A UX researcher, or a designer who's also responsible for carrying out research, works using a variety of methodologies, tools, and techniques to find the weaknesses and strengths of a product.
Well-researched user needs help designers add value to the overall experience of your product.
Why is doing user research important?
Doing user research is important for your product because it helps you understand what your users want.
If you don't do user research, there's a big risk that you invest a lot of time and effort into a product that fails to hit the mark. Creating a product without research is like guessing the size of your clothes. You might find something that fits, but it is far more likely to look strange.
Other examples of the importance of UX research include optimizing existing products and finding the edge over your competitors. In both cases, you evaluate the current state of certain products to find out how to improve them. That's exactly what UX research does.
Different forms of UX research
Like many things within UX, research also comes in different shapes and sizes. Here's an overview of different UX methods and when to use them.
Quantitative vs. qualitative research
Qualitative research usually includes methods that need real user involvement, such as the diary study or user interview. You can use these methods to gain a deep understanding of individual users or user groups.
On the other hand, quantitative research studies collect and analyze large data sets through various tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar. Another quantitative UX research method is the questionnaire.
Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
Up next, we have attitudinal and behavioral research. Essentially, attitudinal research is about understanding what people say, while behavioral research is all about what users do.
As you can probably guess, what users say and what they do are often very different. That's because many user interactions are done on autopilot.
Attitude research aims to evaluate why users have particular attitudes and feelings about an experience. For example, whether or not users enjoy using the product. You can use focus groups, card sorting, surveys, questionnaires, and participatory design to conduct attitude research.
The behavioral research method focuses on what users do with the product, including browsing a website or using an app or product. The tools used are A/B tests, eye-tracking, click flow analysis, and usability surveys.
When to conduct user experience research
If you have time and money, conducting research is a must-do for any product or service.
Before launching a new product or functionality, understanding your users can save you a lot of time and money. That's because design is often easier and cheaper to develop than actual software. So the sooner you start, the better.
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