5 User Research Methods For Better Product Decisions
Moyofade Ipadeola

Products are not just made. They are the results of behind-the-scenes decisions and actions. One such action is user research. This step in UX design, is vital as it helps acquire the data necessary to build a product that gives a great user experience.

So, how do you go about researching your users in order to build an enjoyable product for them? You do so by using the right research methods. UX research methods help you gather data for your design. Let’s learn about them.

Why is UX design important

As said earlier, user research is a crucial part of UX design for which we'll need methods. We must learn about UX design and why it is important to fully comprehend how research methods come in. User Experience (UX) design is the process taken to create products that are easy to use and enjoyable for users. It is essential in product design because it makes the user’s journey smoother and enables them to complete their tasks satisfactorily.

What is UX research

Before we get into the meat of research methods, it is important to know why we need them in the first place. So, simply put, user experience research is about getting data on how users of your product think and behave. It’s about knowing what their needs, pains, goals and motivations are. This information is essential to build an enjoyable product for users and create better customer experiences.

What are UX research methods

UX research methods are tools used to gather data required to create a great experience for the user. They are ways you get insights into your user’s behaviors, needs and motivations. One way to ensure you keep building good UX products is by staying abreast of UX research trends. Knowing what goes on in the field and the improvements made will equip you to design better products.

Categories of research methods

There are two categories of research methods – Qualitative and Quantitative.

Qualitative research methods

Qualitative research methods obtain non-numerical information. They employ observation to assess users’ behaviors. These methods seek to understand users’ beliefs, practices, experiences and emotions. Examples of qualitative research methods are interviews, focus groups, field studies, moderated usability tests and ethnographic studies.

Quantitative research methods

These methods seek to quantify problems using numerical data or data that can be used for statistics. Examples of quantitative methods are surveys, experiments, online polls and longitudinal studies.

5 UX research methods for better product decisions

You want to make better product decisions? Master the user research methods. These methods have been tested and proven to deliver excellent results. Find out which is most suitable for your product design.

1. Surveys

This tool lets you collect data through a series of questions. These questions are usually close-ended but can also be open-ended. Survey participants are normally recruited through channels like emails and social media. Sometimes, a survey can pop up while the user is on a website or app. This is called an intercept survey. It is triggered by the behavior of the user. Check here for sample survey questions for software usability.

2. Focus groups

Focus group involves studying a group of people to know their beliefs and opinions. This method is usually used for market research and getting feedback on a product. Focus groups can let you know what problems users are having with your product, what features are most important to them and how they perceive your product.

3. Diary studies

This is a longitudinal research method. This method is used to discover user behavior, experiences and activities that happen over a long period. It involves having users keep diaries, logs, take pictures, explain tasks and note any peculiarities they observe. With a diary study, you get to understand how your product fits into the user’s lifestyle.

For a structured diary, you need a trigger. A trigger is a cue that lets the participants know when to record their feedback. There are three types of triggers:

  • Interval-based trigger: this is time-based and participants fill their diaries at intervals
  • Signal-based trigger: you signal the participant on when you want them to log their feedback
  • Event-based trigger: the participant logs in feedback when a particular event occurs.
  • 4. User interviews

    User interview is a method of gathering data through conversations with your users. During these interview sessions, you ask the participants questions on a specific topic and evaluate their answers. Ask as few close-ended questions as possible. The answers you get will determine if there will be follow-up questions.

    5. Field studies

    This method is carried out in the user’s environment and not yours. It’s an excellent method if you’re focusing on context, influences, constraints or motivations affecting user experience. The opportunity of observing people in their natural habitat lets you get better results. It can be very useful in understanding how users complete their tasks and developing user stories.

    Step up your research game, get the best results

    If you want to make better product decisions and churn out amazing products, you must choose the right research methods. A good understanding of the whole UX design process, user research and research methods will give you an edge and aid you in creating products that will give your users a pleasurable experience.

    Though not exhaustible, the five methods discussed here cut across both categories of research methods. Choose the ones that best suit your design projects and apply them for a better user experience.