User research

User research is the study of target users, this includes learning more about their needs and pain points when using mobile apps and websites. We aim to understand what they want to accomplish looking at the scenarios in which they use the mobile app or website. The idea is to interact with the targeted mobile app or website users to understand who they are and how they use those platforms.

Dimensions of user research

What are the dimensions of user research?

There are several approaches to the process of user research. According to Christian Rohrer from Nielsen Norman Group, to know when to use which user research method, each of methods is mapped across 3 dimensions and over time within a typical product-development process

To better understand when to use which method, it is helpful to view them along a 3-dimensional framework with the following axes explained in the graphic below:

Attitudinal Vs. Behavioural

This distinction can be summed up by contrasting "what people say" versus "what people do". These are usually quite different.

The purpose of attitudinal research is usually to understand or measure people's stated beliefs, which is why attitudinal research is used heavily in marketing departments.

Qualitative Vs.  Quantitative

Quantitative research is designed to gather data points in measurable, numerical form.

Qualitative research relies on the observation and collection of non-numerical insights such as opinions and motivations

Context of use

This distinction can be summed up by contrasting "what people say" versus "what people do". These are usually quite different.

The purpose of attitudinal research is usually to understand or measure people's stated beliefs, which is why attitudinal research is used heavily in marketing departments.

Methods
of research

Personas
With this technique, the designer collects psychological information and the behaviour of the potential targeted audience then creates imaginary users with these characteristics. The designer then models users’ interactions with the product and possible issues that can arise in the process.

Surveys
Another method to use is surveys. By answering these survey questions users give the actual information enabling designers to understand their preferences and wishes deeper.

Focus group
Moderated discussion of the product with a select potential target audience is another method. Discussion will range from product features, benefits to drawbacks. The researcher can alter the group accordingly by age, gender or tech literacy to get data to see how these features can influence user behaviour.

Task analysis
The method looks into the users’ goals when interacting with the product. By understanding what the users want, designers are able to create a product to meet these goals fast and effectively.

Eyetracking
With this method special devices enable the designer to review which zones of the website or app users interact with more actively.

Participating design
Users are offered the set of elements for the layout and can suggest their own vision of the construction.

Clickstream testing
The analysis of the most clickable parts of the layout with the aim of designing clear interactions and revealing the problems.

Daily testing
Here the user is asked to interact with a product for a particular period providing the reports on a daily basis. This helps to check the usability of the product in the perspective of long-term use.

Desirability testing
The users are offered different versions of the product and they provide the feedback which version they would prefer and why. The designer usually focuses on style and how the product looks.