Connecting the dots and bringing insights together to create a complete story is what motivates me throughout the day. Understanding and empathy are my greatest tools as a designer. Being able to put myself in other peoples' shoes allows me to create great experiences that are user centered and useful.
It's important to address user needs on all levels, from explicit to latent. Research provides the data to answer the WHY? questions behind user behavior, and explore solutions people wouldn't think to ask for.
Learning about users where they are and what context they use a product is crucial in user centered design. A lab is great, but is a controlled environment. Life is chaotic. As researchers, we must embrace that chaos and provide clarity and understanding of what the user needs, and how they will be better off with what we're designing.
Making sense of data is tough, grueling, and can drive you crazy. I'm a glutton for punishment because I really enjoy it. Sift, refine, organize, and explore. When I think there's nothing to be found, I'm only half way through. In the end, great analysis frameworks ground the findings to reveal patterns and opportunities that seem so obvious you can't understand why no one's acted on them.
When synthesizing research findings, it helps to have tools that the client and design teams can reference down the road. Personas are one of the many tools used to get everyone on the same page and peak into the behaviors of real users.