User Research

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User research is used to understand the user’s needs, behaviours, experience and motivations through various qualitative and quantitative methods to inform the process of solving for user’s problems.
It can also be defined at the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience.

User research is generally divided into the following methods:
•Quantitative research: Surveys and formal experiments are examples of quantitative research tools. Quantitative user research methods seek to measure user behavior in a way that can be quantified and used for statistical analysis.
•Qualitative research: Interviews and (to some degree) usability tests are examples of qualitative research tools. These are often more exploratory and seek to get an in-depth understanding of the experiences and everyday lives of individual users or user groups.

Qualitative Methods:
•Guerrilla testing - fast and low cost testing methods such as on the street videos, field observations, reviews of paper sketches or online tools for remote usability testing.
•Interviews - one on one interviews that follow a preset selection of questions prompting the user to describe their interactions, thoughts and feelings in relation to a product or service, or even the environment of the product/service.
•Focus groups - Participatory groups that are led through a discussion and activities to gather data on a particular product or service.
•Field Studies - heading into the user’s environment and observing while taking notes (and photographs or videos if possible).
•In-Lab testing - observations of users completing particular tasks in a controlled environment. Users are often asked to describe out loud their actions, thoughts and feelings and are videoed for later analysis
•Card sorting - Used to help understand Information Architecture and naming conventions better. Can be really handy to sort large amounts of content into logical groupings for users.

Quantitative Methods:
•User Surveys - Questionnaires with a structured format, targeting your specific user personas. These can be a great way to get a large amount of data.
•First Click Testing - A test setup to analyse what a user would click on first in order to complete their intended task. This can be done with paper prototypes, interactive wireframes or an existing website.
•Eye Tracking - Measures the gaze of the eye, allowing the observer to ‘see’ what the user sees.
•Heatmapping - Visual mapping of data showing how users click and scroll through your prototype or website.
•Web analytics - Data that is gathered from a website or prototype it is integrated with, allowing you to see demographics of users, pageviews and funnels of how users move through your site and where they drop off. The most well known online tool to integrate would be Google Analytics.
•A/B testing - Comparing two version of a web page to see which one converts users more. This is a great way to test button placements, colours, banners and other elements in your UI.

Why user research is so important?
•Great UX Design is grounded in great user research - driven by user insights while balancing priorities and technical feasibility.
•User research helps uncover important and useful insights about the user and their needs. Until you know your user and their needs, emotions, feelings, struggles etc, you won’t be able to deliver a great user experience.
Also :
•To create designs that are truly relevant to your users
•To create designs that are easy and pleasurable to use
•To understand the return on investment (ROI) of your user experience (UX) design
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