Selecting the Right UX Research Method

As more businesses are becoming focused on building outstanding online experiences, more UI/UX designers are being tasked with researching the most relevant user preferences. How to make sure that the design built meets the needs of the target audience? Finally, how to craft a successful product strategy? This is where proper UX research can help. 

UX research is all about understanding user behavior and solving user problems. We have already mentioned it in one of our previous articles. Typically, it boils down to quantitative and qualitative data capturing. Often, it is tricky to decide which of the two approaches to using for better results. But as you start thinking of selecting the right UX research method, it is better to first get an idea of what is qualitative and quantitative UX approaches. After all, how to get started with all this UX design stuff? In this posting, we will talk about setting your research goals and choosing the appropriate UX research methodology to uncover the data you need to grow your business. So let’s begin!


Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Methods. What’s the Difference?

Qualitative UX research allows collecting textual information to understand the “why” behind the raw numbers. This provides the ability to see patterns that have no underlying data (and cannot be expressed in numbers). Qualitative UX approach helps answer questions like “What is the biggest frustration you had with the latest design feature?” Common qualitative research methods include participatory design sessions, focus groups, diary studies, interviews, and usability tests.

In contrast, quantitative UX research can be expressed numerically in a percentage or statistical format. The numerical result allows answering specific questions, such as “What percentage of users have annual income higher than $100k?” Common quantitative research methods include card sorts, eye-tracking studies, click tests, multivariate tests, and surveys.

In a nutshell, a qualitative approach refers to non-standard information expressed verbally, whereas a qualitative approach produces numerical data.

So That’s It?

Well, the UX research pretty much comes down to these two techniques. However, there is also a hybrid technique that combines both of them. For example, you can go with “What is the biggest development in the web design industry?” (attitudinal data), and then ask “What is your biggest problem when you try to login a website?” (behavioural data). Indeed, numerous types of research are capable of capturing both forms of data. For instance, you can ask about one thing that a user would change with your website, while capturing qualitative data such as the respondent’s nationality, gender, age, etc.


How To Select UX Research Technique?

Now that we have examined the idea of quantitative and qualitative techniques in UX research, it is time to learn how do you choose the right one for your project? Here we have prepared a simple step-by-step guide to help you focus your attention to the most critical part of your UX research:

  • Clearly state your problem.

Before selecting the right method, it is important that you understand the issue you are trying to solve. Any UX problem is not just a user problem, it also has organizational and business context. So the most significant question here is “How can I get visitors to stop needing help with my design?” Identify the problem clearly and you are done with this step.

  • Determine what information you need in order to solve the issue and how can you get it

Qualitative data provides more detailed data about a problem. How many users experience it? What is the root cause of it? Is there one cause? At the same time, quantitative data allows you to explore the problem and helps you understand the thought flow of your users. Are you looking to know their OPINIONS on what they are doing? Or do you seek to improve WHAT they are doing? These are totally different things.

  • Choose a methodology that fits you the most

In other words, determine which of two approaches can give you the shortest path to data you need and in the easiest manner possible? Which one can keep your deadlines to a minimum, while maximizing the use of your budget? 

At this stage, you can use all the gathered knowledge about the problem that you are trying to solve as well as an understanding of data necessary.

For instance, an interview is a great idea to get qualitative data on a product’s performance to start developing new solutions and features. At the same time, surveys allow you to get to quantitative data if you need to understand the user’s needs from scratch.


Key Takeaways

As you might have noticed, it is not just about “words” and “numbers” when it comes to differences between quantitative and qualitative UX research methods. It is all about solving usability issues. So the better you understand and state these issues, the simpler it is for you to choose the proper approach. At Loonar Studios, we know how to get the most out of UX research taking into account your business objectives and project stage. Want to make you design better? Contact us now! Good luck!