Research & Strategy

What is UX research – a guide for UX researchers

  • Klaudia Doerffer

  • Jan 16, 2023

  • 5 min read

  • Jan 16, 2023

  • 5 min read

UX research is a crucial part of user experience design that sheds light on how users interact with a product or a service by gathering data. Well-conducted UX research helps build more effective and user-friendly digital products.

What is UX research?

UX research examines how people engage with products and services and is an essential part of the design process. It gives insights into user behaviour and preferences that designers can later adapt to create more successful and user-friendly products. UX researchers apply various methods and approaches, such as interviews, surveys, usability testing, A/B testing, and user observation, to understand how users interact with a product or a service and how to boost it to better meet their needs.

UX research is an essential part of the design process.

Why is UX research important?

UX research is the key for a product or service to succeed in the market as it guarantees that products or services are designed with the user in mind. Conducting UX research has many benefits in various areas of the business, such as:

Improved user satisfaction

UX research tells designers how users think and behave. Once the designers understand that, they can create digital products tailored to the users’ needs and preferences. It leads to increased user satisfaction and more engagement with the product.

More effective design

UX research also helps designers make informed decisions, ensuring that the digital products they build are intuitive and user-friendly. It improves usability and user experience and helps take appropriate actions about future design and development efforts.

Increased business success

Businesses can improve customer acquisition and retention rates with effective and user-friendly products. It increases revenue and profitability.

Reduced development costs

UX research can identify potential issues and problems early on in the design process. This can save time and money, as it is often more cost-effective to fix issues during the design phase rather than after the product has been developed.

Enhanced team collaboration

UX research involves input from various team members, including designers, developers, and stakeholders. It fosters collaboration and improves communication within the team.

What are UX research methods?

There is a range of different methods and approaches to UX research. They can generally be divided into two categories: quantitative and qualitative. It’s essential to choose a suitable method depending on the research objective and context. Every method not only comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, but each may also be appropriate for a different goal.

Quantitative UX research methods

Quantitative UX research methods focus on gathering and analysing numerical data, such as statistics and metrics. They collect data that can be quantified, like how many users completed a task or how long it took them to complete it. Quantitative methods include surveys, A/B testing, and usability testing, and they are extremely useful for understanding patterns, trends, and distributions of a specific behaviour or variable among a large sample of users.

Qualitative UX research methods

Unlike quantitative research methods, qualitative UX research methods focus on non-numerical data, such as words, images, and observations. The data they collect can’t be quantified as they involve users’ emotions, thoughts, or feelings. Qualitative research methods include user interviews, user observations, and card sorting. They help to understand why the users behave the way they do and give insights into the user’s motivations, preferences, and pain points.

When to use which UX research method

UX researchers combine different methods and approaches to gain a complete, well-rounded picture of user needs and preferences.

Your choice of research method depends on your research questions and objectives. Suppose you want to measure user behaviour or evaluate the effectiveness of a product or design. In that case, quantitative methods are the way to go. If you want to have a better understanding of your users’ behaviour, attitudes and beliefs, qualitative research will give you the insights you need. However, the best option might be the combination of the two to triangulate the data and ensure the findings are reliable and valid. In fact, UX researchers combine different methods and approaches to gain a complete, well-rounded picture of user needs and preferences.

What are good UX research questions?

Good UX research questions remain clear, specific, and directly related to the research objectives. They should be formed to be actionable, so that information from the given answers can be used to enhance the user experiences. They also shouldn’t be leading, biased or include false assumptions to ensure that the results remain valid.

Here are some examples of good UX research questions:

  • How easily can users complete a specific task on our website?
  • What are the main pain points that users experience when using our mobile application?
  • How do users perceive the overall design of our product?
  • What are users' expectations and goals when using our service?
  • What are the primary reasons why users would stop using our product?

In other words, a good UX research question is user-centred. Anything else will fail to generate valuable insights.

UX research process

UX research process consists of several steps, including:

  1. Defining the research questions and goals to identify key research areas and determine the information needed to make a useful design.
  2. Planning the research when you decide on the sample size and what methods will be used to gather data.
  3. Conducting research.
  4. Analysing the results is when you review and interpret the data you’ve gathered to identify patterns and gain insights.
  5. Sharing the findings with stakeholders, such as designers, developers, and product managers, to inform the design and development process.
  6. Integrating results into the design to ensure that the final product is based on research findings and better meets user needs.

It’s important to keep in mind that UX research is a constant, ongoing process. It can be conducted at various stages of product development and provide valuable insights about user experience each time.

What are UX research deliverables?

UX research deliverables are concrete products resulting from UX research. They’re used to share the findings and insights from conducted research which is why they should be clear, easily understandable, and actionable. Common types of UX research deliverables include:

  • research reports,
  • personas,
  • user journey maps,
  • wireframes and prototypes,
  • surveys and interview transcripts,
  • task analysis,
  • heuristic evaluation.

UX research examples

UX research can be applied in a wide variety of contexts. Let’s go through some examples:

  • A company is making a mobile banking app. They conduct usability testing to understand how customers use the app and to identify any pain points or confusing features in the user interface.
  • A retail company wants to update the design of its e-commerce website. To ensure the new design meets the user’s needs, they conduct interviews to understand their customers’ preferences and buying habits.
  • A healthcare organisation wishes to improve their patient portal. To make useful changes, they conduct user observations to understand the patients’ and their caregivers’ needs.
  • A gaming company is looking to improve player retention and engagement. They conduct a survey to find out why their users stop playing the game. They use gathered data to design more user-centred in-game activities and the game’s progression system.
  • An automotive company would like to boost their marketing efforts. They conduct card sorting activities to understand car buyers better and learn how they perceive different car features and options. The findings help them increase the success of their marketing campaigns.

As you can see in these examples, UX research helps gather information about the users, including their needs, behaviour, and preferences. This data is later transferred into a service or product design. And because it was based on UX research, the final product is more likely to be user-centred and successful in the marketplace.

Who is a UX researcher?

We’ve worked neatly through the UX research process, but who is a UX researcher? Well, it’s a professional responsible for planning and conducting research projects, analysing collected data, and providing recommendations to the design team. A UX researcher usually has a background in fields related to cognitive psychology, human-computer interaction, sociology, anthropology, or market research.

A UX researcher works closely with other members of the design team, as well as stakeholders and subject matter experts, to ensure that the research aligns with business goals and user needs. They also collaborate with other researchers, designers, and developers to identify opportunities for improvement and drive innovation in the design process.

Overall, the main goal of a UX researcher is to create user-centred designs that are effective, efficient, and satisfying for users.

Let us help you out

UX research is a vital part of the design process, ensuring that products and services are designed with the user in mind. We use a range of research methods and approaches to gain valuable insights into user behaviour and preferences, and that’s why our products have been known for driving business results. So if you need help with UX research for your project, contact us for expert guidance and support.

Klaudia Doerffer

Head of Research & Strategy

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