As UX stands for the user experience with your digital products, it’s vital to understand what shapes and affects user experiences in your industry overall. You can nail the market with new product offerings by learning what people like and hate, what they need and are fed up with, and what they seek in new products. Thus, as soon as you hire a UI/UX design agency to handle the design of your new project, it’s time to choose the method of data collection from real users.
What Methods Are There?
Before embarking on any type of research, you need to understand your inventory. The basic distinctions in research types include:
- Qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research focuses on collecting subjective, narrative data from target users with the help of interviews, diaries, and content analysis. Quantitative research is more about figures, relying on statistics and surveys.
- Attitudinal and behavioral. These types of research are also vital for understanding and predicting UX. Attitudinal research targets the users’ attitudes to a specific feature and their expectations about it. Thus, it may assess how users feel about some feature or design before even using it. Behavioral analysis, in its turn, measures the actual conduct of users in their interactions with the product.
- Generative and evaluative. The former allows researchers to identify the problem they want to address with a new product. The latter deals with the evaluation of an existing product and its features.
Knowing the typology of research you can conduct for UX design, you can now choose among the rich scholarly inventory of research methods.
A survey, or questionnaire, is the best way to get standardized data from large populations. Besides, it’s very easy to administer. You can create a survey in Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and spread the link across social media or your website. People will come to the survey and complete it, giving you a rich dataset for analysis. One minus of surveys is that they are too superficial to make some in-depth suggestions. So, take care of proper formulation of survey questions to avoid confusion and wrong answers.
Interviews are more time-consuming and require a special skill from the researcher. But they offer more in-depth and detailed insights into user preferences and wants. So, if you have a chance to arrange interviews with target users, it’s the best way to go with the research.
Usability testing (of MVPs or prototypes)
You may like your product as much as you want, but there’s no guarantee that users will like it. The best method to find out is to give them a try. Before investing in a costly full-scale app or platform, you may ask people what they think about it. Please give them a snapshot of intended features, collect feedback, make adjustments, and develop the final product that people really need.
These are the observations of user behaviors in real-life contexts. Such inquiry aims to see how people behave and what they do when they have a task to solve. For example, if you want to develop an educational app, visit an educational site and ask students to show how they perform educational tasks digitally. If you want to work with financial planning, come to your neighbors and ask them to show their financial planning notes and tools.
The history of people’s interactions with your product or similar products is like a diary. It evolves through time and reveals how people learn to do new things with your app, what features they use often, and which ones they abandon once and for all.
The final method we want to discuss is A/B testing, which involves offering two distinct designs with the same features and asking people which one they like most. As simple as that.
How to Pick the Right One?
The UX research tools list is large and impressive, giving you freedom of choice and a realm of options. Still, to pick the right research approach, you need to clarify the goals of this inquiry first. The main questions to answer before starting the research session are:
- What is my target audience? Who are those people, and what are their major features?
- What needs and motivations do they have to use my product?
- What are their problems and pain points that I can address? What are my assumptions about those pain points, and what else should I find out to test those assumptions?
- How do they use products like mine?
- What products does my target audience use on a regular basis?
- What do they like or not like about the products they use? How can I address the gaps they experience with these products’ use?
Another approach to a field inquiry is to ask yourself three generic questions – what people need, what they want, and can they use the available offers to satisfy those needs and wants? You can structure your inquiry further based on the answers to those questions (or directions for searching for those answers).
A helpful tip is that UX research for users’ needs and wants should be more observational in nature. Relying on direct questioning of people may be misleading as they often answer subjectively and miss important points. However, a careful observer can easily elicit the truth about genuine people’s needs and wants if they focus on user interactions with their apps.
Don’t Miss the Research Stage
As you can see, UX research is a vital stage of any product’s development process. It is a systematic study of user tastes and preferences that lets you hit the target audience with the right offer. Besides, thorough research can help you arrive at an optimal design without enduring costly mistakes and revisions of your digital product. Another essential benefit of research is the ability to identify new opportunities and development areas of which you never thought. Thus, research is a worthy investment, and every forward-looking digital business should go the extra mile to do it before costly developments.