The following principles ensure we’re adhering to industry best practice and that our user research is robust, valid and insightful.

We’ve based these principles on existing industry best practice advice, that is specific to us and how we run our research. These principles give us the flexibility and freedom to do our best work while also helping us be consistent and transparent, delivering research of the highest possible standard to our wide range of clients.

1. Share what we do and involve everyone from the start

We involve everyone required for the project from the start. Doing this ensures we capture all requirements before the project commences. Everyone knows what’s needed and why.

It’s equally important that the research results are shared so that all interested parties know the findings. We ensure our research data is open, structured, and accessible to non-researchers so everyone can look for answers and access insight without us.

2. Set research objectives, and stick to them

We will not perform research without a clear objective up-front. Having an overarching objective ensures that the research stays on track and that we’re not distracted by new inputs part-way through a project. A clear objective enables us to plan for more focused research.

3. Represent the voice of the user truthfully and accurately

When running and analysing testing, the truth is paramount. Our analysis will be clear and evidence-based to avoid making assumptions about user behaviour. We have measures to ensure that bias does not creep in, for example, from leading users or cherry-picking findings.

Findings from our research are always represented in a manner that accurately reflects the thoughts, opinions and actions of participants.

4. Be methodical but bespoke

Choosing the correct methodology for each piece of research is as essential as undertaking the research itself. We will use tried and tested techniques, but user research is not a 'one-size-fits-all' discipline. We choose the appropriate method for each project, with the number and type of participants varying depending on the project.

We will assess each case individually and choose the best approach accordingly.

5. Be inclusive

It is imperative that our testing considers the needs of all users. Testing sessions need to be accessible for those with additional support requirements. The types of participants chosen also need to be fully inclusive, rather than just representing stereotypical users.

We strive to ensure that our research is open to everyone, and that their access needs are catered for.

6. Be upfront when uncertain

We will not report unvalidated findings based on hunches or assumptions. Instead, we will report only what we observe, whilst being upfront about any gaps in the results. We will indicate where further research is needed.

It’s vital that our research gives a solid foundation for decision making so all key findings need to be backed up with evidence.

7. Report on user actions

During the research, participants often tell us what they think we want to hear. When required, we challenge these statements. We also observe actions, as these are often more insightful than words. If a participant ‘fails’ a task as part of user testing, this is a more valid finding than them claiming that a website is 'easy to use'.

Ensuring that we report on actions and experiences, rather than comments, ensures that we’re basing our insights on less subjective material.

8. Respect privacy and don’t make users uncomfortable

During the research, we treat participants respectfully; this is particularly important regarding their privacy. We inform participants how we will use their feedback and who will view/read it. Participants also need to be comfortable participating in the research and are free to change their minds and cease participation at any time.

This is not just a legal requirement, but also a moral obligation. It’s not a box ticking exercise but instead is a way to help us get the most from our participants in a manner that they are comfortable with.

9. Research regularly

User research is not a one-off project, and user research is never ‘complete’. While always considering previous research, we recommend (for all involved) performing research regularly to validate or challenge previous findings and uncover new ones continuously.

10. Keep improving

User research is an ever-evolving discipline. We reflect on our work frequently, share experiences, and ask for advice when we need it. By staying up to date with the latest thinking and being flexible in our approach, we ensure that we are constantly evolving to deliver the best results to our clients.

That applies to these principles and all aspects of our approach to research with people.