It can be said that user experience or UX research is the process by which behaviors, needs, and motivations of the customers are discovered. This will keep a complicated matter simple and easy to understand. This is done through user feedback and different task analysis and observation.
The prime objective of UX research is to help businesses and brands to achieve a few goals such as:
- Understanding the user experience for the website, prototypes, mobile apps and new products
- Making informed decisions by testing different aspects or product design and development process
- Discovering, optimizing and evaluating the genuine user experience
- Understanding every user interaction before any conversion and
- Nailing the design early to provide a better experience in the product’s lifecycle.
All these will eventually help business as well as the user and the product. If you want to make the best use of it, then you must know the useful and effective ways to capture the user targeted feedback, drive site conversion, and improve the user experience of the website and most importantly the ways to improve customer loyalty.
The basic steps
There are ideally five basic steps to follow when you conduct UX research. These are:
- Objectives – You must know what you need to find out to know more about your users, their needs and how they can be motivated.
- Hypothesis – This will help you to think what you already know about your users and what the things you need to know further are for a better relation, user experience, and conversion.
- Methods – You must also know the accurate user experience research method to follow considering your project types, the size of your research team and the deadline.
- Conduct – You must use the selected research method or methods and start to collect data and information about your users so that you can analyze their needs and their preferences.
- Synthesize – When you analyze the information and data collected you must address your hypothesis to fill in the gaps in your knowledge and create a better plan so as to improve the product considering the user feedback.
While you research on your user’s experience, make sure that you do not make a mistake to think that you can test your product, website or app by yourself. It is the users in questions and therefore, you must consider everything from the user’s viewpoint. In the end, combine UX research, market research, and the web analytics to build a complete and foolproof view of the user.
Different research methods
There are different methods that you can follow for an effective and result driven user experience research. However, the type of research method you choose will largely depend on the product type that you want to develop and the environment. It will also depend on the time frame, knowledge and ability of your research team and your specific needs and purpose.
Ideally, there are three types of research dimensions that you may consider to decide which the methods are best suitable for your project:
- Behavioral and attitudinal – These are the two most conflicting elements of the research methods. While “attitudinal” refers to the sayings of the people, “behavioral” on the other hand, refers to the actions of the same people. Ideally, what people say is completely different from what they actually do in the real world and sense. That is why attitudinal research is used in marketing most of the times because it definitely measures the needs and stated beliefs of the people. However, in product design, it is the deeds of the people that are more relevant. The behavioral method relies more on eye tracking as that helps to know how the users visually engage and interact with the design of the interface.
- Quantitative method – The quantitative research quantifies the results and findings of a sample population. You will usually require a large number of cases that will represent your work. The approach must be structured for questioning the sample population. Quantitative research, on the other hand, uses different measurement tools such as analytics and surveys. These surveys will provide the desired data to know how the users use the product. This method is more mathematical and scientific in nature. The primary aim of such inquiry involves questions such as “what,” “when” and “where.”
- Qualitative research method – In this method of user experience research, you have to collect information about the users by directly observing them. This method aims to comprehend the human side of such data and information collected and to gain a sense of the fundamental reasons and motivations that surround the consumer behavior. In this method, small numbers of varied rather than representative cases are used. The approach of the interview in this method is less structured. Qualitative methods, however, are most suitable to address questions such as the “hows” or “whys” of consumer behavior.
Context of Use Analysis
To find the intended use of the app, information about the users are collected and analyzed. Apart from that the different tasks the users perform with it, and the technical constraints are also presented and analyzed. This is called the context of use analysis that allows the researchers to understand more about the user experience.
Typically, the data for the context of use analysis is collected through surveys, site visits, interviews, observational studies, and focus groups. This analysis helps in identifying the most significant elements of a product or an application in the context of its usage. This research is usually done at the early stage of the lifecycle of the product and is continued till the data identifies the most crucial components of the product that will provide the best and most desired user experience.
The value of research
Simply put, user experience research is important as it saves time, money and effort. You will never design a wrong product or make any erroneous assumptions during the designing process. This means you will design it perfectly the first time and not need to fix it later when you find that the users are unhappy.
Daniel Mattei is a Professional writer. He has written many articles on web designing. He is quite experienced in the field of web marketing as well as website designing. You can quickly come across a good user experience research method by following this article.