Today, companies do as much as they can to improve the UX of their products. The better UX you provide the more popular your product is. UX is always based on the study of what users want, need, and expect. If you keep an eye on how all that changes and upgrade your product to meet the needs, it is going to be successful.
UX research methods may help you get to know what users need and how you can change your product.
When do you need research? The answer is simple: always. At the very beginning, you can use research methods to find out what problems users have at the moment and what product could solve them. When you already have a product, you need to know if it is helpful, if your users enjoy it, what could be improved in your product, how the users` needs changed. In other words, everything is based on consumers`needs.
So, what research methods can be used?
This type of research gives us a broad understanding of who our users are. Even not users, but personalities. It explains what people do, why, and what they think. It helps us work out the best solutions for the existing problems and create the whole vision of our product. Generic research presupposes to interview users and analyze their behavior. There can be no right and wrong answers. What you are interested in are facts and opinions.
Evaluative research is a type of research that helps us see if our product or solution meets the customers’ needs and expectations. We will be able to see what should be improved and how. This research should take place on every stage of production to evaluate the results of work: what was done, what the result is, whether it is helpful for users or not, etc.
Attitudinal research is based on what users report. This information is useful for UX designers. You can see users` perceptions, expectations, and desires. It is always great to learn from people that they would like your product to integrate with some other product, or you need to improve this or that feature, or your solution which is ideal in your opinion is not convenient for users in reality.
Behavioral research is another type of investigation. You actually study what people do. That is a great source of information. You can observe how people use your product, how they compare it with other ones, what becomes a stumbling point for them. Behavioral research is often opposed to the attitudinal one as what people say and what they do — are completely different things. Predictions hardly ever work when we talk about human behavior.
Qualitative Data vs Quantitative Data
Research can give you qualitative and quantitative data. Let us see how to interpret this information.
Quantitative data gives us a picture of what is happening: how many users made a purchase, how many people clicked a link, what percentage of people left your website, etc. One should be careful when interpreting this type of data. To evaluate them correctly you need to know the context and you may need to compare them with similar periods in the past.
Qualitative data may show you why something is happening. But, in fact, you cannot measure this process. You can see reasons, expectations, attitudes: why your users are not completely satisfied with your solution, what they expect it to be like, etc.
Practice shows that it is a good idea to combine both types of data to get the full picture of what strong and weak points your product has.
A reasonable question is what type of research is the best one. In fact, it depends on your goal and what information you need to know. In some cases using several research methods will be the right decision. One method is not always enough to make a conclusion.
Another question is when you are to research. Actually, any time you feel something goes wrong or you are not sure which strategy of development to choose. Moreover, you can conduct various types of research all the time and on all the stages of production to make sure your solution meets users` needs.
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors