It’s our job as designers today to make sure that what we’re producing is not made entirely of aesthetic choices. But that what we are trying to communicate comes from informed and measured decisions. That way a clear and strong concept is in place, which truly aims to creatively solve the problem.
A way to achieve this is can be to use ‘Formative and Summative Research’ tactics. Formative being the research that explores ways to gather insight into a specific area of focus, to help determine or define a question. Furthermore it “aids in problem identification and problem solving.” We’ve experienced this type of research if we’ve ever participated or conducted in surveys, questionnaires, or prototype testing. Now summative, also known as conclusive research is used to inform whether the prediction of the solution was on track or completely flawed. This research is also attained in the same way as formative, by questionnaires, surveys, or even web analytics. Both go hand in hand in the design process, formative research happening before any designing happens, while summative research would take place after a design is in place; checking whether it was successful or not.
Just think of how many websites and apps are constantly getting updated or fixed because of user feedback… This is how we know that the process is tried and true and vital to the design process.
So if you want to know your audience and how best to captivate them, DO YOUR RESEARCH!