User research fits into every workflow, every role, and every product. It helps to produce new knowledge or deepen understanding of a feature or issue.
There are 2 types of research you can do to learn about your users:
It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research.
It is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables — and generalize results from a larger sample population.
Qualitative research methods:
- One-to-one Interview: This interview technique is systematically planned and as the name suggests is conducted with one participant at a given point in time. For one-to-one interviews UX designer needs to prepare questions in advance and asks only the most important questions to the participant. This type of interview lasts anywhere between 20 minutes to half an hour.
- Focus Groups: Focus groups are small groups comprising of around 6–10 participants who are usually experts in the subject matter. A coordinator is assigned to a focus group who facilitates the discussion amongst the group members. A coordinator’s experience in conducting focus group plays an important role. An experienced coordinator can probe the participants by asking the correct research questions that will help him/her collect a sizable amount of information related to the research.
- Ethnographic Research: Ethnographic research is an in-depth form of research where people are observed in their natural environment with any alterations. This method can prove to be a bit demanding in terms of a UX designer getting adapted to the natural environment of the target audience! Geographic locations can be a constraint in this type of research method. Instead of conducting interviews a UX designer needs to experience the settings in person to collect information.
- Case Study Research: Case study research, as the name suggests is used to study an organization or an entity. This research method has evolved over the years and is one of the most valuable qualitative research methods known to designers and researchers. This type of research is used in fields like education sector, philosophical and psychological studies. This method involves a deep diving into the ongoing research and collects data.
Quantitative research methods:
- Survey Research: The ultimate goal of survey research is to learn about a large population by deploying the survey. Online surveys are a popular mode of research as they are convenient and can be sent in an email or made available on the internet. In this method, a UX designer designs a survey with most relevant survey questions and deploys the survey. After receiving the responses UX designer summarizes all meaningful findings and data.
- Descriptive Research: Descriptive research is a quantitative research method, which corresponds to identifying the characteristics of an observed phenomenon and collecting more information. This research method is designed to depict the participants in a very systematic and accurate manner. In simple words, descriptive research is all about describing the phenomenon, observing and drawing conclusions from it.
- Correlational Research: Correlational research examines the relationship between two or more variables.
Research really begins with asking the right research questions!
Research really begins with asking the right research questions, what follows next is choosing appropriate research method to be able to investigate the problem or issue in the right direction and then finally analyze your findings or observations to draw appropriate conclusions.
Above listed methods will help you to deeper understand the user problems by collecting feedback and Incorporating those in better user experience.