The cost of UX research is directly related to the complexity of the problem to be solved. Research activities can be scoped to meet budget and schedule constraints.
Quick and dirty user interviews can uncover enough information to give the UX designers direction on what the user needs and pain points are. Low fidelity wireframes can be used to get quick feedback on the design and direction of the system or application.
A clever UX researcher can uncover contextual information from the users during these feedback sessions. However, complex problems, like those found in some B2B projects, or even a problem involving improving a patient’s experience, require more in-depth user research, field observation, and more robust deliverables (personas and journey maps) to fully understand the problem to create the correct solution and experience for the users.
Recruiting users can take the longest amount of time and can be expensive when using a recruiting service. However, I’ve found that recruiting users for enterprise software is much easier than for B2C. Stakeholders and Product Owners already know which user groups they are targeting and have contacts within those groups to help with recruitment.
One user recruitment method I would love to use is to approach people in a coffee shop to answer a few questions, take about 15 to 20 minutes of their time, compensating them with free coffee or tea. A person experienced in the full spectrum of UX research can help scope the research activities and explain the impacts of reducing the scope.