Effective User Experience Research Methods

How to understand the behaviours and requirements of your potential customers

User Experience (UX) research seeks to understand the behaviours and requirements of your potential customers through observation, functional analysis and verbal feedback; allowing you to enhance the user experience and seal that crucial conversion.

Research methods are an essential part of user experience. They should be carried out on all websites to see how users are moving around your site, their pain points and things that are working. Without this priceless information, it’s rather difficult to know exactly where to improve your website.

What are user research methods and why are they used?

User experience research methods stop you wasting time and money through designing a website that delivers every time.

What you think may differ from your potential customer. Finding something wrong or cumbersome in your website design at this fledgling stage will save you unnecessary expense, along with the potential bad PR of resolving the faults due to customer dissatisfaction.

UX research methods can vary, depending on your budget and deadline. Attitudinal (what users say) v behavioural (what users do) and quantitative (numerical data) v qualitative (observable results) can offer the researcher valuable feedback, as to what improvements need to be made, prior to conversion.

Quantitative v Qualitative Data

Quantitative data

Quantitative data gives measurable results regarding user behaviour and provides numerical accuracy via metrical analysis; answers ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ questions, e.g. ‘what percentage?’, ‘how many users agreed?’ and ‘when did each user stop?’ Google Analytics or SurveyMonkey are popular options from which to extract this type of information.

Qualitative data

Qualitative data collects user information based on individual and group observation, based on responses to set tasks. If setting up a website, users may be asked how they feel when encountering a problem, e.g. ‘Are you able to find the payment link? This method is attitudinal, as is based upon user need and verbal, objective feedback.

Eye tracking

Eye tracking is an accurate research method that measures where the eye is focused, along with its motion, as users view a selected web page. This tells the researcher a swathe of information:

  • Where the user showed most interest.
  • How long they viewed each area of the page.
  • Eye motion around the page.
  • What they did not look at.
  • Visual direction, i.e. do they read the page from top to bottom, or from side to side.

Example: quantitative research structure

TARGETS

What information do you need to discover about your users, their beliefs and needs?

THEORY

What do you think you know about the users in your experiment?

METHODOLOGY

In accordance with your task goals, deadline and project type, which research method should be undertaken?

CONDUCT

Start collecting data from your users, noting their needs, beliefs and preferences.

AMALGAMATE

Time to analyze the data that the task generated and to develop your product.

It is clear that UX research minimizes organizational waste, whether it be your time, effort or expenditure, through customer testing and impartial feedback. This leads to optimum customer satisfaction, a polished product and fingers crossed, that prized conversion.

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