What is the right User Research for you?
As businesses realize the importance to drive a consistent UX strategy, they are looking to go beyond.
As businesses realize the importance to drive a consistent UX strategy, they are looking to go beyond their traditional skill sets. Organizations have allocated separate research team to help them move in the direction of new design principles, processes and methods. With more experimentations and access to new technologies, the results have also started to show. Previously, when designing firms used only one or two tried and tested research methods, today it is possible to use a wide range of research methods to glean new customers’ insights at every stage of product delivery.
It is important to remember that user research can be done in many ways. Mostly, for design teams it is important to understand what to do when.
Attitudinal research, mainly used in marketing activities is a way to find out the common attitude of people or their stated beliefs about a particular product or service. Some of the methods of attitudinal research are surveys, interviews, and focus groups that ask for self-reported information from participants. Attitudinal methods involve observing people to see what they do. In these types of studies, you can expect gather powerful insights into user’s thoughts, feelings, needs, attitudes and motivations.
In contrast behavioral dimension methods aim to measure what users actually do, providing quantitative data about how users actually interact with your website. Ethnographic studies, usability tests, a/b tests, and eye tracking are all examples of behavioral research. For example A/B testing presents changes to a site's design to random samples of site visitors, but attempts to hold all else constant, in order to see the effect of different site-design choices on behavior, while eyetracking seeks to understand how users visually interact with interface designs.
In quantitative analysis, we usually gather data indirectly through the use of an analytics tool. Quantitative studies answers questions like how many times people have visited your page or how often they have clicked on a certain link. Quantitative data is an actual mathematical measurement, so it is safe to assume that it is always hundred percent correct. Common UX research methods that can provide quantitative data are surveys, a/b or multivariate tests, click tests, eye tracking studies, and card sorts.
Qualitative studies are based on observing behavior or attitudes directly. These types of data are mostly used to answer questions like why does a problem arise and how to fix it and move forward. Qualitative data cannot be measured, but only interpreted by a team of researchers or experts. Qualitative research studies can provide you with details about human behavior, emotion, and personality characteristics that quantitative studies cannot match. Common UX research methods that can provide qualitative data are usability tests, interviews, diary studies, focus groups, and participatory design sessions.
Natural or near-natural use of the product – When studying the natural use of a product, a designer attempts to understand behavior patterns or attitudes that are as close to reality as possible.
For ex – Ethnographic field studies, Intercept surveys, data mining or other analytical tools
Not using the product during the study – studies where the product is not used are tests that goes beyond the common issues of usage and usability, such as a study of the brand or larger cultural behaviors.
A hybrid of the above – It is a more creative form of product usage. For ex- participatory design methods where many design elements are discussed and rearranged to understand how they could better meet the requirements of customers. Concept-testing methods employ a rough approximation of a product or service that gets at the heart of what it would provide (and not at the details of the experience) in order to understand if users would want or need such a product or service.
Strategize : Many company associate with the client at the initial stages of product development, ask questions at the very beginning and try to understand their requirements and find ways to address their problems. This is often called generative or formative research.
Execute : Once you are actively involved in the process, you transition to the execution phase where you can analyze how your solutions are working. You could also take steps to continuously improve your design direction. This phase is usually called evaluative research.
Assess : At some point, when your product is live and is available for use, you enter the next phase called evaluative work, which mainly includes quantitative studies of how well you are performing against your competitors or if you could make any new adjustments to improve the product. You’ll also want to use research to discover how people change and how you can continue to provide value.
A good UX research team can make a great deal of difference to the overall quality of the project. They can genuinely help you to improve your business results. When you collaborate with a great UX team, they will bring you new customer insights every week. You will learn surprising amounts of things about your customers from them.
If you are looking to build better design systems, you’ll need to ensure that your teams conducting UX research have answers to some tough questions, and make those answers are easily accessible to everyone.