Updating our user research principles
We got a lot of inspiration from our first set of principles, but we knew we could do better
Last year the growing team of user researchers at dxw came together to document a more consistent way of working. We set out 10 principles to guide the way we approach, do, and talk about research. We also drafted a workflow that describes the types of things that user researchers usually do on projects.
Reflecting on our principles
Over the last year and a half, we’ve been living with the principles and workflow. Using them to guide our work, help new team members, keep improving as a team, and working with, not for, our clients.
We got a lot of inspiration from our first set of principles, but we knew we could do better.
Some of the principles overlapped, and some could be clearer and simpler. We also realised that the descriptions were too long and too descriptive, making them hard to remember and follow.
Bolder titles and shorter, clearer descriptions
So, this year we spent some time revisiting our principles and workflow as a team – extracting, regrouping and refining the most important points.
We now have 8 principles with bolder titles and shorter, clearer descriptions:
- Help teams understand people
- Find the truth. Tell the truth (Credit to the great Dana Chisnell and the United States Digital Service for this one)
- Take ethics seriously
- Be methodical, but not rigid
- Learn, share and adapt
- Make research inclusive
- Build on existing evidence
- Accept and admit constraints
Building our practice
You’ll find the updated user research principles and their supporting descriptions in our Playbook. We love them, and we regularly reference them in our work.
We’re also creating a more detailed guide on how we do research at dxw, which includes the updated workflow. We’re finding this invaluable as our user research practice continues to grow, based from both our Leeds and London offices, and working across more and larger projects around the country.