The following is a guest post by Niraj Rajput, cofounder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs
The market and the industry in the modern-day have evolved to be more and more competitive and consumer-centric.
Research is now paramount. Observing the market, analyzing customer needs, and making an effective plan to tackle those needs, requires pensive research and thorough examination.
No business can afford to miss even a single small aspect that could mean the difference between success and failure.
To understand the market, it is important first to identify what comprises that market. The UX research team needs to know how big the market is, who are the main competitors in that sector, what trends are working best for them, and so on.
This data provides an overall picture of the customer’s industry. It also underlines their current marketing strategies so UX research can be directed accordingly.
UX research or design research is one such way to ensure that your product is successful. It’s a process of understanding user needs and designing solutions to meet them. UX research goes beyond what users say they need or want.
It involves observing how they interact with a product, trying to understand why they behave in a certain way and whether there is a better way to design the product so that their needs are better met.
UX research or design research has evolved over the past few years and gone are the days when it was a specialized sphere. These days all types of organizations essentially participate in UX or design research.
In this paper we will dig deeper into the concept of user research understand the following:
What Is UX Research?
What Are the Top 6 Reasons Why UX Research Is Important?
What Are the 6 Different Types of UX Research, When Are They Used?
What Are the Best Practices To Follow To Conduct Effective User Research?
What Are Some of the Popular UX Research Methods?
When Should User Research or Design Research Be Conducted?
What is UX research?
UX research or design research is a process of understanding your users and their needs to develop or improve products.
UX research is a blend of science, art, psychology, and storytelling that provides insights into customers’ behaviors, motivations, and goals.
UX research aims at identifying problems early on before they turn into frustrations for the end-user. It also helps to assess the satisfaction of users with a product or service.
UX research is important to gain an understanding of how people interact with your product, what they like and what they don’t like.
UX research helps in making informed decisions about design changes and can help you validate design hypotheses.
What are the top 6 reasons why UX research Is important?
User research provides the key and essential foundation for any kind of design strategy or road map in product development.
User research also aids in identifying the right market and potential buyers and adopters of your product/service.
Below are our top 6 ways in which user research strengthens the product performance:
- UX research helps to create effective designs which can be useful and valuable to the users:
UX research provides valuable insights into the users’ needs, behaviors, and processes which help create effective designs to solve their problems. UX research provides an opportunity to connect with the target audience to better understand their thoughts, ideas, and opinions about your product or service.
- UX research enables you to understand and evaluate the return on investment:
UX research provides the data on how well the investments are paying off for your business. By understanding the user’s perspective, it becomes easier to identify potential problems and make improvements over time.
- UX research helps you validate and improvise your hypothesis:
You can design and implement a series of user research activities to validate, refute or adapt your hypothesis. Rather than relying on assumptions and gut feeling you can test the basis for your premise and make changes as needed.
- UX research increases the chance of adaptability and efficiency of the product:
If you are incorporating user research from the beginning of product design, it increases the chance that the product will be efficient and adaptive to user needs. The earlier you involve users in the process, the more likely you are to create a product they will use.
- UX research is immensely useful in understanding the market and learning about the competitors:
By getting to know your users and learning what drives them you can understand how they are interacting with the market. As a result, you will learn about the competitors, their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses.
- UX research facilitates in identifying potential market and the early adopters of your product:
The user research will help you in understanding the demographics of your product. With this valuable information, you can identify potential markets and the early adopters of your product.
What are the 6 different types of UX research and when are they used?
There are different kinds of UX research. Let’s delve into the primary types of UX or design research.
- Qualitative research: This type of research is usually employed at the beginning stages of product design to get a broad understanding of user needs and wants. It uses open-ended questions, focus groups, interviews, and diary studies to generate data.
- Quantitative research: This type of research is used to measure specific behaviors or attitudes. It employs surveys, polls, and tests to gather data.
- Generative research: This type of research is used to generate new ideas. It utilizes brainstorming, concept mapping, and prototyping to help come up with new solutions.
- Evaluative research: This type of research is used to determine the effectiveness of a design solution. It uses testing and user feedback to measure how well a design performs.
- Attitudinal research: This type of research is used to measure people’s attitudes towards a design. It uses surveys and focus groups to get feedback on how users feel about a particular design.
- Behavioral research: This type of research is used to find out how people behave when they interact with a design. It uses observation and ethnographic studies to determine why users do the things that they do.
What are the best practices to follow to conduct effective user research?
The primary focus of the UX research is to fulfill the needs of the users and design a product to facilitate their demands.
The research helps in understanding the user’s needs and accordingly, the design is evolved.
The following are some of the best practices to follow for carrying out user research effectively:
- Conducting a needs assessment: This is the first and most important step in conducting user research. In this step, you need to identify the problems that need to be solved. You can do this by interviewing stakeholders and users or by studying competitor products.
- Gathering data: Once you know the problems that need to be solved, it is time to gather data on how users currently solve those problems. You can do this by conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups, or usability tests.
- Share the findings of the testing with the team: After you finish testing, make sure your team knows about the findings and suggestions.
- Testing again: After implementing changes based on the feedback from the first round of tests, it is time to test again. This is an opportunity for you to validate whether users can complete tasks effectively using the new design changes.
- Make sure other team members are also involved in the testing process: As the designer, you are not the only one who should be involved in user testing. Other team members such as developers, content strategists, and marketers should also be included in the process to get their feedback on designs. This will help them understand how users interact with the design and what changes can be made to improve the overall user experience.
- Make sure you are constantly learning: As a designer, it is important to constantly learn new things and keep up with the latest trends in user experience. This will help you better understand your users and create better designs that meet their needs.
- Finally create a comprehensive UX research roadmap: A UX research roadmap is a document that outlines the key areas of user experience that need to be researched and the order in which they should be tackled. This will help ensure that all important aspects of user experience are covered and that the research is conducted logically.
What are some of the popular UX research methods?
Now that we know the importance of UX research, let’s look at the popular research methods.
- Diary studies: Diary studies are a great way to understand how users interact with your product daily. Participants are asked to keep a diary of their thoughts, feelings, and actions while using the product. This helps you understand how users use your product in the real world and what problems they encounter.
- Surveys: Surveys are a great way to collect data from a large number of participants. They can be used to gather feedback on designs, assess user satisfaction or find out about users’ needs and requirements.
- Usability testing: Usability testing is a great way to assess how users interact with your product. Participants are asked to complete tasks while being monitored by a usability expert. This helps you identify and fix any usability issues.
- User interviews: User interviews are a great way to get feedback from real users. You can ask them about their experiences using your product and find out what they like and don’t like.
- Contextual inquiries: Contextual inquiries are a type of user research that involves observing users in their natural environment. This helps you understand how they use your product in the real world.
- Card sorting: Card sorting is a technique that helps you organize your website’s content. Participants are given cards with different website categories and are asked to sort them into the right category.
- Tree testing: Tree testing is a usability testing method that helps you understand how well testers can navigate your website. It’s like card sorting, but with the addition of an open-ended task to see what testers do after they sort the cards.
- Questionnaires: A questionnaire is a great way to find out more about your users and their needs. You can ask them about things such as why they use your product or if there are any features they would like to see.
When should user research or design research be conducted?
UX research is commonly conducted before the development and design I.e quite early on.
UX research is conducted even early on during wireframing and prototyping stages so that it can be passed onto the UI designers for UI development.
Later on, it’s often conducted again when close to the live production stage to understand how people navigate through the newly designed UI, what they like or dislike about your product, or if there are any major gaps in your UX that need fixing.
Also, it’s done anytime post-launch of a new website, android app, and more during the maintenance/improvement phase of mentioned products.
As we have understood the importance of UX research, it is now a fact that UX research is not only useful but is an essential part of the design.
Users from the cynosure of the UX research and that is why from ways to practices to methods and even types of UX design, every aspect of UX research is to be made to suit the user interests.
An adroit UX research can help the organization to gain a huge competitive advantage in the market. It also creates the goodwill of the organization, which can be used in the long run.
Niraj is co-founder and Head of Engineering at Chisel Labs, a premiere agile product management software company that brings together roadmapping, team alignment, and customer connection. Niraj is passionate about building scalable infrastructure and systems and he also happens to be a huge fan of Cricket!