UX Research Methods: What They Are + Importance

UX stands for user experience and is a process of creating positive interactions with your customers across various touchpoints. Through these interactions, UX optimization seeks to improve people’s overall experience when using your product/service. To enhance your UX and achieve a more positive user experience, you must employ UX research methods to learn from your users and grow your expertise.

This article will define the different kinds of UX research methods and outline some of the most popular tools to analyze user experience.

What Are UX Research Methods?

UX research involves observing, tracking, analyzing, and optimizing key user behaviors. The core of UX research is understanding what the user needs and how they get there and using that information to make their experience more straightforward and optimistic.

UX research is critical to ensure that product developments reflect real user needs and are beneficial in the eyes of the customer. Without a clear understanding of the customer’s thoughts and actions, any experience improvements are likely misguided and non-transformational.

Among the many ways you can conduct UX research, there are two main silos that UX research might fall under: quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative UX research focuses on creating statistics, patterns, and measurable data that can be structured and optimized. These research methods are beneficial for problem spots because they can easily mark trends in user behavior that signify an issue many people are experiencing. Researchers usually rely on collection methods such as online surveys, customer experience questionnaires, and analytics research to gather this much data.

Qualitative UX research is based on individual or group observation and focuses on experiential factors that are difficult to measure. Researchers can gain direct insight into representative users’ problems, feelings, and behaviors by conducting moderated or unmoderated usability testing.

When analyzing a user’s experience, gathering qualitative statistics is usually the most beneficial way to understand the root cause of their challenges because you gain direct insight into their experience. Quantitative studies can help expose issues on a larger scale, but these are often the symptom of a more critical problem. They can often be misleading about the best solution.

Qualitative UX research methods make these problems more easily unearthed and are inevitably more addressable.

7 Popular UX Research Methods

UX research can be conducted in many ways, and depending on your goals, you should target different kinds of feedback. Here are seven of the most popular UX research methods.

  • Usability Testing: Usability testing is an excellent UX research method because it guarantees direct insight into the user’s experience. Moderated usability testing is probably the optimal strategy here because it allows the moderator to interact with each user, gauging their opinions and documenting a deep understanding of their needs.
  • Surveys: Surveys are one of the most popular ways to gather information from users because they’re easy to use, quick, cheap, and scalable to all kinds of different user samples. This makes gathering data incredibly easy. The only downside of surveys is that they can sometimes leave the researcher wanting more information, which might have to resort to alternative UX research methods.
  • Card Sorting: Card sorting is an activity that asks participants to group features, information, or tasks into a shared, cogent structure. This organization is usually used to improve the information architecture of the site in question, making it easier to navigate and use for the customers.
  • Focus Groups: Conducting focus groups is a way to gather the opinions of multiple different users and collaboratively discuss how their experience could be improved. This is an excellent survey alternative if you want more direct and in-depth feedback.
  • Persona Mapping: Persona mapping is a research method that helps aggregate information about a user persona so they can be analyzed and targeted efficiently. When developing UX changes with multiple groups of distinct users in mind, creating persona maps for each group can be highly beneficial to understand their individual needs.
  • A/B Testing: A/B testing is a great way to screen possible product changes to see which performs best with a given user sample. A/B testing shows two different versions of a design slide (for example) and asks participants to vote on which they prefer. By conducting A/B testing in areas where users struggle, you can confidently improve their experience.
  • Collaborative Interviews: Collaborative interviews are a mix between focus groups and usability testing and allow you to have a deep conversation with the user. By collaborating with the given user, you can gain the direct feedback you get from usability testing with the more casual, informative conversation you get from focus groups. These interviews focus on attitudes, challenges, and experiences rather than product features.

Importance of UX Research Methods

Addressing the core needs of users is the most important part of a good user experience, and using impactful UX research methods can help improve your product in many different ways. Here are a few of the reasons UX research methods are essential.

Ensure User Relevance

Using UX research methods ensures that the experience being designed will be relevant to the users. When their feedback is considered, it’s much more likely they will enjoy the end product. Take A/B testing, for example. By using direct user feedback, you can build a solution that is guaranteed to be relevant and impactful to the user.

Create Brand Loyalty

By integrating users into the feedback process, you are able to build brand loyalty with those customers. Treating people with value and importance demonstrates that a brand is willing to invest time and effort into its needs. This helps create brand loyalty with those users and gives them a reason to buy into your product repeatedly.

Inherent Prioritization

UX research methods revolve around your customers’ needs and their various feelings. Because you’re focusing on what’s most important to them, you are able to create a roadmap of what should be a high priority for yourself as well. UX research methods make it incredibly easy to align priorities between internal teams and user groups, making the product specifically targeted toward your customer’s needs.

Create an Enjoyable Experience

Finally, UX research methods are important because they’re central to creating an enjoyable experience. Guessing what works might target some users’ needs but will never be as accurate as simply asking customers what works for them. By integrating customers into the UX research process, you can guarantee that you’re creating an enjoyable experience from which many people will benefit.

Conclusion

Conducting UX research is vital when redesigning, reprioritizing, or problem-solving. If you’re analyzing your user experience, these UX research methods are the best vehicle to meet your customer’s needs.