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User Sense

Qualitative UX Research Methods Explained

Choosing the right research technique is not always as black and white as it seems. And that is why we are happy to help you with our knowledge and expertise. In this article, we explain which UX research variant best suits which phase.

When to use qualitative UX Research

In the most ideal situation, you structurally conduct a combination of quantitative and qualitative UX research. Yet in practice we often see that primarily quantitative research is conducted, simply because it is often less time-consuming.

Where you often use quantitative research to get answers to research questions that start with 'what', 'where', and 'when', you want to use qualitative research to get answers to questions that start with 'Why' and 'How'.

In this article we will discuss the three techniques that we offer through our platform. You can read an overview of all techniques in our article about UX research.

Unmoderated user testing

In unmoderated user tests, testers participate from their own laptop or mobile phone, via Windows, Mac, Android, or the User Sense IOS app. 

Characteristic of an unmoderated user test is:

  • No 1:1 interaction with a UX researcher. The big advantage of this? The behavior of the tester is not affected.
  • Testers take the test in their own time and environment. This mimics the normal behavior of the tester as much as possible.   
  • Affordably priced. A large part of the process is automated, which means that unmoderated user tests can be purchased from as little as €65 per tester.

When do you use unmoderated user tests?

  • For testing existing websites or apps
  • With fully clickable (high-fidelity) prototypes
  • At the start of a test or CRO journey
  • When you want to gain insight into the overall usability or UX instead of specific parts

Moderated user testing

In moderated user tests, testers also use their own mobile phone or laptop to participate in the test session.

Characteristic of remote moderated user tests is:

  • There is 1:1 interaction with a UX researcher. This makes it possible to ask questions and to correct the tester if he or she strays.
  • Respondent recruitment is easier. Because the testers can participate in the test from their own home (instead of a usability lab), difficult respondent profiles can be recruited more easily.
  • Pre- and post-test interview. A moderated user test is often accompanied by a short interview before and after. In this way additional context and background information can be collected.

When do you use remote moderated user tests?

  • For non-clickable (low-fidelity) prototypes or mock-ups
  • With complex websites, apps, or flows
  • When you want to inquire about the experience of specific website parts
  • After performing an unmoderated test, to zoom in more deeply on the pain points and possible solutions

User interviews

User interviews can be conducted on site or through the User Sense platform.

Characteristic of in-depth interviews

  • There is 1:1 interaction with a researcher. The researcher asks the tester questions on the basis of a predetermined questionnaire (which is often semi-structured in nature).
  • Recruitment is simple(er). Testers often enjoy taking part in an interview, especially if they can do it from home.

When do you use in-depth interviews?

  • Problem discovery. By interviewing the target group you can find out whether your idea solves a problem and whether the problem is big enough to want to develop a solution for it. Reading tip: The Mom Test. 
  • At the beginning of the design cycle. By interviewing the target group at the start of the design cycle, you avoid making major decisions based on assumptions.  
  • To really get to know your target group. You can do so much market research, but in the end there is only one way to get to know your potential customers: by talking to them.

Focus groups

In focus groups, several respondents are invited to participate in a group discussion.

Characteristic of focus groups

  • There is interaction between the respondents. 6 to 12 respondents take part in a focus group to discuss specific topics. New ideas can be discussed and validated through mutual interaction. 
  • Early on in the UX Research Process Focus groups are often used in the exploratory or validation phase of the design process to identify needs or to test new concepts with the target group before further development.  

When do you use focus groups?

  • Identifying needs and preferences. In a focus group, respondents can be asked about certain problems they encounter in their daily lives or can be asked about respondents' experiences with similar products or services.
  • Validate concepts. By conducting focus groups, new concepts can be presented to the target group and assumptions can be validated before the concepts are further developed in one of the later phases. 

Are you considering to conduct Qualitative UX Research?

Let's discuss how we can help you. 

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