“Empathy is at the core of the design. Unless we don’t understand what others see, realize, and experience, the design will remain a pointless task.”- Tim Brown, IDEO CEO. If you pay close attention to what IDEO founder Tim Brown says here, finding the importance of UX research becomes immediately clear. If UX design strives to ensure that users find value, satisfaction, and delight while interacting with your products, employing various UX research methods is the road to reach the top of the mountain.
What stays demystified here are the methods that can optimize the research process? In this blog post, we are to reveal the secret sauce to outperform your UX research every time. Stay tuned.
Top UX Research Methods That Can Skyrocket Your Product Building work in progress
UX research has a colossal effect on the overall success of a product. From improved trust, conversions to sales, customer satisfaction, and delight to reduced product development costs and time, it affects all.
But achieving this is easier said than done, especially with the number of research methods that the design industry uses.
So, how do you understand what works for you?
No matter which type of UX research you choose to perform, quantitative or qualitative, the best UX research methods are always subjective.
What works for your product may not work for another. This means no two methods are going to perform the same way at all times. However, you can find out which method works for you based on three metrics.
- Context defines clearly what it is you are trying to achieve. Your goal will lead you to your best UX research method.
- Resources no matter how much detail you want to research, your resources can mar up your UX research methods. You need to think creatively here. Try to focus on ways that are low-cost yet effective.
- Time constraints if your research activity needs to be completed in a short period, choosing over qualitative or quantitative can be a challenge.
Think about the problem here, and then try to brainstorm ideas.
Based on the above three metrics, you can ensure you optimize your UX research.
Following are few of the top UX research methods that will never fail your design.
1) Card Sorting
This is a user research method that enables end-users to collect and categorize the website’s information into a logical structure. This technique is by far the most profound method to understand the mental models of your end-users. It ensures that designers have more profound levels of understanding of their end user’s perception of the site. In the long term, it helps to make sure that the website’s navigation structure and information architecture match the way users think.
2) Contextual Interviews
This is a user-centric design research technique that allows the inspection of users in their most natural, local atmosphere. This will enable designers to understand the end-users world and come closest to their lives.
3) First Click Tests
It’s a user research technique that is laser-focused on navigation. It can be applied to a functional app, website, or design to map the ease of accomplishing a task.
4) Focus Group Analysis
It’s one of the most popular UX research techniques. It involves an administrated discussion with a selected group of end-users. In this discussion, designers try to get their hands on rich user data like the user’s motivations, ideas, desires, and attitudes.
5) Heuristic Evaluation
Heuristic Evaluation or expert review is a user research technique that takes only usability experts into account. This group of experts is set on the task of evaluating a website or product against a set of guidelines and checklists.
6) User Personas
They’re fundamentally representative of your target end-user. To develop a user persona, you can use your user research and interview data. Although the persona’s small details may be hypotheses, the information used to form the user type isn’t. Clubbing all these big and small details of the persona is vital to simulate a more realistic situation for the design and development process.
7) Parallel Design
It’s yet another UX research methodology that involves various designers working on the same activity simultaneously but individually. Later, all the insights and readings that each designer gathers are compared and stacked together to find the best possible solution to the problem.
It’s an early-stage MVP of your finished product often developed to examine an assumption, concept, or solution of a particular problem. Prototyping allows designers to validate ideas and helps to get to the best possible solution fast. It usually involves creating a mock-up of the product. This mockup can be anything from a low-fidelity paper diagram to a high-fidelity interactive web page.
They’re by far the most often used technique of UX research. Here, you create a series of questions asked to your users of a website. Done right, it could add immense value to the overall user experience of your product. Surveys can be of different types. It ranges from online surveys to paper surveys, mobile surveys, to kiosk surveys.
However, with the global pandemic ravaging the workscape, opting for a mobile survey looks to be the best possible solution. There are different online survey platforms that are available for you. Surveymonkey is one of the most popular platforms for achieving this.
10) System Usability Scale
This is a subjective assessment of your product’s usability. It is technology-independent and works under a ten-item scale.
11) Case Study
This method captures the perception of the user’s about your product. This method can be used for both analyzing a particular feature or for overall product performance equally. User cases give an in-depth assessment of how users interact with your product, including the action map they take to complete each task.
12) Task Analysis
This is a UX research method that involves learning about user goals. It taps into studying your traffic’s behavior in the context of your product.
Some of the critical questions that you might face regularly may look like the following.
- What users like to do on your website?
- What are the elements that your traffic clicks on the most?
- What is the average dwelling time of your traffic?
- What do your users perform maximum?
It’s perhaps the king of all UX research methods. With tools like Hotjar, Google Analytics, and Google Data Studio, you can now create heat maps, count total impressions, clicked links, or cards swiped all under one roof. This information helps design teams in iterating processes and design flows towards a more seamless user experience.
14) Desirability Tests
This is an excellent technique to arrive at a sound knowledge about the user’s perception of your product. This piece of data is full of potency. For instance, if 80% of your users perceive your product as “family-orientated,” you get an answer to a vital question of your product placement.
15) A/B Testing
Testing your designs is critical to validate your design hypothesis. Split testing two or more designs ensures you gain confidence in your final choice of variant. An essential part here is to make sure that this qualitative test involves as much variety as you can. A bare minimum of 30 users must be tested for getting accurate data.
16) Usability Testing
It aims to identify user pain points and frustrations about using a product with one-on-one sessions. This qualitative research tries to understand where a “real-life” user runs into problems and the landscape where the activities are being reviewed.
To truly champion research, your design unit needs to be team players. Three essential action stages dictate the results of your research, observation, task analysis, feedback methodologies.
- Observation: Research starts with connecting with your user at a deeper level. This task can be achieved via observation easily. The simplest and most direct way is to observe your user in a user interview. Here you directly jumpstart a conversation with your user to understand them better via a set of questionnaires. Ethnographic research is a method to observe your user without interacting with them.
- Task analysis: This involves a user to perform a series of tasks to accomplish a goal. By analyzing the user’s inquiry, we can find critical issues in the existing action flows utilizing contextual inquiry. What happens is an opportunity to design smoother experiences.
- Feedback methodologies: Staying inside the feedback loop is critical for products that iterate themselves fast. Here companies gather feedback data from different users across channels about the product’s overall performance and specific features.
UX research lies at the heart of every viral product. However, what needs to be kept in mind is providing an exceptional user experience is easier said than done. UX is subjective in nature. Your product may leave quite an impression on one of your end-users while may fall flat to impress another.
Thus, balancing your designs to please maximum users of a focus group is critical for a superior user experience. Personalizing the versions is what can give you the edge here.
Remember, your product’s USP is marked by your target users’ goals and needs, their tasks, and the context they are willing to use your product. To wrap up, UX research is the hook that designers use to develop a product’s design to align both customers and business goals. Thus, choosing the best road towards completing research is essential.