My read on this is that you have never been involved in a project where you can step back and define the strategy before getting your hands into designing and prototyping. Maybe because the briefs you’re receiving are too narrow (“we need an app”)?

But you’re right, usability tests (it seems this is what you’re calling “user research” here) can and should be done in a day.

You should also look into other user research methods that are not about putting an interface in front of users.

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Designer at Work & Co, Founder of UX Collective — http://twitter.com/fabriciot

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