User experience: How do I choose the right UX research method?

UX research is a broad term that covers many ways to understand how your customers use your product. It is a way to gather insights into how users interact with products. UX researchers should be aware of the different methods they can use when conducting research in order to make the best decision.

There are different types of UX research available to choose from, but there is no "right" way. The best method to use depends on the context of the project and what you want to learn. The following blog post will outline some of the most common UX research methods, their pros and cons, and how you can choose the right UX research method for your needs.

Why do we need UX research?

UX research is a way of understanding the needs and wants of your users. It's a process that helps you answer questions like: Who are my users? What do they want from my product? How can I make them happy with what I offer? UX research is a powerful tool that can tell you how your users are feeling about your product. It helps to find out what people like and dislike so that the UX designers can improve their products accordingly.

UX research is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Choosing the best method for your project is essential, as different methods can be more or less appropriate depending on the goals and resources available.

List of UX research methods

UX research methods can be categorized into three main groups: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Qualitative research is done by observing people interacting with a product or service in their natural environment. Quantitative UX research includes gathering data from surveys, questionnaires, or online interactions. Mixed-methods UX research combines qualitative and quantitative approaches for a more comprehensive picture of user behavior. The following list describes some of the most popular UX research methods.

Types of UX research
Photo by Lukas Blazek / Unsplash

Survey

Using surveys, you can collect data from a wide range of sources wide range of people with minimal effort by asking questions like "What would make this product better?" or "How likely are you to purchase this product?" Surveys allow getting feedback from many people quickly and easily. They can be done anonymously or by asking for contact information in exchange for compensation, which is helpful if you want to follow up on feedback with questions or more detailed information. Surveys work best when there's not much time or money available, you're looking for general opinions, or if you need to collect data about customer satisfaction.

Surveys are great for gathering opinions about specific topics. They can provide quantitative data, but they don't provide qualitative data that indicates the user's reasoning behind their responses.

User Interviews

This technique involves asking people specific questions about their thoughts on a topic. For example, if you're designing an app that helps people find jobs, you might ask interviewees how they found their last job and what they liked or disliked about it. You can also ask them about their job search process and their challenges in finding work.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a type of experiment in which two designs are compared against each other, with one design being the control and the other being the variable. A/B testing is where you show two versions of your website or app side-by-side and see which one performs better based on user behavior (e.g., clicks).

Usability testing

Usability testing allows you to evaluate how an interface or prototype performs with real users. You can go through tasks with targeted users and ask them questions about their experience as they do it. This will help you gather qualitative data on what they like and dislike about your design. A usability test involves observing people interacting with a design or prototype to find problems or issues. This research method is used to identify specific areas where users might struggle so that these areas can be improved upon before release.

User Testing

When user testing, participants are asked to complete tasks using your website or app; it's possible to find out how well users understand instructions and if any usability issues need fixing. As a key tool in the UX researcher's arsenal, user testing involves observing users as they go about their daily tasks and gauging their reactions to different features or products. User testing can be done either on-site or remotely through the use of software.

Observation

This is where you watch users use your product or service with their own goals in mind- not yours! It's great for understanding how people behave when faced with specific tasks, but it's less helpful if you want to understand their thoughts or feelings about what they're doing.

Heuristic Evaluations

Heuristic evaluations are an inspection process in which evaluators look at a website's design and content for usability issues, such as whether links are easy to find or understand, how easy it is to fill out forms, etc. Heuristic evaluation involves examining the design to see if there are any problems with its structure or layout. This could include looking at whether elements are grouped intuitively, whether headings are clear enough to read, or whether there are any navigation issues.

The user is asked to identify any difficulties when using the interface, which might be down to poor design choices. The evaluator would then offer suggestions on how this could be improved.

Focus groups with users

By participating in focus groups, participants can discuss their ideas about a product or service in a semi-structured setting with others who share similar interests. These discussions usually happen in person and can involve anywhere from 3-10 people at a time.

UX research methods: focus group
Photo by Jason Goodman / Unsplash

Diary studies

This method involves users keeping a diary where they document their thoughts, feelings, activities. Participants should record all the things they do on your site or app over a period of time (usually one week). This method is excellent for finding out which features are being used frequently and which ones aren't. If you want to learn more about your customers' pain points, a diary study is a method to use. They are useful when there is little to no existing data about how people use a product or service, but when you want to understand how people feel about it.

Card sorting

Card sorting is a technique used to find out how people categorize items in their heads when they think about them. It can also help determine what information people want from a website or app. Participants are given a set of index cards with different concepts on them, then asked to sort them into categories. Participants will sort cards based on how they think the content should be categorized and then discuss why they sorted. This helps determine what categories exist in their minds when it comes to your product or service. This process gives you insight into how people perceive the structure of your product. Card sorting has many benefits over other methods because it allows you to see the interface from an end user's perspective without having any preconceived notions about how things should be.

Wrapping up

They help designers and product teams to understand what users need and want from a product, which in turn helps them to create a better user experience.

There is a plethora of UX research methods to choose from. A decision about which method to use should be made based on balancing your needs with what you have available and then narrowing down your choices based on how much time and resources you have.

Sergey Gyluyk

Head of Growth

Head of Growth and Customer Success. I'm interested in design, new tech, fashion, exploring new places and languages. My mission is to make our clients happy.

Head of Growth and Customer Success. I'm interested in design, new tech, fashion, exploring new places and languages. My mission is to make our clients happy.

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