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 to get inspiration for design concepts. In the later stages, user research is very often used to evaluate and understand the implications and acceptance of certain design prototypes.
These different objectives require different user research methods and selecting the right method is very often a complicated task (i.e. should you do an ethnographic field study or a focus group to get inspiration for new product features?).
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 the different phases of product development suggesting typical 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".
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