UX (user experience) research is the systematic investigation of users and their requirements, in order to add context and insight into the process of designing the user experience. What is UX Research? UX (user experience) research is the systematic investigation of users and their requirements, in order to add context and insight into the process of designing the user experience. UX research employs a variety of techniques, tools, and methodologies to reach conclusions, determine facts, and uncover problems, thereby revealing valuable information which can be fed into the design process. UX research aims to gather information from users by way of a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, including interviews, contextual inquiries, diary studies, personas, card sorting, and usability testing. The focus is on the systematic approach to gathering and interpreting collected data. Due to this, UX research demands the structured and methodical selection and application of the most appropriate tools for information gathering. Activities can take place at the generative (ideation) and the evaluative (validation) stages of a development process. UX research helps a design team inform the design of products and services, validate its assumptions, and—ultimately—reduce the cost of delivering a successful product. In comparison to user research, UX research does not necessarily assume an iterative process. Thus, it can be considered “applied research”— i.e., it is geared around analysing real-life phenomena in order to furnish detailed facts, instead of aiming to understand underlying abstract principles or to generate or improve a theory.  7 Tried and Tested UX Techniques #Card Sorting Card sorting was originally a technique used in psychological research long before UX research was a “thing”. It’s a simple concept, you write words or phrases on cards, then you ask the user to categorize them. You might also ask them to label the categories. It’s a great way to determine whether your Information Architecture (IA) is heading in the right direction or to examine IA for new products. There are all sorts of card sorting techniques and choosing the right one is important. Better still, there are a bunch of online tools that let you do card sorting remotely now – allowing you to use the technique globally and not just locally. Why is card sorting a good technique? It’s a very cheap form of research – particularly face-to-face, online tools may be more expensive. It’s a very easy technique for users to understand and for clients to understand too. It’s a very easy method to get user input (or even to get user validation) for ideas early on in a UX project. It requires next to no effort to prepare a card sorting study. #The Expert Review An expert review is where a usability expert uses his/her knowledge and experience of testing websites with users to walk through a website in the shoes of a typical user. The expert will spot problems and recommend changes to improve usability when budgets and timescales don’t allow for user research. An expert review is an inspection method designed to identify usability problems in an online product or service. The review is carried out by a small group of usability experts (between 1 and 4), who analyse the product or service to identify any potential usability issues . This expert usability review is one of the few methods within the user centered design process that does not involve any direct contact with end users. #Eye Movement Tracking Eye tracking provides compelling objective data that reveals the human behaviour behind usability problems. User Experience (UX) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers use this methodology to evaluate interfaces for the optimal user experience. #Field Studies UX Research Field Guide introduces field studies as a family of research methods, explaining some of the different types and what they are for. The field study is not one research method but a whole category, including all studies of users in their “natural environment,” so to speak. This means homes, workplaces, streets, neighbourhood’s, parks, shops, and other contexts in which your product might eventually be used. If, in a research study, you travel to your participants rather than inviting them to come to your office or lab, you’re conducting a field study. #Usability Testing Usability testing is a simple and central idea in IT that involves testing software products, interfaces or technologies on end users. Usability testing is important to develop strategies for finding out how systems work practically when they are delivered to customers. Why usability testing? Improve your designs by watching real customers interact with your interface (websites, mobile devices, prototypes). User testing is grounded in behavioural observations to provide design insights. This research generates actionable findings to redesign your site or application. Validate your assumptions at any stage, from low fidelity (sketches, wireframes) to live websites and applications. We tailor each research project to reflect your goals and timeline. #Remote Usability Testing Remote usability testing is a way to test how easy to use a website is with users who are in a different geographical location. Traditional usability testing brings users and researchers together in one place to conduct the test, whereas remote usability testing allows the researcher and user to be in different locations while the test is completed. Remote testing can also recruit participants live when they enter the website. When using the live recruiting method researchers can catch people at the beginning of their journey with the site, ask them to share their screen, and then watch how they complete their journey. This is a critical difference with traditional lab based usability which places participants in an unfamiliar environment and asks them to perform pre-defined tasks. #User Personas Personas are fictional characters, which you create based upon your research in order to represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. -PERNYTHA ROY]]>