Just wondering if anyone has had the experience of purchasing a NN/g report, which seems to be an authoritative and often quoted reference for things UX and web design related.

I am trying to justify the cost of spending money on the report instead of actual user research (i.e. no budget), but I was wondering how much of the research is general insights versus specific and actionable recommendations that you can apply directly and then test and customize for your own specific situation.

If the NN/g report is not suitable for use in this situation, is there any other research that can be purchased which will?

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    They do offer free reports - nngroup.com/reports/free - which give an idea of what's inside, to help gauge if they can be useful. Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 23:48
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    @EvilClosetMonkey I am aware of the free reports (and have read them), but still wondering if anyone else has tried to implement recommendations from the report and if it was easy for them to do so. Or if there are other's similar to NN/g that are more suitable with this kind of intention in mind.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 1:16
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    "Actual User Research" is never "no budget": You will need someone's time to actually run the test, You'll need subjects; meaning some sort of incentive (even just a coffee). If you're looking for specific user types then you'll also need a researcher to find them... You could do all these things yourself but, while you're doing those, you're not doing your regular work = not free. You need to take these things into account when you're figuring out your budget to buy in a report or do it yourself. (And I'm sure, if you asked, NN/g would send you some sample reports from other projects). Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 7:26
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    @AndrewMartin if you find yourself in a project where the build has already started before design, then you can almost be certain that no time or resources has been allocated to 'actual user research'. Yet there is still demand for design input from the UX person to make decisions, so that's what this questions is trying to address.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 23:26
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    @MichaelLai - I wasn't suggesting otherwise. I just suggested that you need to take your time and effort into account when you're balancing it against the expense of paying for a report from someone else. Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 7:09

3 Answers 3


I will just take one of the use cases here.

E-commerce reports can be really useful when you're trying to justify certain use cases to stakeholders. (For example, it can help you understand if forcing users to sign up before checking out is a good or a bad idea) It can also help in understanding user behaviors, navigation patterns and better checkout processes. I've seen that stakeholders need a lot of justification when it comes to designing exeprience for e-commerce platforms. These reports can come in handy there. The e-commerce checkout usability report by Baymard institute is also helpful.

One of the free reports from NN/g helped me in understanding the design processes/workflows of UX designers that later paved the path for performing a better informed primary research. I've written about my experience with these reports here. So, even if you've some budget for primary research, these reports can be a good starting point for your secondary research.


I found them great in those cases where your web site is targeted against several different groups of people and you need to prioritise your research activities.

I'll usually talk and observe the primary user group while I use secondary research for secondary user groups or for secondary tasks. For example, a while ago I did this Press area for journalists and based my design on the findings in the NNgroups Press report. The client was more than satisfied with this approach.

This approach is also partly discussed in the book "Web anatomy – Interaction design frameworks that works" by Robert Hoekman Jr and Jared Spool.

Also, referring to secondary research done by credible sources usually makes a design easier to "sell".


I haven't purchased any of the NN/g reports, but I have taken several of their courses (they call them UX conferences) [https://www.nngroup.com/training/]. One of the side benefits of attendance is that NN/g puts most of the full reports on display for browsing and purchase. A second benefit -- they discount the price of the reports for attendees. I know that doesn't directly help you, but if you're thinking of taking one of their classes these specific benefits might help you decide.

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