Our Thoughts
Suchismita Ghosh
Design Writer
03 February, 2022 7 MIN READ

What is the Purpose of UX Research in Product Design?

Whenever a new product is launched into the market, there are initial jitters as to whether it will find acceptance between users. And this is something UX Research helps in solving. Before a product release, during the design processing phase, extensive UX Research helps to understand user needs and requirements. It documents target users by understanding their behavior towards using a product. This in turn aids to equate the level of success of the product and whether it might require further revisions before its release into the market.

In this blog, we’ll be discussing the purpose of UX Research, the key methods of conducting UX research, and conclude with how incorporating UX Research helps understand users better.

Purpose of UX Research

UX Research is one of the most important steps in the product design cycle. It helps in understanding the usability of the product and whether end-users can benefit from its use. It enables product teams to find accurate answers to complex questions that might arise when designing a product.

Launching a new product requires an understanding of whether the target users are going to want to invest in it and that can only be understood through their experiences of using a product. This is one of the primary reasons why UX Research is conducted. It helps in not just getting a clear view of the usability of the product but also helps in understanding whether it requires further changes or revisions before the final launch into the market.

Different UX Research Methods

UX Research methods primarily focus on meeting stakeholder needs and focus on determining the success or failure of a product or service by looking into the user experience it provides. Some of the most common UX research methods are -

  • Interviews - One-on-one interactions between a researcher and a participant for in-depth discussions on the opinions of the participant regarding a product. Interviews are one of the best methods of qualitative research wherein an in-depth understanding of a user’s opinions, experiences, needs and behaviour can be understood.
  • Usability Lab Studies - Participants are brought into a lab for one-on-one interactions with a researcher and are provided with scenarios that lead to tasks indicating specific interest in a product. Usability lab studies help to uncover problems and discover opportunities as to whether a design is iterative by observing user interactions with the product.
  • Participatory Design - Participants are provided with design elements that they use to construct ideal experiences concretely, expressing what matters most to them and why. Participatory design is conducted by placing users at the center of a collage, and that enables researchers to understand how the user conceives of their role in their interaction with the product. It is one of the best ways for users to convey their needs when they’re unable to use words to describe the experience.
  • Eyetracking - An eye-tracking device is positioned to precisely measure what participants look at, as they interact on a real-time basis with websites, applications, products, and the environment. This is one of the best ways of tracking usability issues without disturbing the user in their natural setting. By studying the movement of a participant’s eyes through a range of activities, a researcher can understand the cognitive processes that underlie the user’s behaviour.
  • Concept Testing - A researcher shares an approximate idea of a product or concept that is able to capture the value proposition of a new product or concept to determine whether it meets the needs of target users. It can either be conducted on a one-on-one basis or with a large group of participants, virtually or in person. This research method helps in preventing bad decision-making and enables researchers to understand whether users want the product.
  • Customer Feedback - Open-ended or close-ended information that is provided by self-selected users, who participate in research studies through the mail, feedback link, button, or a form. Customer feedback helps researchers to understand competitors better. By analyzing why your product does better than your competitor and vice-versa, you can make additional changes as needed to your product.
  • Card Sorting - This can either be a quantitative or qualitative method of asking users to organize items into groups by assigning categories to them. This helps in refining the information architecture of a site by exposing a user’s mental model. Card sorting helps to get functional information about users and to understand their understanding of a product through their method of assigning categories to it.
  • Clickstream Analysis - Analysis of screen recordings or pages that users click on when using a site or product. Clickstream analysis is aimed to track user actions as they interact with the product, thus giving a good understanding of user behaviour.
  • Ethnographic Field Studies Researchers interact with participants in their natural environment when they interact with the product or website. Ethnographic field studies are a subjective research method that helps to analyze and identify unexpected issues. It is an ideal research process for uncovering relevant user emotions and attitudes.
  • Focus Groups - Consists of groups of 3 to 12 participants who are led through discussions on a set of topics and who give their verbal or written feedback via discussions and exercises. This is an informal research technique that helps to assess user needs before interface design and after implementation. It helps to understand the requirements of the user from the product.
  • Usability Benchmarking - Scripted usability studies were performed with several participants with the help of predetermined measures of performance. Usability benchmarking enables product teams to analyze the success of the product and demonstrate its value. It helps in testing the ****current usability of a system and helps in providing a baseline against which future products can be compared.
  • Moderated Remote Usability Studies - Remotely conducted usability studies using screen-sharing software and remote control capabilities.
  • Unmoderated Remote Panel Studies - Panel of trained participants having screen-recording software pre-installed on their device, use a product while thinking out loud, and get their experience recorded for instant playback and analysis by a researcher.
  • Diary/Camera Studies - Participants are provided with a mechanism to record aspects of their lives that are relevant to the product, service, or main target audience.
  • Desirability Studies - Participants are provided with different visual-design alternatives and they’re expected to associate each of them with a set of attributes from a closed list. This research method helps to understand and exploit the responses of users by tracking their reactions to visual elements of an interaction design.
  • A/B Testing - A method used for testing different designs on a site. It is done by randomly assigning groups to interact with each of the designs and then measuring the effects of these designs on user behaviour. A/B Testing is one of the most sought-after research methods that help UX teams and product designers make steady changes to the product over time. It helps to improve landing pages, call-to-action buttons, and the like.

Conclusion

UX Research helps in keeping the user at the center of the product designing process. It helps in focusing on the usability of the product and to keep a check on competitors as well. UX Researchers conduct an extensive study of user experiences to understand whether the product being created meets their requirements and if it serves a purpose.

By conducting usability research throughout the development process of a product, designers ensure its feasibility and take into account possible changes that may be required in the product before its release into the market. By studying the experiences of users in real-time, product designers are able to understand whether the services they’re looking to offer are going to be accepted by the target market. This ensures not just the success of the product to be launched but also saves a business from unforeseen losses.

TL;DR

  • What is the purpose of UX Research? UX Research helps designers to understand the usability of a product and how beneficial it can be to end-users.
  • What are the UX Research methods used by product designers?Product designers make use of the following research methods - interviews, usability lab studies, participatory design, eye-tracking, clickstream analysis, ethnographic field studies, focus groups, usability benchmarking, concept testing, card sorting, customer feedback, moderated remote usability studies, unmoderated remote panel studies, diary/camera studies, desirability studies, and A/B testing.
  • How does UX Research help with product designing? Conducting user experiences throughout the development stage of a product, designers are able to check for the feasibility and usability of the product. Studying users in real-time product designers are able to make necessary changes to their services before their release into the market.
Suchismita Ghosh