As designers, one of our main priorities is to communicate design decisions to an audience. Specifically when presenting work and getting buy-in for different paths and approaches. A designer's experience counts for a lot as through countless projects - we learn more about how users behave in different scenarios. We amass a lot of knowledge from past work and projects.
Knowledge, though, is not always enough.
If we have the opportunity, we always want to inform our design decisions with user research and convey this research to the audience when presenting work. Additionally, it's not uncommon for design to come from one's personal opinion. Not only will everyone have a different opinion, but we should make collective decisions based on more than that. So, the more we can do to back up our work with data, the better..
We can (and should) use research to inform our design decisions, educate stakeholders, and ultimately back up our work to get it across the finish line. User research is valuable and necessary in its own right, but there’s a lot of other research readily available to us. If we can use research as evidence, we can use evidence to communicate and persuade.
It amazes me how much free, high-quality information Nielsen Norman provides. Getting their newsletter is one of the highlights of my week, and it’s the first source I turn to when looking for data to back up design decisions. A big thank you to the Nielsen Norman team!
UX Stack Exchange is fantastic because there are bits of gold scattered everywhere; you have to do a little hunting and pecking to find them. The ability to have a conversation and ask questions to a community of people that share similar traits and struggles is excellent.
UX Myths collects the most frequent user experience misconceptions and explains why they don't hold true. To see an example, see Myth #3: People Don’t Scroll.
I want to make a special shout-out and mention the Silicon Valley Product Group. It didn’t make my top three list only because it’s not strictly for UX/UI research. We will inevitably get involved in product strategy as product designers, and SVPG is an excellent source for product strategy learnings.
Here are a handful of other great research resources!
Is your job transactional or transformational? We all trade time for money, but what else are you getting from it?