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Editor's Note: User and Market Research

By J.O. Bugental, Guest Editor

At the risk of oversimplifying, most marketing professionals would probably say there is no difference between a vertical market and what usability professionals call a specific user profile or persona. Marketing’s traditional focus is on demographic information supported by large sample sizes. User research, on the other hand, traditionally focuses more on the specific user’s tasks—whether they are completed and how.

Branding is where the two disciplines renew their mutual dependence. The combination is especially important on the Internet, where (ital)product and (ital)product information is often the same thing.

If a product brand is equal to the whole customer experience, then the use of the product becomes a key factor, and understanding how people use products demands some understanding of target customers and demographic information. This special issue of (ital)UX offers five views of user experience from experts in the merged or collaborating disciplines: (bulleted list)

When creators of technology products become more responsive to customers' needs, and customer organizations become more conscious of the true impact of technology products on productivity, then the familiar distinction between (ital)customers (those who buy the product) and (ital)users (those who must get work done with it) begins to dissolve.

The complete user experience evolves from combinations of marketing message, product use, and word of mouth—experience over time. Usability practitioners and marketing professionals are finding new ways to combine their efforts, and our experts can show us the way.


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User Experience Magazine is by and about usability professionals, featuring significant and unique articles dealing with the broad field of usability and the user experience.

This article was originally printed in User Experience Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2008.

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