Have you ever started the UX design of a specific project and realized that a project exactly similar to yours has already been done in the organization?

The possibility of this happening in organizations is very common, especially in established companies and businesses.

To start or complete a UX project, you don’t need to do all the research yourself. If someone has done research before you and published the results, you can use the same.

Secondary research, which is known as secondary research or desk research, means collecting data from previous research in the field related to the project.

Secondary research is one of the most fundamental parts of a UX project and allows the UX designer to rely on previously collected data to start a project and UX research and not reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

In this article, the introduction of secondary research in UX and its steps in a project have been discussed.

The importance of research in UX

In user experience (UX) design, our main goal is to create an excellent and satisfying experience for users. But how can we make sure that our design creates the best experience for users? To answer this question, we need UX research. UX research helps us bring the best user experience to our users. Because UX research helps us identify the needs and problems of users and thus improve our design.

Also, by conducting UX research, we can know the market and competitors and provide the best competitive solutions to improve the user experience. Overall, research in UX is essential to improve user experience and provide better and more efficient solutions.

Secondary research in user experience design

Suppose your team is going to design the UX of an online shopping application. One of the most important steps for this task is to use the experiences of users from using similar applications and to generally understand the needs of the audience in using this product. There are two ways to do this:

The first way is for the UX design team to set up a survey and ask users to participate in the survey.

The second way is to use the results of research that other people have done in this field.

The first method is time-consuming and expensive. While the second method saves both time and money.

What is secondary research?

Secondary research in UX means studying and examining the achievements and results of previous research and studies about the user experience of a specific product. In this research, various sources are used such as scientific articles, books, reports, internet resources, and the achievements of past internal and external research.

The primary goal of secondary research in UX is to better understand the needs and issues related to user experience design. By studying previous UX research, you can find out the best design methods and solutions and use the experiences and knowledge of others.

In general, secondary research helps you to:

  1. Study and review the results of past research in the field of user experience design of similar products.
  2. Understand patterns and methods in design.
  3. Identify best practices and design strategies.
  4. Check out other people’s experiences and results in UX design.
  5. Gain a deeper understanding of the user experience domain.

By searching academic databases, reading scholarly books and references, and reviewing trusted websites, you access secondary research related to UX and use it to improve user experience design.

The difference between primary research and secondary research

Secondary research and primary research are two different types of research, each of which has distinct characteristics and processes.

Primary Research

  • Primary research involves gathering new data to answer UX questions.
  • This research method is often done using direct methods such as interviews, surveys, field observations, or experiments.
  • In primary research, the researcher directly interacts with the target community.

Secondary Research

  • Secondary research is based on analysis and inference from previous data.
  • This type of research includes the use of written sources, scientific articles, books, similar reports, online databases, and other sources.
  • The purpose of secondary research is to retrieve and analyze the information available in scientific and industrial societies.

Types of secondary research in UX

Secondary research is divided into two main categories: internal and external secondary research.

Internal secondary research means collecting all relevant research findings that are available in the organization. These findings include data from initial projects, customer journey maps, product manufacturing technical maps, results of external consultations, or results of various workshops.

External secondary research focuses on sources outside the organization and includes sources such as scientific journals, public libraries, open data repositories, internet searches, and reports provided by reputable organizations.

Steps in conducting secondary research in UX

1. Determining the research topic

In the first step, it should be determined what the subject of the research is. In other words, what elements and factors are to be checked? For example, in the redesign of a product, it is necessary to identify some issues that caused problems in the old design to fix them in the new design.

2. Identification of internal and external sources

After determining the research topic and specifying the desired factors, we must look for the most relevant and appropriate internal and external sources available so that we can use their data in our research.

3. Collecting and analyzing data from internal and external sources

To effectively use source data, we must carefully evaluate them and keep in mind that they may have flaws, errors, or limitations. Re-examination of previous findings and results helps to use the experience and in addition to fixing its limitations and updating some cases, it can also be used for future research.

4. Review of secondary research findings and evaluations

After gathering relevant information, write a summary of the findings and review it with your team. You may need to go back to the first step or use other resources.

Benefits of secondary research in UX

The two main benefits of secondary research in UX are saving time and money.

Since the data you need already exists, you can conduct UX research without wasting time or spending high costs on data collection.

Challenges of secondary research in UX

In secondary research, one of the main challenges is to convince the team to use the available data. It may seem that these data are not able to be valued and compared. But if you carefully collect data and use it properly; you will see a significant improvement in the initial research of the project.

Another challenge of secondary research is finding reliable and high-quality sources. In some cases, it is difficult to find available and suitable data. Since the data in secondary research have already been collected, their results may not be valid for the new research context. Therefore, we need to look carefully at the available data and the sources we use.

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