We will be exploring UX research methods in this post. Understanding the different types of user research is crucial for any product manager or designer working in a digital medium.
What Is UX Research?
UX research is the foundation of any great product or service, and it shouldn’t be confused with usability testing. Usability testers assess how easy it is for users to accomplish tasks, but they don’t explain why a user took a specific approach to achieve those tasks. For example, if a test subject had trouble performing a task in your product, a usability tester would note that they have trouble. With UX research, you’ll go one step further to find out why the user had that problem in the first place.
The most significant difference between usability testing and user research is simple: Usability testing assumes users are doing things wrong, while UX research assumes there are problems with your product design. In short, usability testing tells you how to fix a problem with your product, while user research helps you understand why users struggle at all.
What’s the Difference Between UX & UI?
UX or User Experience refers to people’s emotions and behaviors about using a particular product, system, or service. UX comprises all aspects of how the end-users interact with a company, its services, and its products.
UI (User Interface) is a term used to describe how users interact with digital devices, applications, or websites. The user interface can include menus, icons, text boxes, images, and navigation controls to use an application or website. While UX research focuses on understanding how a user feels about using a device, application or website to improve the overall experience, UI design is concerned with how users physically interact with a product to accomplish specific tasks.
Why Do You Need UX Research?
Every business wants loyal customers who keep coming back. So, the first step toward building an excellent UX is understanding your users.
UX design aims to provide the best possible experience to your customers to maximize customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. By focusing on users’ needs, behaviors, and emotions, you will better understand how they feel about their experiences with your product or service—and what they look for in an ideal solution.
How Can UX Research Help You?
UX research supports decisions about every part of the product development process, including ideation, prototyping, testing, and implementation. By understanding your users’ needs and motivations, you’ll be able to meet or exceed their expectations for an ideal solution. In addition, a great user experience will encourage users to purchase, continue using, and promote your product.
What Are the Benefits of UX Research?
The end goal of UX research is to discover new ways to improve your product or service. By truly understanding your users, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about how they use your products—and what changes need to be made to make it easier on them. Research also helps you understand how to anticipate problems with your product before they become issues for users.
There are many benefits to conducting UX research, and they come both for the company and the customer. For the company, research will improve:
This is one of the notable benefits of UX research. User testing takes only a fraction of the time that typical market or usability studies do. As a result, you can run more frequent studies and easily track small changes in user behaviors. This allows companies to quickly catch up with the market and stay ahead.
Another benefit of UX research is its relatively low cost, which can be attributed to a shorter testing period and the test participants recruited for guerilla tests, who tend to take less money than participants recruited for conventional market studies.
No Need for Specialists
When it comes to testing, you don’t necessarily require the skills of a specialist to run your test — anyone can do it. It means that companies can save time and money on hiring and training specialized teams instead of allocating them to developing and improving the product, which increases their revenue.
Increased Conversion Rates
Not only will your product be of higher quality, but also it will have a greater conversion rate by allowing you to identify some of the common roadblocks to your customers. In addition, since you can track the changes in user behavior very closely, you are sure to see how some aspects of your product affect users’ decisions on whether they should buy it or not.
Approaches to UX Research Method
There are two main approaches to UX research methods:
It is a scientific approach to UX research where data is collected and analyzed to understand an issue or problem further. It aims to be objective by minimizing the personal bias of its users towards a proposed solution and requiring measurable evidence that others can reproduce. It’s mainly used for testing new products or services.
Qualitative User Research (Insights)
The qualitative methods are a naturalistic approach to UX research that allows UX researchers and designers to understand user experience by observing users interacting with their products (either completed or prototypes) in real-life situations. Data is collected through the process of “thinking aloud,” where users are asked to describe what they think when they perform specific tasks to gain insights into their decision-making process. This can then be synthesized into themes that serve as the foundation of design solutions. It’s mainly used for planning and validating new products or services.
Different Types of UX Research Methods & When to Use Them
When conducting UX Research, the best way is to list your objectives. For example, your goals could be: Getting feedback on a new design and finding out what our customers think about our services. This will help you prioritize the different types of research activities.
It’s also important to note that most UX research projects will use a combination of methods, so you might need to do some soul searching to identify the right ones for the given project. The other considerations are time and resources. Not all methods are created equal; some take days while others only take minutes.
The most important UX research methodologies are listed below, with details about how they can be used and other helpful information.
The Future of UX Research Methods
As technology continues to evolve at an ever-faster pace, it’s becoming clear that simply observing users is no longer enough, even if it ever was. UX research needs to evolve if it’s going to keep up with the pace. Collecting subjective feedback from users is just the beginning of what we need to do as UX researchers to design for an increasingly complex set of use cases and scenarios.
In addition to the traditional user research method, we’re increasingly turning to data-driven techniques that allow us to quantify our user’s behavior. For example, we can now measure how long it takes someone to perform a task, where they are looking when they do something, and exactly what actions are taking place at any given time. This complements and supplements other forms of user experience research to gain a deeper understanding of what our users want.
It’s also important to recognize that a range of other research techniques out there can provide you with helpful insight into how people behave but don’t fall neatly under the category of traditional UX research. Ethnographic research, for example, often provides designers and product managers with a deep understanding of why people do what they do when no product or interface is present. As a result, it can be instrumental in helping teams to think like their users.
UX research is an essential part of any project, whether for the web design process or something else. It gives you the quantitative and qualitative insights and means to build more valuable products for your customers, which will lead to increased conversions. Our guide of UX research methods provides all sorts of tips on how best to go about user experience research to achieve your goals effectively. We hope this article has helped educate you on everything you need to conduct UX research for your projects.