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Insights, UX Consultant Knowledge Base

What are the best UX Research methods?

Rebecca Scott

Rebecca Scott, UX Consultant, UX Connections
@uxconnections

In this article we highlight the most effective and insightful user research techniques

At UXC we are firm advocates of user research and understanding audience needs, goals and frustrations. When undertaking any digital project, it is important to understand the audience who will be using the digital system. It is key to put the user at the centre of design decision making.  User-centricity is vital for creating a product/service that is both compelling and functional. 

We employ a number of different research methodologies at UX Connections, including: usability testing, user interviews, surveys, diary studies and card sorting. 

Different methodologies are suited to different project goals and provide different types of insight. We often also triangulate research methodologies to substantiate findings and offer deeper insights. For example, combining semi-structured interviews with surveys to cross-reference qualitative and quantitative insights. 

At UX Connections, we predominantly conduct interviews and surveys to create personas. But, as a company, we have conducted a variety of other research methods too and also have the scope to analyse existing primary research. 

Our top 3 research methods include:

Customer/User Interviews

When conducting interviews, we tend to implement a semi-structured interviewing technique where we have a set of questions which guide a conversational discussion. Through this we seek to explore unexpected avenues and learn about user attitudes and personal anecdotes. 

Interviews are great for collecting qualitative data and really understanding different user mentalities. It is also often possible to observe the users during discussion and gather behavioural data. 

This technique is particularly useful when making personas as it facilitates an understanding of character details and contextual behavioural information.  Personas created solely from quantitative data tend to be less detail-rich and less reliable. 

Research being presented

Research being presented

Surveys 

We conduct broad-scale surveys to gather large volumes of quantitative data. We generally include 25-30 questions in each survey, broken down into relevant sections/pages. We find it most useful to include multiple choice/ required selection questions as opposed to open data fields; for analysis purposes. 

It is possible to identify broad themes using surveys. Surveys are also great for substantiating qualitative insights to enhance the reliability of findings. It is useful to have all findings backed up by data. These data-driven insights are particularly useful when working in complex teams with different stakeholders; they aid the decision-making process.  

Usability Testing

We also carry out usability testing on early-stage and also more developed product offerings. Through this, we identify the strengths and weaknesses of a product in order to identify areas for improvement, along with design opportunities. 

We conduct usability testing both in-person and remotely, depending on the project requirements and project context. 

We use a usability testing script which includes a series of tasks and verbal-response questions. Some examples include ‘what are your first impressions of X?’ and ‘please could you navigate to X page?’. 

At UX Connections, we employ a variety of research methods which we apply on different projects for different reasons. 

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