day in the life” of a potential customer base that yields insight and recommendations for a new service or product line.  Strategic research is a key feature in building or doing what has the most value for the enterprise and impact for its customers.

Businesses would employ UXR in research strategy, strategic research, or research strategy and strategic research done in concert in the tech spaces.

Wrapping Up

UXR is a transformative value-add for business strategy and can be employed comprehensively and flexibly to realize the grand vision and achieve business goals.

Radiant Digital’s growing UXR practice is ready to transform your business strategy with keen insights and a deep understanding of people.  We are committed to guiding a winning corporate strategy in the ever-changing digital economy.