User Experience (UX) Research

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Informing the design process through insightful feedback and observation of their decision-making processes - ensuring a product, service, website or app meets the needs of all users, not just one.

What is UX Research?

The main objectives of User Experience (UX) research is to inform the design process from the perspective of the end user. It is research that prevents us from designing for a single user, and ensures it is suitable for all profiels of consumer and inclusive.

The purposes of UX Research and UX design are to develop a solution with the end-user in mind; and  research is what tells us who that person is, in what context they’ll use this product or service, and what they need from us.

UX research has two parts: gathering data, and synthesising that data in order to improve usability:

  • At the start of the project, research is focused on learning about project requirements from stakeholders, and learning about the needs and goals of the end users. Our researchers will conduct interviews, collect surveys, observe current users and review existing literature, data, or analytics.

  • Throughout the project, the research focus shifts to usability and sentiment. Researchers may conduct usability tests or A/B tests, interview users about the process, and test assumptions that will improve the designs

What approaches are there?

UX Research can be divided into two areas: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative UX Research:

  • This is any research that can be measured numerically.

  • It answers questions such as “how many people clicked here” or “what percentage of users are able to find the call to action?”

  • It’s valuable in understanding statistical likelihoods and what is happening on a site or in an app.

Qualitative UX Research:

  • This is sometimes called “soft” research. It answers questions like “why didn’t people see the call to action” and “what else did people notice on the page?” and often takes the form of interviews or conversations. 

  • Qualitative research helps us understand why people do the things they do.

What methods of UX Research do we offer?

There are a range of approaches available to us and these all encompass three main stages (observation, understanding and analysis):

Usability testing:

  • Moderated usability tests are the most traditional type of test. They can happen in person, or via screen-share and video. 

  • Formal approaches can include the setup of usability labs, complete with one-way mirrors for stakeholders to observe, for the purpose of conducting moderated usability tests. 

  • In a moderated test an unbiased facilitator talks with the user, reading aloud the tasks and prompting the user to think aloud as he or she accomplishes the tasks. The facilitator’s role is to act as a conduit between stakeholders and the user, phrasing questions to evaluate the effectiveness of a design and testing assumptions while helping the user feel comfortable with the process.

  • Unmoderated usability tests, sometimes also known as asynchronous research, is conducted online at the user’s convenience. 

  • The tasks and instructions are delivered via video or recorded audio, and the user clicks a button to begin the test and record his or her screen and audio. Just like in the moderated test, users are encouraged to speak their thoughts aloud, though there is no facilitator to ask follow up questions. 

Card-sorting:

  • Card sorts are sometimes conducted as part of either an interview or a usability test. In a card sort, a user is provided with a set of terms, and asked to categorise them. 

  • In a closed card sort, the user is also given the category names; in an open card sort the user creates whatever categories he or she feels are most appropriate.

  • The goal of a card sort is to explore relationships between content, and better understand the hierarchies that a user perceives. 

 

Tree-tests:

  • Just as card sorts are a great way to gather information before a website’s architecture has been created, tree tests are helpful in validating that architecture. 

  • In a tree test, users are given a task and shown the top level of a site map. Then, much like in a usability test, they are asked to talk through where they would go to accomplish the task. 

  • However, unlike in a usability test, the user doesn’t see a screen when they choose a site section. Instead, they will see the next level of the architecture.

  • The goal is to identify whether information is categorised correctly and how appropriately the indexes, layout, design and menus reflect the sections of the site.

 

A/B Tests:

  • A/B testing is another way of learning what actions users take. An A/B test is typically chosen as the appropriate research form when designers are struggling to choose between two competing elements.

  • Whether the options are two styles of content, a button vs. a link, or two approaches to a home page design, an A/B test requires randomly showing each version to an equal number of users, and then reviewing analytics on which version better accomplished a specific goal. 

  • A/B testing is particularly valuable when comparing a revised screen to an older version, or when collecting data to prove an assumption.

See how these approaches can be used to undertake different forms of research ->

 

Please get in touch with a member of the team to discuss your requirements.