User Research

What is user research?

User research is the methodical study of target users, including their needs and hotspots, so that designers have the clearest possible perspectives to work with to make the best models - personas.
Researchers users use different methods to expose design issues and opportunities and to find essential information to use in their design process.

User research – Know the users, and what they want

User research is an essential part of an interaction design process. It's the only way to find out exactly what these users need, after first finding out exactly who they are.
To determine the generation of these facts, you need to gather data from users through a structured approach. . Usually, researchers start with qualitative measures to discover the needs and motivations of users. Subsequently, they could test their results using quantitative measures.

User research is essentially divided into two subset:

  • Qualitative research – Ethnographic field studies and interviews are examples of methods that can help you; build a deep understanding of why users behave the way they do; (for example, why do I leave a site so quickly). For example, you can interview a small number of users and get clear information about their shopping habits by asking them open-ended questions. Usage testing is another dimension of this type of research (for example, examining users’ stress levels when using a particular design). Qualitative research requires great attention. Because it involves the collection of non-numerical data (eg opinions), one’s own opinions could influence the findings.
  • Quantitative research – With more structured methods, such as surveys, you will gather measurable data about what users are doing and the test hypotheses you have developed from qualitative research. An example is the use of an online survey to ask users questions about their shopping habits (for example, “approximately how many items of clothing do you buy online per year?”). You can use this data to find patterns in a large group of users. In fact, the larger the sample of representative test users, the more likely you are to have a statistically reliable way of assessing the target user population. Regardless of the method, with careful research you can collect objective and impartial data. However, only quantitative data cannot expose deeper human perspectives.

We can also divide user research into two approaches:

  • Attitude – listen to users' words (for example, in interviews).
  • Behavior – follow their actions through observational studies.
You can usually get the clearest view of a design issue when you apply both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as an approach to user attitude and behavior.

User research methods

Discover - determine what's relevant to users.
  • users record their activity or record daily interactions with a design.
  • interview the appropriate users in their own environment to find out how they perform the tasks in question.
Explore - how to address all user needs.
  • on cards, write words and phrases and then allow participants to organize them in the most meaningful way; and label the categories to ensure that your design is logically structured.
  • create links to discover potential pitfalls and crucial moments.
Test - evaluate your design.
  • make sure your design is easy to use.
  • test your design to make sure anyone can use it.
Listen - put problems in perspective, discover any new problems and trends.
  • gather analytical data / measurements to discover (e.g.) website traffic and generate reports.
  • track how users feel about your product / design through these reports.


However you approach user research, always consider the pros and cons of each technique. Sorting cards is an easy "game", for example, but it can be a time-consuming task when you switch to analysis.
In addition, it may not provide in-depth contextual meaning. The resources available to you are another constraint. They will decide when, how much and what type of user research you can actually do.
Therefore, carefully choose only the method (s) relevant to your research. Also, involve stakeholders in your organization in advance.
They can reveal valuable information can help keep research on track in terms of business objectives. In general, user research is a valuable way to validate the assumptions that the design team makes about users in the field; to reduce costs and keep your product demand high and ahead of market competitors.

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