Top 12 UX research methods

Thanks for the illustration to Integrove
First of all, ask yourself and your team these questions:

- "What do your users need?"
- "What are your users facing?"
- "How can you help your users?"

The research method you choose depends on the purpose of the research.

Additional questions:
"What do we already know?"
"What remains to be discovered?"
"Is this a new feature or an existing feature that we want to improve?"

Here's an illustration presented by the service of 12 basic UX research methods:
The service presented a diagram of the 12 major UX research methods
The methods are broken down into groups:

  • Behavioral (what people do)
  • Qualitative (why/how)
  • Quantitative (how much/how much)
  • Relationships (what people say)

So, let's go through each of the methods:

List of methods with descriptions

1. Card Sorting.
Card sorting is a UX research method in which users organize topic cards into categories in a way that makes sense to them.
Card sorting is a great exercise in understanding your users' mental models.

2. Tree-testing.
Sometimes described as "reverse card sorting," tree testing evaluates a hierarchical structure of categories called a tree.
During tree testing, participants are given a text-only version of the site and are asked to perform a series of tasks to find items on the site or in the application.

3. Usability testing.
The purpose of usability testing is to understand whether your design is intuitive and easy to use and whether there are any usability issues.
An example would be the following task: Imagine that you have just created a new account to measure the number of subscribers to your product. Create a new project for this in your dashboard.

4. Five-Second Testing.
In this research method, participants are given five seconds to view an image, such as a design or web page, and then are asked questions about the design to gauge their first impression.
55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website, so grabbing attention in the first few seconds of the visit is very important.

5. Field research.
Field research is research that is conducted in the context of the user, not in your office or lab.
The usual purposes of field research are:
- Gathering information about the task at hand,
- Understanding people's needs,
- Obtaining data for user journey maps, personas, usage scenarios, and real-world testing of systems.

6. Diary research.
In a diary study, participants keep a journal of their thoughts, experiences, and actions over a period of days or a few weeks.
For example, it goes like this: "Dear Diary... I learned today that diary research is a relatively easy and cost-effective way to collect a wealth of useful data. Sounds fun, doesn't it?"

7. Focus Groups
This is a method that can help you assess users' needs and feelings both before you develop an interface and long after it has been implemented.
In a focus group, you bring together 6-9 users to discuss questions and concerns about user interface features. The group usually lasts about 2 hours and is moderated.

8. User interviews.
In an interview, the researcher asks one user questions about a topic of interest (e.g., system usage, behavior, and habits) in order to gain information about the topic.
Unlike focus groups, interviews with users are conducted one-on-one (although sometimes several presenters may take turns asking questions).

9. Surveys
UX surveys provide both qualitative and quantitative information from your users.
Conduct UX surveys at all stages of the customer journey to determine what's preventing users from moving forward. Collecting customer feedback is not a one-time activity; you should do it all the time.

10. Eye-tracking.
Eye-tracking, a method for measuring where and how long people look, has become more accessible to UX research thanks to technology.
It allows researchers to look at a product through users' eyes and gain information about visual attention.

11. A/B testing.
Also called split testing. It's a simple experiment where users are randomly shown two design options to see which one works better.
You can test just about anything from the text or phrase on the buttons, to the different sizes, colors, or shapes of the buttons, to the placement of the CTA on the page.

12. Analytics.
Analytics is ideal for testing assumptions because the results are always obvious, they are either "black" or "white".
The disadvantage of analytics alone is that you don't determine the "why," only the "where" and the "what. That's why it's recommended to use it in combination with qualitative research, such as interviews and usability testing.

What are your favorite UX research methods?

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