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I am very interested in Usability research and testing, but I don't share the developers' and designers' passion for the actual design and product creation. Does it mean that I shouldn't be doing UX in the first place?

I've never been obsessed about IT/web/mobile design and it seems like UX designers should have that passion... What I'm excited is making user experience better and in the same time helping businesses to increase their conversion rates. Not sure now if that will be enough though.

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_but I don't share the passion for the actual design _ - that pretty much sums it. There's is still a lot of cool stuff in UX testing, though :) –  c69 Nov 2 '13 at 22:51
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2 Answers

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There are many UX designers/developers that come from a visual design and programming background, and they don't have much interest or idea bout usability research and testing. Do you think that they should be the one's driving UX design and decisions?

One of the biggest problem I see with UX design these days is the obsession and focus on the user interface. I sometimes think they are using the interface to fix the problem with the design of the software, rather than using the software to help make a process or experience better.

I think your idea of trying to strike a balance between what the business wants and what the user wants is a good place to start. There is definitely room for people who want to focus on the research and evaluation side of things, but you still need to familiarize yourself with the other aspects of UX design so you can have a decent conversation with the other people that will help you to deliver the best user experience possible.

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Thank you for your answer! I'm already familiar with webdesign and development tools and currently mastering more advanced prototyping techniques ... I guess newcomers sometimes get overwhelmed and perhaps many pro UX's developed their passion in the process, rather than had it in the first place. Anyways, let's see how it goes for me :) –  Valerie Nov 2 '13 at 23:31
    
I see the testing and evaluation as a critical part of the UX design process. After all, we are designing for the users and not ourselves, and there has to be some way for us to validate the assumptions we have made about users, and ways for us to improve the design in a meaningful way. I hope you can be an advocate for more and better research in the UX projects :) –  Michael Lai Nov 3 '13 at 7:22
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Perhaps it simply means that you should focus on being a UX researcher instead of a UX designer. There are generally fewer roles for researchers than designers, but there are still opportunities for those of us who love UX research, and who understand design but aren't designers.

Personally, I've been a UX researcher for 12 years. I'm definitely not a visual designer (I can barely draw a stick figure!), but I can research how visual design impacts the ability of a user to complete a workflow or their impression of a product. I'm not an interaction designer either, but I can research whether an interaction meets its goal, and I can do formative research that helps interaction designers decide where they should focus their design resources.

I think that having an appreciation for good design is necessary for being a research, but I don't think that having that same passion for creating the good design yourself is necessary. I am good enough with applications like Photoshop, Omnigraffle, and Balsalmiq to use them for my purposes as a researcher. I am a pro with email, calendar, PowerPoint/Keynote, and the other applications that are most important to me as a researcher.

I like UX research because I like challenges, and I like answering difficult questions. I like being able to work with designers and developers to figure out what they need to know. After all, just like users can't always articulate what they need to solve a problem (or can't always articulate that there's a problem at all), designers and developers can't always articulate what research they need to help them create a better design or better code (or can't always articulate that they have a a research need at all). I like working with designers and developers as the research is conducted, so that they can have a strong understanding of what is learned during the research and how to move forward with it. And I like working with designers and developers after the research is done so that we can together determine how to handle changes in schedule, changes in plans, changes in business goals, and all of the other changes that occur during the software engineering lifecycle.

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