Understanding Atomic UX Research

Atomic Research is the concept of breaking UX knowledge down into its constituent parts:

  • Experiments “We did this…”

    What you did to create your learnings. This could be anything from an interview to data collected from Google Analytics

  • Facts “…and we found out this…”

    Facts are what we learned. A good fact is a quote, observation or statistic, but it is never our opinion. 

  • Insights “…which makes us think this…”

    Insights are our opinion of why the facts are what they are.

    We can derive multiple insights from a single fact and we can combine lots of facts from across our repository to create an insight.

  • Recommendations “…so we’ll do that.”

    Recommendations are what we think we should do with this knowledge.

    Once again - we might have lots of ideas of what we might do about a single insight and we may bring several insights together to form a recommendation.


By breaking knowledge down in this way allows for some extraordinary possibilities.

We can use evidence from multiple experiments to prove or disprove an idea, allowing us to have a holistic view of what we know.

We can create lots of ideas from one lot of evidence, allowing us to think broadly.

It allows us to not just record our learnings but also the decisions that we made as a result.

Atomic research keeps us evidence led without restricting creativity.

Good to know: Recommendations are often testable and therefore will create new experiments that will be linked back to that recommendation.
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