UX (user experience) research has changed rapidly over the years, and it’s important to understand what is UX research in order to understand how important it is. Since it’s become more common in all types of organizations, the applications have naturally evolved. Traditionally, UX research studies user interactions to help design people-first experiences and products. Now, the meaning of UX research can depend on who you are speaking to. UX research can mean validating concepts and prototypes for a product team, but for a marketing team, it could mean testing messaging and brand designs before a big launch. UX research is not just for one part of a business anymore. As successful UX design companies, all teams should collect customer and user insights to make the best business decisions.
Types of UX Research
UX research is a big umbrella term, so there are different types out there.
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research
Qualitative and quantitative research both uncover different insights so you may be wondering if your UX approach should be quantitative or qualitative. You need to be able to understand both in order to get the full difference.
Behavioral vs. Attitudinal Research
Sometimes these types of research can be seen as the same thing, but they aren’t. However, just like with qualitative and quantitative research, these two can be the most helpful when combined and looked at together. Attitudinal research is the assessment of preconceived feelings or attitudes toward an experience. This type of research could mean asking someone why they dislike or like a feature on your website before you use it. Behavioral research is more focused on what someone does. Behavioral research will tell you what is happening, and attitudinal research will show you why it’s happening. What a user does and what a user says are sometimes two different things.
Evaluation vs. Generative Research
The goal of evaluation and generative research is different. Evaluation research helps you evaluate an existing design while generative research helps you figure out the problem you want to design a solution for. You will need to do generative research before you can do evaluation research on a prototype.
There are a lot of different techniques you can use to help teams collect the insights needed.
Remote Usability Testing
This method uses an insight platform to record the voice or the screen, depending on the software you pick, to test a user on how he or she interacts with the product or experience in a natural environment. Through this testing, it’s possible to uncover how real people respond to your experiences or products in order to see areas of improvement and likes and dislikes.
Diary studies take place over a long period of time using the same participants. These users will self-report their activities and create a log of frustrations, thoughts, and activities in order to see feedback on activities that are unpredictable, long, or repetitive.
Card sorting is used to label, group, and describe information based on the feedback you get from users. With this method, you create a set of cards to represent an item or concept. The cards are categorized or grouped by users in a way that makes sense to them. This type of research is commonly used when redesigning the navigation of a website or content within the organization since it can help evaluate the information.
This can be an obvious way to get information, but surveys can help you empathize with users and gain insights that aren’t typically visible to marketers, managers, or developers. Really listening to customers can help you find ways to solve problems.
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