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User Research

Cognitive Biases in User Research You Should Avoid

Posted by Ravi Talajiya on 31 Jan, 2024

Quick Summary: Cognitive bias in user research can lead to incorrect assumptions. It happens due to optimism and systematic thinking of designers. It’s difficult to avoid, but can be with a little practice. Here we have discussed the top cognitive biases which you should avoid. Let’s explore;

Cognitive biases influence the accuracy and badly impact effectiveness of the user research process. If it has not affected your user experience design by now, there is a high chance that it will affect your user experience (UX). However, if you have done great user research, you are safe.

User research is an important aspect that needs to be done to make a great user experience. With many UX research methods, cognitive biases are the one that you need to be more concerned about. It can affect your user research, its accuracy and effectiveness, leading to the downfall of your user experience or UX design. Knowing about cognitive biases and how to avoid them and design products that users love. There are multiple ways to counter and remove cognitive biases from your design. In this article, we will guide you about cognitive biases and how to avoid them.

TheFinch Design is the leading UI/UX design agency, offering quality and proven UX Research Services, ensuring no cognitive biases are imposed while doing user research. Connect with us if you UX research projects or want to craft compelling UX design for your projects.

First, we need to know about cognitive biases.

What Is Cognitive Bias In User Research?

Cognitive biases are nothing but mental shortcuts businesses take to achieve high goals in a short time. In some cases, it does, but fails in the long run. It can lead your users away from the actual user experience of the design and can have a negative impact on the user about the user research and design. Cognitive biases affect results when we take steps on our beliefs, feelings, and incomplete knowledge instead of doing proper research and using the collected data during UX audit and user research.

Cognitive biases sometimes work to achieve higher goals, but they have more flaws than benefits. You might work on taking multiple cognitive biases in user research to develop a user experience program. However, there are chances that it might work smoothly at the start. Still, in the long run, your user experience has a high chance of being a failure.

Proper user research should be done to prevent your user experience design from being a failure. If you have good knowledge about cognitive biases, you can use them for your own benefit. But avoiding them is better in most situations. There are many types of cognitive biases that will affect your user experience design. Take a look at them and make sure you avoid them while doing user research.

Types of cognitive biases to avoid in user research

You are not alone if you are a victim of cognitive biases. There are many who make repeated mistakes and get failed time and time again with new product initiatives. The reason for not paying attention to the cognitive biases can be many but the one that is mother of all is most UX designers never know the type cognitive biases and how to avoid them. Multiple types of cognitive biases in user research affect your user experience design in multiple ways. Here are the top ones.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the most evil and common bias faced in user research and is very hard to deal with. It is a bias where people give more importance and value to the ideas that match their beliefs. Even it affects the user research drastically, which leads to the downfall of user experience design. Instead of considering the proper and beneficial data, designers give more importance to their self beliefs. However, the fact is they need to keep their personal beliefs aside and never impose their self belief thoughts into design.

We can avoid confirmation bias by being neutral to our beliefs and heavily dependent on them. Ask users more and more questions about their experience. Let users follow their beliefs instead of molding them into your beliefs.

Framing Effect

Poorly framed sentences and questions will affect your information from users. They might give incorrect information and insights about your user experience design, which will cause the downfall of your design. Poorly framed questions always lead to misinformation or half information, and half information is more harmful than no information.

In user research, developers ask questions about what they want to hear about their design, not what users want to convey about user experience design. To avoid such biases, researchers should ask questions that help users convey their feelings about the design and not just some specific information that researchers want to hear.

Anchoring Effect

Anchoring bias is both valuable and harmful. Anchoring bias is where everything heavily depends on the first piece of information. In user research, solely depending on the first piece of information is not a good practice. Because it leads to failure of user experience design. Just relying on the first piece of information and not doing any more research is very contrary to the meaning of user research. Heavy dependency on the first piece of information is always harmful and might not give us all the information and ideas about our problems. It will also hinder the improvement of new user experience design.

To overcome anchoring bias, deep research is necessary. Multiple points of view of the same user experience design, user feedback, yes, user feedback is one of the main counteracts that can help you overcome anchoring bias in user research. Running multiple tests at multiple levels to know the efficiency of the user experience design and the improvements it needs.

Anchoring bias can help us engage more and more users. It can act as a first impression of our user experience design.

Ordering Effect

The ordering effect, also known as the serial position effect, means that there are more chances of users remembering either the first thing they experienced or the last thing they experienced.

Ordering effect, or serial position effect, can often manipulate your user research. The human mind can only remember the first impression about the user experience design or the last experience they faced in the user experience design. Even in user research, the importance of a question decreases with the research moving forward. The user becomes less and less serious about the questions asked later and later.

So, to overcome this bias in user research, the order of questions should be in such a way that the most critical questions are asked at the very beginning of the user research. This method to overcome the ordering effect will lead to great solutions to the user experience design.

Sunk Cost Bias

Sunk cost bias happens when we go deeper and deeper into the information. It is like falling into a maze.

In user research, collecting data is considered to be about user experience design, considered a healthy practice. But just collecting more and more data later doesn’t become helpful; it becomes a burden in the research. A large amount of the collected data gets mixed, leading to confusion and failures in the user research.

User research needs to be done in small parts or sections to handle sunk cost bias according to the information needed. Breaking down the data can help user research to a great extent.

In a Nutshell

With the top cognitive biases are the most common mistakes we make in user research. Avoiding them can help you create appealing UX research and design attractive products with excellent features. We have explored all the top biases that you should avoid, though you can explore more and keep yourself updated with the type of cognitive biases. At TheFinch Design, We are working tirelessly to provide high quality and result driven UI/UX design services. We are a team of vetted UI and UX experts with good hands-on experiences and expertise on work on various projects from different industry niches. Let’s connect today and see our synergy works.


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