UX :: User Research – Strategic Approaches

3 min read

In today’s digital world the requirement and usage of digital products have increased to unimaginable extent which in turn has given an exponential growth to the UX world and its habitants. Lets see my thoughts on doing User Research as part of UX design.
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I must mention here the requirement of UX has deep rooted into physical products also anyway let me not deviate from my topic. Lets see what Wikipedia says about User Research

User research focuses on understanding user behaviours, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.

As per Mike Kuniaysky:

User Research is the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience.

Whatever is the definition I believe it can be applied for today’s digital world because the expectation of the users on the products(digital and physical) is changing every moment.
I once heard a nice phrase, “People ignores design that ignores people” and I personally believe in that phrase.
Initially there were only 3 or 4 research methods was in usage in the UX industry but it got increased to 14 based on expectations from users and clients. The latest survey tools were also helping UX designer to improve the way surveys were conducted. In a survey, every method must answer the 4 questions. They are

  1. Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
  2. Is the content plays a role?
  3. Is the design plays a role?
  4. Is testing and refining required?

Now the most important 14 methods are:
1. Card Sorting:
The structure of the information which has to be displayed in the product is given to the users and asking them to arrange or sort.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
Not at all
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
2. Contextual Interviews:
As the name says it is interviewing and observing the user on the context in his own environment.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
Not at all
Is testing and refining required?
Not at all
3. First Click Testing:
It is a method focusing mainly on the navigation pattern of the user.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
Not at all
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
4. Focus Groups:
It is about interviewing a group of users mainly for understanding the phycology.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
Not at all
5. Heuristic Evaluation/Expert Review:
It is allowing the UX expects to review the product based on prevailing guidelines and standards.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
Not at all
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
6. Individual Interviews:
As the name says in person interview is done with user for understanding the phycology.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
7. Parallel Design:
It is about combining multiple designs created by multiple designers for the same requirement to get the finial product.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
Not at all
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
Not at all
8. Personas:
Creating an virutal user based on the results collected from other research methods.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
Not at all
Is testing and refining required?
Not at all
9. Prototyping:
Creating a model are semi functioning replica of the original product.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
Not at all
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
10. Surveys:
As the name says it is about surveying multiple users.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
11. System Usability Scale:
As per Wikipedia- In system engineering, the system usability scale (SUS) is a simple, ten-item attitude Likert scale giving a global view of subjective assessments of usability. It was developed by John Brooke.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
Not at all
Is the content plays a role?
Not at all
Is the design plays a role?
Not at all
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
12. Task Analysis:
It is about understanding which task the user wants to perform in the product.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
Not all all
Is the design plays a role?
Not all all
Is testing and refining required?
Not all all
13. Usability Testing:
It is about identifying the problems faced by the user while using the product by conducting interviews and demo sessions.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
definitely
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
definitely
14. Use Cases:
Providing a description card to the users on how to use the features on the product and getting the feedback.
Is it required to know the phycology of the user?
Not at all
Is the content plays a role?
definitely
Is the design plays a role?
definitely
Is testing and refining required?
Not at all
I hope the information provided above will be useful and so your views and comments are highly appreciated.

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