Five Most Common User Research Methods in User Experience
Finding out what the end user actually wants in a product is the first step to crafting quality software. Here are some common user research strategies.
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For the success of the product, it is necessary we conduct user research as it helps us to know more about their goals and needs. User research showcases how current users interact with the system, finding problems and how they feel while interacting with the product. It plays a vital role in the user experience design process. A user is the one who decides in a second whether our product is worth using or not. Sometimes we create a product without digging into the research, which leads to disasters.
Let’s take an example: you have launched an e-commerce website to buy and sell products online. What happens if the user visits your site and in just a few minutes, they quit without doing anything? In today’s world, users have incredible thinking, and a huge variety of social networking and Internet skills. They can evaluate new features quickly and before taking any decisions, they know and understand how to accomplish their goals. Users are very smart, and will always try to get involved in those activities where they feel comfortable, so it would be great if we focus on user’s requirements at an initial stage and avoid disasters.
User research is the primary stage of the UX process because without research, projects can be done only on our own assumptions and experiences, which are not objective. A project's main purpose is to design a good, useable product and improve users' working practices. There is a wide range of methods available for UX research and sometimes we are not sure which would be the best to use, so here we will consider the four most common and effective methods of user research.
User Research Methods
User research is the group of methodologies which includes user testing, surveys, interviews and many others. All projects are individual and have different types of features, tasks that we use it in a different way. Based on the product requirement, we need to choose the most suitable research. Here are some of the most common methods used in user experience design.
This method is used to evaluate the information architecture and navigation design of a website. It is the best method that can be used for the websites which require a lot of categorization such as educational or e-commerce websites.
In a Card Sorting session, first, we need to write down all the necessary elements that we want to categorize as a set of cards and asked users to categories it based on their understanding. It is the well-tested technique used in e-commerce websites, FAQ sections, and in a case, we have a complex sitemap. It is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to get the information from the user.
Contextual interviews method is widely used in user research. This is the most suitable method to understand the user’s needs and requirements.
It is basically conducting interviews at the user’s workplace while they performing their work activities. It does not give users task, it just watches and listens to themhow they are performing. It helps to gather the requirement of the real users in a real context of use.
In contextual interviews, we should follow its principles. While performing these interviews, we would easily understand what kind of problems users are facing, how long it takes to complete a task.
A focus group gathers selected people around 5 to 10 and involves the participants in a planned discussion. They mainly focus on the user feelings, attitudes, and ideas on analysis topics. It helps to get the clear data on the target market about what they want and what they think. It’s the cheapest way to get in touch with lots of people and gather different opinions on their ideas. This method should be performed at the early stage of the project.
Surveys are the most common and acceptable method used with Project Managers, Marketing, and feedbacks. I am sure we all must have taken part in a survey. Surveys have become widely used in terms of better user research.
Surveys are the simplest tool for gathering information from the user. It consists of a set of questions which is given to the group of users to understand more about their behavior, preferences, attitude and their opinions about the topic. Questions should be simple, clear and precise. Stay focused on your topic. It should not frustrate the user.
Surveys are relatively inexpensive and it is the fastest and most useful way to get the information from the users. Surveys alone might not be very useful, but if we pair it with some other user research method, it would be very fruitful.
Usability testing method is used to evaluate how usable a product is. Testing generally done with the real users.
First, we create scenarios and give it to the participants. During the test, we will observe them, whether they encounter any problems or are able to complete the task easily. Based on their task, usability issues noted and the evaluation has been performed. If the user found problems then it would be considered a usability issue.
The main goal of usability testing is to identify the user satisfaction towards the product, how they experience it. It is the best way to understand how the real user, experience your product. It improves end-user satisfaction and highly effective and efficient way of doing user research. Usability is the best method to get the supported users.
We can use multiple method for the success of a product; it is important to understand which method perfectly fits our requirement and timeframes. These methods can give you a large amount of information about the real users – how they feel, who they are, and how they behave.
In my opinion, all methods have a different way of gathering information about the user. Whatever we opt, it was all depending on the requirements.
The more we look and focus on UX standards, more we'll get good and usable products.
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