User Experience Research Methods: Finding the Right One, for the Right Task at the Right Time

image In user-centered design processes, different research methods can be applied in different stages of the process of developing new products or services. User research in the early stages should aim to gather insights about consumer and their behavior as well as invoke inspiration for design concepts. In the later stages, user research is often used to evaluate and understand the implications and acceptance of certain design prototypes.

These differing objectives require compatible user research methods. Selecting the right method is often a complicated task. For example, should you do an ethnographic field study or a focus group to create inspiration for new product features?

Christian Rohrer has written an article in Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox with the title “When to Use Which User Experience Methods“, which provides guidance in selecting the correct user experience research method.

Modern day user experience research methods can now answer a wide range of questions. Knowing when to use each method can be understood by mapping them in 3 key dimensions and across typical product development phases. […] These three dimensions are Attitudinal vs. Behavioral, Qualitative vs. Quantitative and Context of Website or Product Use.

Especially interesting is the chart that illustrates where several popular user research methods appear along these dimensions:


Additionally, the proposed guidelines differentiate between phases of product development, which  suggests appropriate methods for the strategize, optimize and assess phases in product development.

If you are looking for more information about user research methods, you can find more information in the article “The 13 Most Popular Methods for User-Centered Design” as well as in “An Overview of Market Research Methods for Innovation Development“.

Read the complete article.


Photo courtesy of Roebot


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