Skip to content

24 ways to impress your friends

Bringing Design and Research Closer Together


Comments are ordered by helpfulness, as indicated by you. Help us pick out the gems and discourage asshattery by voting on notable comments.

Got something to add? You can leave a comment below.

Philip Morton

As someone who does research for a living for big clients on big projects, I can appreciate how easy it would be to drop it from small projects, especially given everything else the team would have to do.

I think the easiest way to understand what you’re missing by not doing research is to realise how many assumptions you’re working on and the risk that these bring. In my experience, assumptions that are not validated in research are the cause of almost all bad design decisions.

Even if you can’t do any research with users, you should think about the big assumptions, the big questions: What is the role of this website? Who are its users? What are they trying to achieve? What’s important to them? Often these basic assumptions are not known and you should always seek to clarify them, either through research with users or the client.


Nice article! My take-away message = “Adopt a questioning strategy”.

Also, Textile-typo alert: the link syntax is backwards. Thought you’d want to fix it.


Great article and resource list! See also Tomer Sharon’s <a href=“”>It’s Our Research</a>, an exellent book on the importance of including everyone, and not just the specialist(s), in the research.

Emma Boulton

Hi Joe,

I would at the very least always ask the client who their target audience/s are and what existing research they might have. Sometimes just having this kind of conversation can be very revealing and starts the tone of the project well. You can actually find a lot of free data out there in a relatively short length of time – for example the Census website in the UK or Pew Research Centre in the US. Basing your decisions and discussions on the user or audience can help with the tricky ‘I don’t like yellow’ discussions too.


Fenni Smykker

Good article and great insights. However, in reality many designers cannot conduct a good research. Their brains are filled with their own crazy ideas and thoughts.

More and more companies are outsourcing research part to 3rd party. It is very difficult to have a designer with research and systematic mind sitting in your office.


Very intuitive post. Research is a big need, however, I wonder what advise you might have for the smaller mom and pop company just venturing into designing their first website and are working with a very small budget.

Impress us

Be friendly / use Textile