User Research: How to Pick a Research Method

By Scarlett Payne  |   December 15, 2020


“UX (user experience) research is the  systematic study of  target users and their requirements, to add realistic contexts and insights to design processes.”

5 Important User Research Steps

1. Define Your Objective 2. Hypothesize 3. Choose a Method 4. Conduct It 5. Synthesize It Keep swiping to learn how to choose a user research method the right way.

Discover Phase: Finding  out what matters to users Explore Phase: Ensuring  you meet all user needs Testing Phase: Testing design choices Listening Phase: Listening  for feedback

Define Your Design Phase

Ask yourself what you already know and what you want to know.  Are you solving a usability issue? Testing a design or new feature? Looking for an opportunity?

Determine  Your Problem

With what you need to know in mind, you can determine the kind of data that will give the answer. UX research methods exist in two dimensions. Dimension 1:  Qualitative vs. Quantitative Dimension 2:  Attitudinal vs. Behavioral

Determine The Data You Need

Use qualitative research to develop an in-depth understanding of users. Discover why they behave the way they do. Examples: – Focus groups – Interviews – Diary studies – Open-ended surveys

Qualitative Research

Quantitative studies are measurable, unbiased and answer what behaviors  users exhibit. Examples: – Analytics – A/B testing – Card sorting – Eyetracking

Quantitative Approach

An attitudinal approach focuses on listening to  users. It fills in the  emotional aspect of the  user experience by uncovering the thoughts, feelings and opinions of  your user base.

Attitudinal Approach

A behavioral approach is about observing user behavior in action. This is important because users may act differently than  they would imply in an attitudinal setting, like an interview.

Behavioral Approach

The two dimensions of research give you the following options. – Qualitative & Behavioral – Qualitative & Attitudinal – Quantitative & Behavioral – Quantitative & Attitudinal

The Approach Combinations

To choose the ideal combination of approaches, think about the answers you need and the best way to acquire them.  Do you need to know what or why? Should you listen to or observe your users?

Choose Your  Approach

Now, Consider  Product Context

- Natural: Testing the product in its natural state. - Scripted: Testing a usage area or redesign. - Decontextualized: The product isn’t involved in the study.Hybrid: A combination of the above.