An introduction to UX research

Web ProCategory
7 min read
Aman Jha

UX research, also known as user experience research, is the study of potential users and their needs, with the goal of producing apps, products and services that are easier for people to use.

UX researchers use a wide variety of techniques to unearth issues and identify possibilities for design. They do this in order to expose helpful information that may be used in the design process.

For design research to be successful, it must consider the end user's point of view.

User research informs us:

  • Who this individual is
  • How they'll use this app, product or service
  • What could stop them from using the product or service
  • What they need from us

That's why user experience and user-centered design are so widely recognized.

An overview of user research, including definitions, methods, and practical applications, is provided in this guide.

What is UX research?

The first thing to know about user research is that it’s really necessary to get familiar with your target audience.

By understanding the person who will use them, we can create products and processes that are easy for them to use.

And that’s what UX research is all about. UX research helps in understanding user behavior, their requirements, and their pain spots with the goal of removing them.

“In order to better understand an issue, we do user experience research.”

Researching the user experience is the first step in developing a solution. This involves things like conducting user interviews, researching the client's company and industry, and so forth. Having said that, UX research also includes user testing, where the researcher watches how people interact with the product.

Types of UX research

In order to create a successful product, service or app, it is necessary to do research on the user. This is not something to be disregarded.

But before that, you should familiarize yourself with the nuances of different types of user research.

Qualitative vs quantitative research

Quantitative research is based on data and statistics and generates numerical information.

On other hand, qualitative research relies on subjective comments, reviews and observations to get an insight into the attitudes of the target audience.

Generative vs evaluative research

There are significant differences between the aims of generative and evaluation research.

Generative research aids in the definition of a problem for which a solution is desired. In this case, the answer has not yet been created.

You can assess an existing design using evaluation research ‑ whether prototype, final or some other form.

Attitudinal vs behavioral research

Attitudinal and behavioral studies are not the same, despite the fact that they are often confused.

With attitudinal research, users' preconceptions can be assessed.

For instance, you might ask users why they like or dislike a feature on your site.

Behavioral research, on the other hand, focuses on what the user really does. This is why UX researchers gathering data on an app give actual users a list of things to do on the app and record them trying to do those things.

Researchers review the recordings to see where users had trouble completing the assignment.

A further contrast between quantitative and qualitative methodologies is that behavioral research tells you what's occurring, while attitudinal research helps you understand why.

It's important to remember that the way people talk and the way they really act may be quite different.

Top 5 methods of UX research

As such, the answers to these inquiries are not universal. It all depends on the:

  • Sort of product you're working on (app, physical product, service, etc.)
  • Target demographic (user age, income, education level, etc.)
  • Demands of your customer

The research process must be streamlined in order to save both costs and time spent on the endeavor. Let’s check out the five basic methods to research.

1. Analyze existing data

It's fun to gather data, but the real work is analyzing it. Additionally, your strategy will fluctuate greatly based on what information you've gathered throughout your user research process.

Your primary objective is to gain insights by recognizing patterns in users' behavior while processing and interpreting quantitative information.

Quantitative data in user experience often includes metrics such as success rates, task completion times, and mistake rates.

2. Usability tests

In response to consumer input, UX designers typically build product or service prototypes after completing basic research studies.

Users will be able to provide feedback on these early prototypes via usability testing, allowing UX researchers to learn where the prototype needs to be improved.

3. A/B tests

When designers can't decide between two options, they do an A/B test.

An A/B test includes randomly presenting two different versions to an equal number of people and then evaluating statistics to determine which version better achieved a goal (form submission, click through, etc.).

For example, A/B testing is useful for comparing a redesigned checkout screen to an earlier one.

4. Surveys

Person completing a paper survey

Surveys are a quick approach to acquiring plenty of group information. These are perfect for huge, diversified user groups or anonymity-focused groups.

Using Wufoo or Google Docs, a researcher may send a survey and obtain hundreds of replies in minutes.

However, surveys and questionnaires have disadvantages. The researcher can't communicate directly with respondents and can't pose understand or framing questions. Researchers also have limited follow-up abilities.

5. Interviews

An excellent method for obtaining qualitative data is to conduct live interviews with likely users.

Interviewers are able to watch verbal and nonverbal clues, asking open-ended questions to get insights that surveys and usability testing cannot.

Because it enables you to ask follow-up questions, interviewing is a particularly effective UX research tool for understanding complicated feelings and experiences.

Is a UX researcher and UX designer the same?

While both UX researchers and UX designers aim to improve the experience of the person who will use the app or product, their duties are quite different.

UX researchers pay attention to the underlying motives, requirements, and expectations of the end-users.

To do this, they must:

  • Use the research methodologies described above to identify these critical human components
  • Develop hypotheses that address major problems with the prototype
  • Provide suggestions on how to improve it

UX designers, on the other hand, translate the feedback of UX researchers into practical, human-centered designs and experiences.

UX researchers establish and write the fundamental shape of improved UX, while designers fill out the functionality.

Let’s take a practical example!

Consider a trading website where there is a discrepancy between the number of visitors who leave their shopping carts filled and the number of purchases that are made.

UX researchers investigate why the issue is occurring - are prices or shipping information not clear? Is the website itself sluggish or difficult to use?

In order to decide what needs to be changed, UX designers rely on the findings of UX research. They could use these findings to enhance overall site speed or update the back-end structure, for example.

Both experts may hone their craft and provide useful input toward the goal of designing a straightforward user interface that is easier and more enjoyable for the user.

User experience research wrapup

UX research is a big job, and there's a lot of ground to cover.

The area of user experience is one that is both expanding and becoming more profitable.

UX designers care more about the end result of the project as it relates to the user, whereas UX researchers care more about the needs of their clients.

Face-to-face interviews, surveys conducted online, or usability tests are all acceptable methods of gathering data for UX researchers that focus on observation, comprehension, and analysis.

To do UX research, one needs not just a solid grasp of statistics and design concepts but also sensitivity to consumer demands.

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