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User Research – Introduction, Goals, Methods, and More

What is User Research?

User research is the systematic study of aim users and their needs and pain points. So designers have the most accurate information possible to work with to create the best designs. User researchers use a variety of methods to expose design problems and opportunities and find crucial information to use in their design process.

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User Research Goals

A company may conduct user research for several reasons. Still, ultimately the goal is to help an organization create products that deliver the right solutions to its target user and to design and develop these products in a way that resonates with users and persuades them to buy.
Here are three strategic reasons a company might have for conducting user research:

1. Design Relevant Solutions for Users – User Research

No sum of studying or reading about a specific user in the abstract will give a product manager or UX designer. Enough information to confidently design a real-world product that their intended user will find relevant, intuitive and pleasant to use.

In most cases, developing solutions tailored to a specific character’s needs, priorities, and behaviours will require working extensively with those people beforehand. Failure to conduct user research can lead to a product or solution missing its intended users’ mark.

2. Create Products that Users Find Intuitive and Even Exciting

Given the ever-increasing competition in numerous industries, a product built today must be functional, easy, and pleasant to use. If operators find that a product takes too long or is too stressful to work with, they will continue possible abandon it and look for a better alternative.

Another essential strategic benefit of user research is that it can help the product team learn how to create products that users will find intuitive and fun to use. The more closely a solution’s design, plan, and functionality matches its users’ thought processes and behaviors, the more quickly they will become comfortable with and loyal to the product.

3. Develop more Relevant and Compelling Messages for the Market

Finally, user study can help an organization learn the compelling conducts to grow and project a product for its intended users and the most effective ways to connect product benefits to those users.

By using suitable types of user research (e.g. surveys asking users to prioritize features or conducting several in-depth user interviews and looking for common themes), a product team can frequently uncover ways to articulate the aids of their products that users will find most compelling.

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User Research Methods

There are numerous methodologies for performing user testing, so here we will only discuss a few common frameworks. However, reviewing the list below should give you an idea of the wide range of approaches available and that the most appropriate methodology for your team will depend on the types of information you hope to glean.

Reviewing this list could also spark your team’s creativity and help you design your user research strategy tailored to the specific answers you’re looking for.

User Research – Task Analysis

In its initial days, Google conducted user research meetings using a task analysis model. A researcher sat next to a user in front of a computer. The researcher would then open a browser, direct to google.com, and pass the control panel to the operator.

The goal was to see what individuals did when they came across Google’s home page. It was a classic way of analyzing user research tasks: give users a chance to interact with some aspect of your product and watch them in action.

Fun story: Researchers have repeatedly found that the first thing users do on google.com is nothing. They just stared at the screen. When the researchers asked what they were doing, the user actors replied that they were waiting for the page to finish loading. Google’s original homepage was so bare that people assumed there were even more that hadn’t appeared on screen yet. This user research led Google to add links, such as terms and privacy settings, to the bottom of its homepage to let visitors know that the page had finished loading.

User Research – User Surveys

Surveys are questionnaires sent to a list of target users. Since this method does not allow an organization to speak directly with users, survey questions should be strategically crafted to give the company as much information as possible.

User Research – Contextual Interviews

These are interviews conducted in the user’s environment, for example, at their place of work. These sessions aim to observe users in a natural setting, to learn first-hand how they work, interact with your solution, and what issues they have with it.

This type of interview can lead to in-depth information about your users that might not appear in their responses to an online survey. At the same time, however, these sessions will not produce the kind of measurable statistical data you might receive from more quantitative user research, such as examining your product’s actual usage data.

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UX Research Methods

Part of your role as a UX designer will be deciding which research method is appropriate to answer which questions. The UX Research Toolkit contains a variety of options to help you glean insights from your users.

Card Sorting:

Study participants organize matters into groups most meaningful to them and create labels for those groups. This information allows designers to create more intuitive and easy-to-navigate apps and websites.

Usability testing:

Participants attempt to complete a task with a product while you observe them. It allows you to measure how successful users are in completing a job. How quickly they complete it, what issues they encounter, and how satisfied they are with the process.

A/B Testing:

Tests two product versions against each other to see which the target audience prefers. It can be done with a live product by showing different versions of a web page to different visitors or sending two different versions of a mailing to other recipient lists.

User interviews:

face-to-face interviews (online or in-person) offer a quick and easy way to gain insight into. What a user wants from a potential product or to collect qualitative data about an existing product. When interviews conduct with more than one person at a time, they are often called focus groups.

Surveys and questionnaires:

You can design a survey or questionnaire to return qualitative and quantitative data. You can track product improvement throughout its development and lifecycle using the same questions and conducting multiple surveys.

Log Studies:

Target users keep a log of their daily activities over a set period (usually extended). It gives you insight into real-world behaviors and experiences. For example, you can find out when a user typically uses your product or how often they use it in a day, week, or month.

Contextual observation:

Instead of questioning users in a lab, you’ll observe them in their everyday context – at home or work, perhaps – while asking questions to understand better how and why they do what they do.

First-Click Testing:

This type of user testing examines what a target user first clicks on a website or application interface when trying to complete a task. You can do the first-click test on a live site, prototype, or wireframe.

What are the Benefits of UX Research?

UX research offers significant benefits to businesses, such as

  • Saving time and money. Indeed, identifying the end user’s actual need allows the company to personalize the product according to his desires. It will enable him to reinforce the relevance of the proposed solutions and the efficiency of his final product. In addition to saving costs and production time.
  • Predict user behaviors and avoid possible errors during product design, correct anomalies a little earlier and save error correction later.
  • Avoid basing product design on assumptions instead of factual data from UX research.
  • UX research promotes synergy between the different departments of the company: development, design, research and development, etc. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important in the company’s UX strategy to magnify the User experience and make it more pleasant.

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What Tools are Used in UX Research?

UX research begins with an analysis of the company’s operation, environment and objectives to recover the data necessary for this phase. These classify into two types:

User Research Qualitative:

They are making it possible to understand the feelings and behaviors of the user. Therefore, this data is emotional. They are generally obtained through direct exchanges between the UX researcher and the user, using how/why questions. The data collected makes it possible to analyze in detail the factors that influence the consumption habits of the target user. Behavior in front of a given interface, how he perceives it and the expected functionalities.

User Research Quantitative:

They are obtained by applying a survey or questionnaire. To a large sample of users and using questions such as who/what. This stage makes it possible to establish a large volume of data which will be the subject of interpretation and synthesis. These investigations are essential to create user segments and facilitate UX research. Thanks to this classification, it would be easier to identify their consumption habits, needs, and expectations. The quantitative study helps UX designers or UX researchers make the right decisions. In particular, they can focus on a given segment or need, as it adapts to the nature of the product offered.

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Conclusion

User experience (UX) design is the process of designing products that are useful, easy to use, and fun to engage. It’s about improving people’s overall experience when interacting with a product and ensuring they find value, satisfaction, and enjoyment. If a mountaintop represents this goal, using various UX research methods is the path UX designers use to reach the top of the mountain.

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