I understand that there are many UX research method out there – some produce data and insight, whereas others support ongoing activities to get this done. There is always something helpful to learn in every single stage, but it is essential to choose the suitable method at the right time based on budget, needs and context. UX research cheat sheet helps determine the correct methods and activities by giving an overview and making the product, yet keeping it user-centric.
As we adapt to a digital age, we notice that the UX design of various products has become more critical and seamless. A seamless digital experience is a meaningful way to influence users to trust the product and the brand to keep coming back. And UX research before the design process provides comprehensive data to do that, making UX research good for business.
This post will detail the UX research cheat sheet, namely, UX research process and UX research methods, UX research skills, and UX research topics.
Let us begin.
UX research process and UX research methods
UX research methods are imperative for gathering data and insights. Similarly, ongoing activities in user experience can make everyone’s efforts more effective and valuable.
People often ask when I should do UX research on my project? Well, there are three ways to answer this question:
● One can conduct a UX research process at the current stage they’re in at the moment.
● Conduct the UX research process at all stages, as each research step will only increase the product’s value.
● Conduct most UX research process before beginning the project, but conserve some budget for a smaller amount of additional research later in the project.
I choose to believe that the earlier the research, the more impact the findings will have on the product. Creating a UX research cheat sheet applies in the typical case where there are budget constraints for all the research steps that could be useful. The chart below describes a UX research cheat sheet – various methods and activities available in multiple project stages. Allow me to explain the UX research process and different UX research methods that can be used simultaneously.
As described in studies conducted by Neilson Norman Group, the research process can be done in the following stages –
At this stage, trying to uncover the unknown and the needs of the user is paramount. These activities should be conducted before starting a new project or adding a new feature to a product which involves finding out the validity or capability before investing in the resources. The goal here is to gather or discard assumptions through insights and data.
UX research methods that are great here include:
● Field studies.
● Diary studies.
● User interviews.
● Stakeholder interviews.
● Constraint inventory.
The goal at this stage is to recognise the problem and how to serve the user. Alongside UX research methods, it is crucial to comprehend inconsistencies, and considering the diverse settings and outline indications of the new design(s).
UX research methods that help in this stage include:
● Competitive analysis.
● Task analysis.
● Persona building.
● Journey mapping.
● Design reviews.
● Card sorting.
At this stage, testing is done to make sure the designed systems serve the user. It is crucial to start testing early in the development process with a diverse range of people. Furthermore, using ongoing strategic activities such as tracking usability overtime and transparency with stakeholders throughout the design process can ensure an easy fix for future problems.
UX research methods used in this stage are validation methods, including:
● Qualitative usability testing.
● Benchmark testing.
● Accessibility evaluations.
Listening throughout user research will aid in directing future efforts and understanding new problems that have arisen.
UX research methods for testing include:
● Analytical reviews.
● Usability bug reviews.
● FAQ reviews.
● Search log analysis.
This brings us to the realisation that the UX research cheat sheet – various UX research methods are great to derive insights while running simultaneously with the design process to create a product that serves the users well. The UX research process can help make valuable efforts and reduce the time as many methods are utilised concurrently.
UX research skills
To build a UX research cheat sheet, UX researchers must be skilled at what they do, which typically requires education or expertise in a related field that analyses human behaviour, such as psychology, cognitive science or behavioural economics. It’s crucial to be proficient at reading the user and empathising with them while handling data and analytics.
Many candidates are typically curious, passionate and self-driven. These candidates also have experience working in a fast-paced environment to apply both generative and evaluative research methods. It’s also essential to have a firm perception of the design thinking process to influence design strategy accordingly.
More accurately, the skills required for the profile of a UX researcher are:
● Communication and time-management skills.
● Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
● Analytical mindset and statistical knowledge.
● Domain competence.
● Awareness of cognitive and behavioural psychology.
● A working understanding of the software development process.
● Understanding UX methodologies.
● Knowledge of UX research tools.
Obtaining these skills can be done through:
● Identifying research opportunities.
● Volunteering for a design project.
● Completing research for a personal project.
Overall, practising and refining these UX research skills for the future is where one should begin.
UX research topics
As I mentioned earlier, to build a UX research cheat sheet, one must be proficient with their skills. There are a few topics that are covered in UX research that pertains to UX design, such as:
● A/B Testing
● User Interviews
● Card Sorting technique
● User Feedback
● Expert Reviews
● Contextual Inquiry
● UX Metrics
● Consumer Research
● HCI Research
● Human Factors Research
● Stakeholder Research
The UX research topics mentioned above can help a candidate better comprehend UX research, which can help build an excellent UX research cheat sheet.
As the discipline of UX research has matured, the importance of user-centred research has grown exponentially. To sum up, everything stated so far – before trying to think about which UX research method to use, I believe it is vital to be aware of each method through the UX research cheat sheet mentioned above. Using this UX research cheat sheet to choose the appropriate option, one can get the most out of their project as a particular reason for their circumstance requires a mix of various methods & activities.