The Complete Guide to UX Research Methods

UX research provides invaluable insight into product users and what they need and value. Not only will research reduce the risk of a miscalculated guess, it will uncover new opportunities for innovation.

The Complete Guide to UX Research Methods

By Miklos Philips

Miklos is a UX designer, product design strategist, author, and speaker with more than 18 years of experience in the design field.


“Empathy is at the heart of design. Without the understanding of what others see, feel, and experience, design is a pointless task.” —Tim Brown, CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO

User experience (UX) design is the process of designing products that are useful, easy to use, and a pleasure to engage. It’s about enhancing the entire experience people have while interacting with a product and making sure they find value, satisfaction, and delight. If a mountain peak represents that goal, employing various types of UX research is the path UX designers use to get to the top of the mountain.

User experience research is one of the most misunderstood yet critical steps in UX design. Sometimes treated as an afterthought or an unaffordable luxury, UX research, and user testing should inform every design decision.

Every product, service, or user interface designers create in the safety and comfort of their workplaces has to survive and prosper in the real world. Countless people will engage our creations in an unpredictable environment over which designers have no control. UX research is the key to grounding ideas in reality and improving the odds of success, but research can be a scary word. It may sound like money we don’t have, time we can’t spare, and expertise we have to seek.

In order to do UX research effectively—to get a clear picture of what users think and why they do what they do—e.g., to “walk a mile in the user’s shoes” as a favorite UX maxim goes, it is essential that user experience designers and product teams conduct user research often and regularly. Contingent upon time, resources, and budget, the deeper they can dive the better.

Website and mobile app UX research methods and techniques.

What Is UX Research?

There is a long, comprehensive list of UX design research methods employed by user researchers , but at its center is the user and how they think and behave —their needs and motivations. Typically, UX research does this through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.

There are two main types of user research: quantitative (statistics: can be calculated and computed; focuses on numbers and mathematical calculations) and qualitative (insights: concerned with descriptions, which can be observed but cannot be computed).

Quantitative research is primarily exploratory research and is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. Some common data collection methods include various forms of surveys – online surveys , paper surveys , mobile surveys and kiosk surveys , longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.

This user research method may also include analytics, such as Google Analytics .

Google Analytics is part of a suite of interconnected tools that help interpret data on your site’s visitors including Data Studio , a powerful data-visualization tool, and Google Optimize, for running and analyzing dynamic A/B testing.

Quantitative data from analytics platforms should ideally be balanced with qualitative insights gathered from other UX testing methods , such as focus groups or usability testing. The analytical data will show patterns that may be useful for deciding what assumptions to test further.

Qualitative user research is a direct assessment of behavior based on observation. It’s about understanding people’s beliefs and practices on their terms. It can involve several different methods including contextual observation, ethnographic studies, interviews, field studies, and moderated usability tests.

Quantitative UX research methods.

Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group feels that in the case of UX research, it is better to emphasize insights (qualitative research) and that although quant has some advantages, qualitative research breaks down complicated information so it’s easy to understand, and overall delivers better results more cost effectively—in other words, it is much cheaper to find and fix problems during the design phase before you start to build. Often the most important information is not quantifiable, and he goes on to suggest that “quantitative studies are often too narrow to be useful and are sometimes directly misleading.”

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. William Bruce Cameron

Design research is not typical of traditional science with ethnography being its closest equivalent—effective usability is contextual and depends on a broad understanding of human behavior if it is going to work.

Nevertheless, the types of user research you can or should perform will depend on the type of site, system or app you are developing, your timeline, and your environment.

User experience research methods.

Top UX Research Methods and When to Use Them

Here are some examples of the types of user research performed at each phase of a project.

Card Sorting : Allows users to group and sort a site’s information into a logical structure that will typically drive navigation and the site’s information architecture. This helps ensure that the site structure matches the way users think.

Contextual Interviews : Enables the observation of users in their natural environment, giving you a better understanding of the way users work.

First Click Testing : A testing method focused on navigation, which can be performed on a functioning website, a prototype, or a wireframe.

Focus Groups : Moderated discussion with a group of users, allowing insight into user attitudes, ideas, and desires.

Heuristic Evaluation/Expert Review : A group of usability experts evaluating a website against a list of established guidelines .

Interviews : One-on-one discussions with users show how a particular user works. They enable you to get detailed information about a user’s attitudes, desires, and experiences.

Parallel Design : A design methodology that involves several designers pursuing the same effort simultaneously but independently, with the intention to combine the best aspects of each for the ultimate solution.

Personas : The creation of a representative user based on available data and user interviews. Though the personal details of the persona may be fictional, the information used to create the user type is not.

Prototyping : Allows the design team to explore ideas before implementing them by creating a mock-up of the site. A prototype can range from a paper mock-up to interactive HTML pages.

Surveys : A series of questions asked to multiple users of your website that help you learn about the people who visit your site.

System Usability Scale (SUS) : SUS is a technology-independent ten-item scale for subjective evaluation of the usability.

Task Analysis : Involves learning about user goals, including what users want to do on your website, and helps you understand the tasks that users will perform on your site.

Usability Testing : Identifies user frustrations and problems with a site through one-on-one sessions where a “real-life” user performs tasks on the site being studied.

Use Cases : Provide a description of how users use a particular feature of your website. They provide a detailed look at how users interact with the site, including the steps users take to accomplish each task.

US-based full-time freelance UX designers wanted

You can do user research at all stages or whatever stage you are in currently. However, the Nielsen Norman Group advises that most of it be done during the earlier phases when it will have the biggest impact. They also suggest it’s a good idea to save some of your budget for additional research that may become necessary (or helpful) later in the project.

Here is a diagram listing recommended options that can be done as a project moves through the design stages. The process will vary, and may only include a few things on the list during each phase. The most frequently used methods are shown in bold.

UX research methodologies in the product and service design lifecycle.

Reasons for Doing UX Research

Here are three great reasons for doing user research :

To create a product that is truly relevant to users

  • If you don’t have a clear understanding of your users and their mental models, you have no way of knowing whether your design will be relevant. A design that is not relevant to its target audience will never be a success.

To create a product that is easy and pleasurable to use

  • A favorite quote from Steve Jobs: “ If the user is having a problem, it’s our problem .” If your user experience is not optimal, chances are that people will move on to another product.

To have the return on investment (ROI) of user experience design validated and be able to show:

  • An improvement in performance and credibility
  • Increased exposure and sales—growth in customer base
  • A reduced burden on resources—more efficient work processes

Aside from the reasons mentioned above, doing user research gives insight into which features to prioritize, and in general, helps develop clarity around a project.

What is UX research: using analytics data for quantitative research study.

What Results Can I Expect from UX Research?

In the words of Mike Kuniaysky, user research is “ the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience. ”

User research has been essential to the success of behemoths like USAA and Amazon ; Joe Gebbia, CEO of Airbnb is an enthusiastic proponent, testifying that its implementation helped turn things around for the company when it was floundering as an early startup.

Some of the results generated through UX research confirm that improving the usability of a site or app will:

  • Increase conversion rates
  • Increase sign-ups
  • Increase NPS (net promoter score)
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Increase purchase rates
  • Boost loyalty to the brand
  • Reduce customer service calls

Additionally, and aside from benefiting the overall user experience, the integration of UX research into the development process can:

  • Minimize development time
  • Reduce production costs
  • Uncover valuable insights about your audience
  • Give an in-depth view into users’ mental models, pain points, and goals

User research is at the core of every exceptional user experience. As the name suggests, UX is subjective—the experience that a person goes through while using a product. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the needs and goals of potential users, the context, and their tasks which are unique for each product. By selecting appropriate UX research methods and applying them rigorously, designers can shape a product’s design and can come up with products that serve both customers and businesses more effectively.

Further Reading on the Toptal Blog:

  • How to Conduct Effective UX Research: A Guide
  • The Value of User Research
  • UX Research Methods and the Path to User Empathy
  • Design Talks: Research in Action with UX Researcher Caitria O'Neill
  • Swipe Right: 3 Ways to Boost Safety in Dating App Design
  • How to Avoid 5 Types of Cognitive Bias in User Research

Understanding the basics

How do you do user research in ux.

UX research includes two main types: quantitative (statistical data) and qualitative (insights that can be observed but not computed), done through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. The UX research methods used depend on the type of site, system, or app being developed.

What are UX methods?

There is a long list of methods employed by user research, but at its center is the user and how they think, behave—their needs and motivations. Typically, UX research does this through observation techniques, task analysis, and other UX methodologies.

What is the best research methodology for user experience design?

The type of UX methodology depends on the type of site, system or app being developed, its timeline, and environment. There are 2 main types: quantitative (statistics) and qualitative (insights).

What does a UX researcher do?

A user researcher removes the need for false assumptions and guesswork by using observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies to understand a user’s motivation, behavior, and needs.

Why is UX research important?

UX research will help create a product that is relevant to users and is easy and pleasurable to use while boosting a product’s ROI. Aside from these reasons, user research gives insight into which features to prioritize, and in general, helps develop clarity around a project.

  • UserResearch

Miklos Philips

London, United Kingdom

Member since May 20, 2016

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Data-Driven Design: Quantitative Research for UX

How this course will help your career, what you will learn.

What quantitative research is and how it differs from qualitative

Why quantitative research is important

Alternatives to quantitative methods

Simple statistical analysis

Quantitative methods in detail: surveys, early-design testing, web/app analytics and A/B testing

Participant recruitment and screening

Quantitative research is about understanding user behavior at scale. In most cases the methods we’ll discuss are complementary to the qualitative approaches more commonly employed in user experience. In this course you’ll learn what quantitative methods have to offer and how they can help paint a broader picture of your users’ experience of the solutions you provide—typically websites and apps.

Since quantitative methods are focused on numerical results, we’ll also be covering statistical analysis at a basic level. You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience of statistics, and we won’t be threatening you with mathematical formulas. The approach here is very practical, and we’ll be relying instead on the numerous free tools available for analysis using some of the most common statistical methods.

In the “Build Your Portfolio: Research Data Project” , you’ll find a series of practical exercises that will give you first-hand experience of the methods we’ll cover. If you want to complete these optional exercises, you’ll create a series of case studies for your portfolio which you can show your future employer or freelance customers.

Your instructor is William Hudson . He’s been active in interactive software development for around 50 years and HCI/User Experience for 30. He has been primarily a freelance consultant but also an author, reviewer and instructor in software development and user-centered design.

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Is this course right for you?

This is a beginner-level course for anyone who wants to understand and apply quantitative research in user experience settings. This course is particularly valuable for:

  • User researchers and UX practitioners interested in gaining insight into user behavior at scale.
  • Project managers and stakeholders who want to help their team to understand the full range of research tools available to them.
  • Stakeholders who are keen to get involved in and manage the creative process of developing a new product or service.
  • Entrepreneurs looking to use quantitative insights to develop products that fit the market and users’ lives.
  • Anyone who is interested finding out more about how users and interactive systems behave in actual use.

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When you take part in this course, you’ll join a global community and work together to improve your skills and career opportunities. Connect with helpful peers and make friends with like-minded individuals as you push deeper into the exciting and booming industry of creativity and design. You will have the opportunity to share ideas, learn from your fellow course participants and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Lessons in This Course

  • Each week, one lesson becomes available.
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  • Estimated learning time: 28 hours 1 min spread over 8 weeks .

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

  • 0.1: Welcome and Introduction (39 mins) Preview Preview Start course now
  • 0.2: Let Our Community Help You (1 min) Start course now
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Lesson 1: Why Design with Data?

  • 1.1: Welcome and Introduction (6 mins) Start course now
  • 1.2: Introducing Quantitative Research Methods (17 mins) Start course now
  • 1.3: How to Fit Quantitative Research into the Project Lifecycle (16 mins) Start course now
  • 1.4: Qualitative and Quantitative Research – What’s the Difference? (15 mins) Start course now
  • 1.5: Why Do Triangulation in User Research? (10 mins) Start course now
  • 1.6: Why Care about Statistical Significance? (17 mins) Start course now
  • 1.7: Pitfalls in Recruiting Participants for User Research (24 mins) Start course now
  • 1.8: How to Screen Research Participants (11 mins) Start course now
  • 1.9: Discussion Forum (6 mins) Start course now
  • 1.10: Congratulations and Recap (10 mins) Start course now

Lesson 2: Statistics

  • 2.1: Welcome and Introduction (5 mins) Start course now
  • 2.2: Basic Statistics (33 mins) Start course now
  • 2.3: Does Usability Follow a Normal Distribution? (21 mins) Start course now
  • 2.4: Parametric vs Non-Parametric Statistics (27 mins) Start course now
  • 2.5: Data Types (23 mins) Start course now
  • 2.6: Hypothesis Testing (22 mins) Start course now
  • 2.7: How to Choose a Statistical Test (24 mins) Start course now
  • 2.8: How to Use Statistical Tests (17 mins) Start course now
  • 2.9: How to Use Tests for Categorical Data (18 mins) Start course now
  • 2.10: Using Percentages in Categorical Tests (12 mins) Start course now
  • 2.11: Likert Scale Case Study (26 mins) Start course now
  • 2.12: What Is Sampling in Data Analytics? (37 mins) Start course now
  • 2.13: Correlation in User Experience (18 mins) Start course now
  • 2.14: Effect Size and Power in Statistics (11 mins) Start course now
  • 2.15: Confidence Intervals (12 mins) Start course now
  • 2.16: Discussion Forum (6 mins) Start course now
  • 2.17: Congratulations and Recap (31 mins) Start course now

Lesson 3: Surveys

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  • 3.7: Ensuring Quality (30 mins) Start course now
  • 3.8: Standardized Usability Questionnaires (21 mins) Start course now
  • 3.9: Data Analysis and Significance in Surveys (29 mins) Start course now
  • 3.10: Build your Portfolio Project: User Survey (7 mins) Start course now
  • 3.11: Congratulations and Recap (31 mins) Start course now

Lesson 4: Early-Design Testing

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  • 4.2: Early-Design Testing (21 mins) Preview Preview Start course now
  • 4.3: Getting Started with Early-Design Tests (35 mins) Start course now
  • 4.4: Tree Testing (15 mins) Start course now
  • 4.5: First-Click Testing (17 mins) Start course now
  • 4.6: Ensuring Quality in Early-Design Tests (25 mins) Start course now
  • 4.7: Data Analysis and Significance in Early-Design Tests (30 mins) Start course now
  • 4.8: Tree-Testing Research Example (27 mins) Start course now
  • 4.9: Build your Portfolio Project: Early-Design Testing (15 mins) Start course now
  • 4.10: Discussion Forum (6 mins) Start course now
  • 4.11: Congratulations and Recap (31 mins) Start course now

Lesson 5: Web and App Analytics

  • 5.1: Welcome and Introduction (5 mins) Start course now
  • 5.2: Analytics Data Types (16 mins) Start course now
  • 5.3: When and Why to Use Analytics (23 mins) Start course now
  • 5.4: Analytics and User Experience (13 mins) Start course now
  • 5.5: The Mechanics of Analytics (39 mins) Start course now
  • 5.6: Metric Categories in Analytics (22 mins) Start course now
  • 5.7: Web Analytics Process (9 mins) Start course now
  • 5.8: Identifying Key Stakeholders (18 mins) Start course now
  • 5.9: Defining Primary Goals (35 mins) Start course now
  • 5.10: Identifying the Most Important Site Visitors (38 mins) Start course now
  • 5.11: Paths Through a Site (25 mins) Start course now
  • 5.12: Determine KPIs (13 mins) Start course now
  • 5.13: Ad Hoc Analyses (42 mins) Start course now
  • 5.14: Analytics in the organization (19 mins) Start course now
  • 5.15: Advanced Analytics (25 mins) Start course now
  • 5.16: Data analysis case study: IxDF (40 mins) Start course now
  • 5.17: Congratulations and Recap (36 mins) Start course now

Lesson 6: A/B and Multivariate Testing

  • 6.1: Welcome and Introduction (5 mins) Start course now
  • 6.2: Getting Started (39 mins) Start course now
  • 6.3: What to Test (26 mins) Start course now
  • 6.4: What’s Involved (35 mins) Start course now
  • 6.5: An A/B Test Example (25 mins) Start course now
  • 6.6: Redirect and Multivariate Test Examples (31 mins) Start course now
  • 6.7: A/B and Multivariate Case Studies (41 mins) Start course now
  • 6.8: Build your Portfolio Project: A/B and Multivariate Testing (15 mins) Start course now
  • 6.9: Congratulations and Recap (31 mins) Start course now

Lesson 7: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

  • 7.1: Get Your Course Certificate (1 min) Start course now
  • 7.2: Course Evaluation (1 min) Start course now
  • 7.3: Continue Your Professional Growth (1 min) Start course now

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How Others Have Benefited

Louiselle Morand Salvo

Louiselle Morand Salvo, Switzerland

“Very well structured (overall syllabus + individual lessons), useful tools, and very precise information. The feedback on the questions is detailed; I'm impressed by the work done by the teacher!”

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Andrea Wilkins, United Kingdom

“The instructor is an incredible teacher. He was so engaging and felt so relaxed throughout. You can tell he's done this before. I could listen to him teach all day.”

Norman Laborde

Norman Laborde, Puerto Rico

“William explained complex concepts in a way that was approachable. The resources he offered were valuable and I have a good list of new books and bookmarks that resulted from the course.”

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What is UX Research: The Ultimate Guide for UX Researchers

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The UX researcher’s toolkit: 11 UX research methods and when to use them

After defining your objectives and planning your research framework, it’s time to choose the research technique that will best serve your project's goals and yield the right insights. While user research is often treated as an afterthought, it should inform every design decision. In this chapter, we walk you through the most common research methods and help you choose the right one for you.

ux research methods illustration

What are UX research methods?

A UX research method is a way of generating insights about your users, their behavior, motivations, and needs.

These methods help:

  • Learn about user behavior and attitudes
  • Identify key pain points and challenges in the user interface
  • Develop user personas to identify user needs and drive solutions
  • Test user interface designs to see what works and what doesn’t

You can use research methodologies like user interviews, surveys, focus groups, card sorting, usability testing to identify user challenges and turn them into opportunities to improve the user experience.

More of a visual learner? Check out this video for a speedy rundown. If you’re ready to get stuck in, jump straight to our full breakdown .

The most common types of user research

First, let’s talk about the types of UX research. Every individual research method falls under these types, which reflect different goals and objectives for conducting research.

Here’s a quick overview:

ux research methods

Qualitative vs. quantitative

All research methods are either quantitative or qualitative . Qualitative research focuses on capturing subjective insights into users' experiences. It aims to understand the underlying reasons, motivations, and behaviors of individuals.

Quantitative research, on the other hand, involves collecting and analyzing numerical data to identify patterns, trends, and significance. It aims to quantify user behaviors, preferences, and attitudes, allowing for generalizations and statistical insights.

Qualitative research also typically involves a smaller sample size than quantitative research. Nielsen Norman Group recommends 40 participants—see our full rundown of how many user testers you need for different research methods .

Attitudinal vs. behavioral

Attitudinal research is about understanding users' attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs. It delves into the 'why' behind user decisions and actions. It often involves surveys or interviews where users are asked about their feelings, preferences, or perceptions towards a product or service. It's subjective in nature, aiming to capture people's emotions and opinions.

Behavioral research is about what users do rather than what they say they do or would do. This kind of research is often based on observation methods like usability testing, eye-tracking, or heat maps to understand user behavior.

Generative vs. evaluative

Generative research is all about generating new ideas, concepts, and insights to fuel the design process. You might run brainstorming sessions with groups of users, card sorting, and co-design sessions to inspire creativity and guide the development of user-centered solutions.

On the other hand, evaluative research focuses on assessing the usability, effectiveness, and overall quality of existing designs or prototypes. Once you’ve developed a prototype of your product, it's time to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. You can compare different versions of a product design or feature through A/B testing—ensuring your UX design meets user needs and expectations.

Remove the guesswork from product decisions

Collect both quantitative and qualitative insights from your customers and build truly user-centric products with Maze.

ux research quantitative methods

11 Best UX research methods and when to use them

There are various UX research techniques—each method serves a specific purpose and can provide unique insights into user behaviors and preferences. In this section, we’ll highlight the most common research techniques you need to know.

Read on for an at-a-glance table, and full breakdown of each method.

1. User interviews

Tl;dr: user interviews.

Directly ask users about their experiences with a product to understand their thoughts, feelings, and problems

✅ Provides detailed insights that survey may miss ❌ May not represent the wider user base; depends on user’s memory and honesty

User interviews are a qualitative research method that involves having open-ended and guided discussions with users to gather in-depth insights about their experiences, needs, motivations, and behaviors.

Typically, you would ask a few questions on a specific topic during a user interview and analyze participants' answers. The results you get will depend on how well you form and ask questions, as well as follow up on participants’ answers.

“As a researcher, it's our responsibility to drive the user to their actual problems,” says Yuliya Martinavichene , User Experience Researcher at Zinio. She adds, “The narration of incidents can help you analyze a lot of hidden details with regard to user behavior.”

That’s why you should:

  • Start with a wide context : Make sure that your questions don’t start with your product
  • Ask questions: Always ask questions that focus on the tasks that users are trying to complete
  • Invest in analysis : Get transcripts done and share the findings with your team

Tanya Nativ , Design Researcher at Sketch recommends defining the goals and assumptions internally. “Our beliefs about our users’ behavior really help to structure good questions and get to the root of the problem and its solution,” she explains.

It's easy to be misunderstood if you don't have experience writing interview questions. You can get someone to review them for you or use our Question Bank of 350+ research questions .

When to conduct user interviews

This method is typically used at the start and end of your project. At the start of a project, you can establish a strong understanding of your target users, their perspectives, and the context in which they’ll interact with your product. By the end of your project, new user interviews—often with a different set of individuals—offer a litmus test for your product's usability and appeal, providing firsthand accounts of experiences, perceived strengths, and potential areas for refinement.

2. Field studies

Tl;dr: field studies.

Observe users in their natural environment to inform design decisions with real-world context

✅ Provides contextual insights into user behavior in real-world situations ✅ Helps identify external factors and conditions that influence user experience ❌ Can be time-consuming and resource-intensive to conduct ❌ Participants may behave differently when they know they are being observed (Hawthorne effect)

Field studies—also known as ethnographic research—are research activities that take place in the user’s environment rather than in your lab or office. They’re a great method for uncovering context, unknown motivations, or constraints that affect the user experience.

An advantage of field studies is observing people in their natural environment, giving you a glimpse at the context in which your product is used. It’s useful to understand the context in which users complete tasks, learn about their needs, and collect in-depth user stories.

When to conduct field studies

This method can be used at all stages of your project—two key times you may want to conduct field studies are:

  • As part of the discovery and exploration stage to define direction and understand the context around when and how users interact with the product
  • During usability testing, once you have a prototype, to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution or validate design assumptions in real-world contexts

3. Focus groups

Tl;dr: focus groups.

Gather qualitative data from a group of users discussing their experiences and opinions about a product

✅ Allows for diverse perspectives to be shared and discussed ❌ Group dynamics may influence individual opinions

A focus group is a qualitative research method that includes the study of a group of people, their beliefs, and opinions. It’s typically used for market research or gathering feedback on products and messaging.

Focus groups can help you better grasp:

  • How users perceive your product
  • What users believe are a product’s most important features
  • What problems do users experience with the product

As with any qualitative research method, the quality of the data collected through focus groups is only as robust as the preparation. So, it’s important to prepare a UX research plan you can refer to during the discussion.

Here’s some things to consider:

  • Write a script to guide the conversation
  • Ask clear, open-ended questions focused on the topics you’re trying to learn about
  • Include around five to ten participants to keep the sessions focused and organized

When to conduct focus groups

It’s easier to use this research technique when you're still formulating your concept, product, or service—to explore user preferences, gather initial reactions, and generate ideas. This is because, in the early stages, you have flexibility and can make significant changes without incurring high costs.

Another way some researchers employ focus groups is post-launch to gather feedback and identify potential improvements. However, you can also use other methods here which may be more effective for identifying usability issues. For example, a platform like Maze can provide detailed, actionable data about how users interact with your product. These quantitative results are a great accompaniment to the qualitative data gathered from your focus group.

4. Diary studies

Tl;dr: diary studies.

Get deep insights into user thoughts and feelings by having them keep a product-related diary over a set period of time, typically a couple of weeks

✅ Gives you a peak into how users interact with your product in their day-to-day ❌ Depends on how motivated and dedicated the users are

Diary studies involve asking users to track their usage and thoughts on your product by keeping logs or diaries, taking photos, explaining their activities, and highlighting things that stood out to them.

“Diary studies are one of the few ways you can get a peek into how users interact with our product in a real-world scenario,” says Tanya.

A diary study helps you tell the story of how products and services fit into people’s daily lives, and the touch-points and channels they choose to complete their tasks.

There’s several key questions to consider before conducting diary research, from what kind of diary you want—freeform or structured, and digital or paper—to how often you want participants to log their thoughts.

  • Open, ‘freeform’ diary: Users have more freedom to record what and when they like, but can also lead to missed opportunities to capture data users might overlook
  • Closed, ‘structured; diary: Users follow a stricter entry-logging process and answer pre-set questions

Remember to determine the trigger: a signal that lets the participants know when they should log their feedback. Tanya breaks these triggers down into the following:

  • Interval-contingent trigger : Participants fill out the diary at specific intervals such as one entry per day, or one entry per week
  • Signal-contingent trigger : You tell the participant when to make an entry and how you would prefer them to communicate it to you as well as your preferred type of communication
  • Event-contingent trigger : The participant makes an entry whenever a defined event occurs

When to conduct diary studies

Diary studies are often valuable when you need to deeply understand users' behaviors, routines, and pain points in real-life contexts. This could be when you're:

  • Conceptualizing a new product or feature: Gain insights into user habits, needs, and frustrations to inspire your design
  • Trying to enhance an existing product: Identify areas where users are having difficulties or where there are opportunities for better user engagement

TL;DR: Surveys

Collect quantitative data from a large sample of users about their experiences, preferences, and satisfaction with a product

✅ Provides a broad overview of user opinions and trends ❌ May lack in-depth insights and context behind user responses

Although surveys are primarily used for quantitative research, they can also provided qualitative data, depending on whether you use closed or open-ended questions:

  • Closed-ended questions come with a predefined set of answers to choose from using formats like rating scales, rankings, or multiple choice. This results in quantitative data.
  • Open-ended question s are typically open-text questions where test participants give their responses in a free-form style. This results in qualitative data.

Matthieu Dixte , Product Researcher at Maze, explains the benefit of surveys: “With open-ended questions, researchers get insight into respondents' opinions, experiences, and explanations in their own words. This helps explore nuances that quantitative data alone may not capture.”

So, how do you make sure you’re asking the right survey questions? Gregg Bernstein , UX Researcher at Signal, says that when planning online surveys, it’s best to avoid questions that begin with “How likely are you to…?” Instead, Gregg says asking questions that start with “Have you ever… ?” will prompt users to give more specific and measurable answers.

Make sure your questions:

  • Are easy to understand
  • Don't guide participants towards a particular answer
  • Include both closed-ended and open-ended questions
  • Respect users and their privacy
  • Are consistent in terms of format

To learn more about survey design, check out this guide .

When to conduct surveys

While surveys can be used at all stages of project development, and are ideal for continuous product discovery , the specific timing and purpose may vary depending on the research goals. For example, you can run surveys at:

  • Conceptualization phase to gather preliminary data, and identify patterns, trends, or potential user segments
  • Post-launch or during iterative design cycles to gather feedback on user satisfaction, feature usage, or suggestions for improvements

6. Card sorting

Tl;dr: card sorting.

Understand how users categorize and prioritize information within a product or service to structure your information in line with user expectations

✅ Helps create intuitive information architecture and navigation ❌ May not accurately reflect real-world user behavior and decision-making

Card sorting is an important step in creating an intuitive information architecture (IA) and user experience. It’s also a great technique to generate ideas, naming conventions, or simply see how users understand topics.

In this UX research method, participants are presented with cards featuring different topics or information, and tasked with grouping the cards into categories that make sense to them.

There are three types of card sorting:

  • Open card sorting: Participants organize topics into categories that make sense to them and name those categories, thus generating new ideas and names
  • Hybrid card sorting: Participants can sort cards into predefined categories, but also have the option to create their own categories
  • Closed card sorting: Participants are given predefined categories and asked to sort the items into the available groups

Table showing differences between three card sorting types: open, closed, hybrid

Card sorting type comparison table

You can run a card sorting session using physical index cards or digitally with a UX research tool like Maze to simulate the drag-and-drop activity of dividing cards into groups. Running digital card sorting is ideal for any type of card sort, and moderated or unmoderated sessions .

Read more about card sorting and learn how to run a card sorting session here .

When to conduct card sorting

Card sorting isn’t limited to a single stage of design or development—it can be employed anytime you need to explore how users categorize or perceive information. For example, you may want to use card sorting if you need to:

  • Understand how users perceive ideas
  • Evaluate and prioritize potential solutions
  • Generate name ideas and understand naming conventions
  • Learn how users expect navigation to work
  • Decide how to group content on a new or existing site
  • Restructure information architecture

7. Tree testing

Tl;dr: tree testing.

Evaluate the findability of existing information within a product's hierarchical structure or navigation

✅ Identifies potential issues in the information architecture ❌ Focuses on navigation structure, not visual design or content

During tree testing a text-only version of the site is given to your participants, who are asked to complete a series of tasks requiring them to locate items on the app or website.

The data collected from a tree test helps you understand where users intuitively navigate first, and is an effective way to assess the findability, labeling, and information architecture of a product.

We recommend keeping these sessions short, ranging from 15 to 20 minutes, and asking participants to complete no more than ten tasks. This helps ensure participants remain focused and engaged, leading to more reliable and accurate data, and avoiding fatigue.

If you’re using a platform like Maze to run remote testing, you can easily recruit participants based on various demographic filters, including industry and country. This way, you can uncover a broader range of user preferences, ensuring a more comprehensive understanding of your target audience.

To learn more about tree testing, check out this chapter .

When to conduct tree testing

Tree testing is often done at an early stage in the design or redesign process. That’s because it’s more cost-effective to address errors at the start of a project—rather than making changes later in the development process or after launch.

However, it can be helpful to employ tree testing as a method when adding new features, particularly alongside card sorting.

While tree testing and card sorting can both help you with categorizing the content on a website, it’s important to note that they each approach this from a different angle and are used at different stages during the research process. Ideally, you should use the two in tandem: card sorting is recommended when defining and testing a new website architecture, while tree testing is meant to help you test how the navigation performs with users.

8. Usability testing

Tl;dr: usability testing.

Observe users completing specific tasks with a product to identify usability issues and potential improvements

✅ Provides direct insights into user behavior and reveals pain points ❌ Conducted in a controlled environment, may not fully represent real-world usage

Usability testing evaluates your product with people by getting them to complete tasks while you observe and note their interactions (either during or after the test). The goal of conducting usability testing is to understand if your design is intuitive and easy to use. A sign of success is if users can easily accomplish their goals and complete tasks with your product.

There are various usability testing methods that you can use, such as moderated vs. unmoderated or qualitative vs. quantitative —and selecting the right one depends on your research goals, resources, and timeline.

Usability testing is usually performed with functional mid or hi-fi prototypes . If you have a Figma, InVision, Sketch, or prototype ready, you can import it into a platform like Maze and start testing your design with users immediately.

The tasks you create for usability tests should be:

  • Realistic, and describe a scenario
  • Actionable, and use action verbs (create, sign up, buy, etc)

Be mindful of using leading words such as ‘click here’ or ‘go to that page’ in your tasks. These instructions bias the results by helping users complete their tasks—something that doesn’t happen in real life.

✨ Product tip

With Maze, you can test your prototype and live website with real users to filter out cognitive biases, and gather actionable insights that fuel product decisions.

When to conduct usability testing

To inform your design decisions, you should do usability testing early and often in the process . Here are some guidelines to help you decide when to do usability testing:

  • Before you start designing
  • Once you have a wireframe or prototype
  • Prior to the launch of the product
  • At regular intervals after launch

To learn more about usability testing, check out our complete guide to usability testing .

9. Five-second testing

Tl;dr: five-second testing.

Gauge users' first impressions and understanding of a design or layout

✅ Provides insights into the instant clarity and effectiveness of visual communication ❌ Limited to first impressions, does not assess full user experience or interaction

In five-second testing , participants are (unsurprisingly) given five seconds to view an image like a design or web page, and then they’re asked questions about the design to gauge their first impressions.

Why five seconds? According to data , 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website, so it;s essential to grab someone’s attention in the first few seconds of their visit. With a five-second test, you can quickly determine what information users perceive and their impressions during the first five seconds of viewing a design.

Product tip 💡

And if you’re using Maze, you can simply upload an image of the screen you want to test, or browse your prototype and select a screen. Plus, you can star individual comments and automatically add them to your report to share with stakeholders.

When to conduct five-second testing

Five-second testing is typically conducted in the early stages of the design process, specifically during initial concept testing or prototype development. This way, you can evaluate your design's initial impact and make early refinements or adjustments to ensure its effectiveness, before putting design to development.

To learn more, check out our chapter on five-second testing .

10. A/B testing

Tl;dr: a/b testing.

Compare two versions of a design or feature to determine which performs better based on user engagement

✅ Provides data-driven insights to guide design decisions and optimize user experience ❌ Requires a large sample size and may not account for long-term effects or complex interactions

A/B testing , also known as split testing, compares two or more versions of a webpage, interface, or feature to determine which performs better regarding engagement, conversions, or other predefined metrics.

It involves randomly dividing users into different groups and giving each group a different version of the design element being tested. For example, let's say the primary call-to-action on the page is a button that says ‘buy now’.

You're considering making changes to its design to see if it can lead to higher conversions, so you create two versions:

  • Version A : The original design with the ‘buy now’ button positioned below the product description—shown to group A
  • Version B : A variation with the ‘buy now’ button now prominently displayed above the product description—shown to group B

Over a planned period, you measure metrics like click-through rates, add-to-cart rates, and actual purchases to assess the performance of each variation. You find that Group B had significantly higher click-through and conversion rates than Group A. This indicates that showing the button above the product description drove higher user engagement and conversions.

Check out our A/B testing guide for more in-depth examples and guidance on how to run these tests.

When to conduct A/B testing

A/B testing can be used at all stages of the design and development process—whenever you want to collect direct, quantitative data and confirm a suspicion, or settle a design debate. This iterative testing approach allows you to continually improve your website's performance and user experience based on data-driven insights.

11. Concept testing

Tl;dr: concept testing.

Evaluate users' reception and understanding of a new product, feature, or design idea before moving on to development

✅ Helps validate and refine concepts based on user feedback ❌ Relies on users' perception and imagination, may not reflect actual use

Concept testing is a type of research that evaluates the feasibility, appeal, and potential success of a new product before you build it. It centers the user in the ideation process, using UX research methods like A/B testing, surveys, and customer interviews.

There’s no one way to run a concept test—you can opt for concept testing surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any other method that gets qualitative data on your concept.

*Dive into our complete guide to concept testing for more tips and tricks on getting started. *

When to conduct concept testing

Concept testing helps gauge your audience’s interest, understanding, and likelihood-to-purchase, before committing time and resources to a concept. However, it can also be useful further down the product development line—such as when defining marketing messaging or just before launching.

Which is the best UX research type?

The best research type varies depending on your project; what your objectives are, and what stage you’re in. Ultimately, the ideal type of research is one which provides the insights required, using the available resources.

For example, if you're at the early ideation or product discovery stage, generative research methods can help you generate new ideas, understand user needs, and explore possibilities. As you move to the design and development phase, evaluative research methods and quantitative data become crucial.

Discover the UX research trends shaping the future of the industry and why the best results come from a combination of different research methods.

How to choose the right user experience research method

In an ideal world, a combination of all the insights you gain from multiple types of user research methods would guide every design decision. In practice, this can be hard to execute due to resources.

Sometimes the right methodology is the one you can get buy-in, budget, and time for.

Gregg Bernstein, UX Researcher at Signal

Gregg Bernstein , UX Researcher at Signal

UX research tools can help streamline the research process, making regular testing and application of diverse methods more accessible—so you always keep the user at the center of your design process. Some other key tips to remember when choosing your method are:

Define the goals and problems

A good way to inform your choice of user experience research method is to start by considering your goals. You might want to browse UX research templates or read about examples of research.

Michael Margolis , UX Research Partner at Google Ventures, recommends answering questions like:

  • “What do your users need?”
  • “What are your users struggling with?”
  • “How can you help your users?”

Understand the design process stage

If your team is very early in product development, generative research —like field studies—make sense. If you need to test design mockups or a prototype, evaluative research methods—such as usability testing—will work best.

This is something they’re big on at Sketch, as we heard from Design Researcher, Tanya Nativ. She says, “In the discovery phase, we focus on user interviews and contextual inquiries. The testing phase is more about dogfooding, concept testing, and usability testing. Once a feature has been launched, it’s about ongoing listening.”

Consider the type of insights required

If you're looking for rich, qualitative data that delves into user behaviors, motivations, and emotions, then methods like user interviews or field studies are ideal. They’ll help you uncover the ‘why’ behind user actions.

On the other hand, if you need to gather quantitative data to measure user satisfaction or compare different design variations, methods like surveys or A/B testing are more suitable. These methods will help you get hard numbers and concrete data on preferences and behavior.

*Discover the UX research trends shaping the future of the industry and why the best results come from a combination of different research methods. *

Build a deeper understanding of your users with UX research

Think of UX research methods as building blocks that work together to create a well-rounded understanding of your users. Each method brings its own unique strengths, whether it's human empathy from user interviews or the vast data from surveys.

But it's not just about choosing the right UX research methods; the research platform you use is equally important. You need a platform that empowers your team to collect data, analyze, and collaborate seamlessly.

Simplifying product research is simple with Maze. From tree testing to card sorting, prototype testing to user interview analysis—Maze makes getting actionable insights easy, whatever method you opt for.

Meanwhile, if you want to know more about testing methods, head on to the next chapter all about tree testing .

Get valuable insights from real users

Conduct impactful UX research with Maze and improve your product experience and customer satisfaction.

user testing data insights

Frequently asked questions

How do you choose the right UX research method?

Choosing the right research method depends on your goals. Some key things to consider are:

  • The feature/product you’re testing
  • The type of data you’re looking for
  • The design stage
  • The time and resources you have available

What is the best UX research method?

The best research method is the one you have the time, resources, and budget for that meets your specific needs and goals. Most research tools, like Maze, will accommodate a variety of UX research and testing techniques.

When to use which user experience research method?

Selecting which user research method to use—if budget and resources aren’t a factor—depends on your goals. UX research methods provide different types of data:

  • Qualitative vs quantitative
  • Attitudinal vs behavioral
  • Generative vs evaluative

Identify your goals, then choose a research method that gathers the user data you need.

What results can I expect from UX research?

Here are some of the key results you can expect from actioning the insights uncovered during UX research:

  • Improved user satisfaction
  • Increased usability
  • Better product fit
  • Informed design decisions
  • Reduced development costs
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased customer loyalty and retention

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When to use which user-experience research methods.

ux research quantitative methods

July 17, 2022 2022-07-17

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The field of user experience has a wide range of  research methods  available, ranging from tried-and-true methods such as lab-based usability testing to those that have been more recently developed, such as unmoderated UX assessments.

While it's not realistic to use the full set of methods on a given project, nearly all projects would benefit from multiple research methods and from combining insights. Unfortunately, many design teams only use one or two methods that they are most familiar with. The key question is what to use when.

In This Article:

Three-dimensional framework, the attitudinal vs. behavioral dimension, the qualitative vs. quantitative dimension, the context of product use, phases of product development (the time dimension), art or science, 20 ux methods in brief.

To better understand when to use which method, it is helpful to view them along a  3-dimensional framework  with the following axes:

  • Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Context of Use

The following chart illustrates where 20 popular methods appear along these dimensions:

ux research quantitative methods

This distinction can be summed up by  contrasting "what people say" versus "what people do"  (very often the two are quite different). The purpose of attitudinal research is usually to understand or measure people's stated beliefs, but it is limited by what people are aware of and willing to report.

While most  usability studies should rely on behavior , methods that use self-reported information can still be quite useful to designers. For example,  card sorting  provides insights about users' mental model of an information space and can help determine the best information architecture for your product, application, or website.  Surveys  measure and categorize attitudes or collect self-reported data that can help track or discover important issues to address.  Focus groups tend to be less useful for usability  purposes, for a variety of reasons, but can provide a top-of-mind view of what people think about a brand or product concept in a group setting.

On the other end of this dimension, methods that focus mostly on behavior seek to understand "what people do" with the product or service in question. For example  A/B testing  presents changes to a site's design to random samples of site visitors but attempts to hold all else constant, in order to see the effect of different site-design choices on behavior, while  eyetracking  seeks to understand how users visually interact with a design or visual stimulus.

Between these two extremes lie the two most popular methods we use: usability studies and  field studies . They utilize a mixture of self-reported and behavioral data and can move toward either end of this dimension, though leaning toward the behavioral side is generally recommended.

The distinction here is an important one and goes well beyond the narrow view of qualitative as in an open-ended survey question. Rather, studies that are qualitative in nature generate data about behaviors or attitudes based on observing or hearing them  directly , whereas in  quantitative studies , the data about the behavior or attitudes in question are gathered  indirectly , through a measurement or an instrument such as a survey or an  analytics tool . In field studies and usability testing, for example, researchers directly observe how people use (or do not use) technology to meet their needs or to complete tasks. These observations give them the ability to ask questions, probe on behavior, or possibly even adjust the study protocol to better meet study objectives. Analysis of the data is usually not mathematical.

In contrast, the kind of data collected in quantitative methods is predetermined — it could include task time, success, whether the user has clicked on a given UI element or whether they selected a certain answer to a multiple-choice question. The insights in quantitative methods are typically derived from mathematical analysis, since the instrument of data collection (e.g., survey tool or analytics tool) captures such large amounts of data that are automatically coded numerically.

Due to the  nature of their differences ,  qualitative  methods are much better suited for answering questions about  why  or  how to fix  a problem, whereas  quantitative  methods do a much better job answering  how many  and  how much  types of questions. Having such numbers helps prioritize resources, for example to focus on issues with the biggest impact. The following chart illustrates how the first two dimensions affect the types of questions that can be asked:

Question types across the research-methods landscape

The third distinction has to do with how and whether participants in the study are using the product or service in question. This can be described as:

  • Natural  or near-natural use of the product
  • Scripted  use of the product
  • Limited  in which a limited form of the product is used to study a specific aspect of the user experience
  • Not using  the product during the study (decontextualized)

When studying  natural use  of the product, the goal is to minimize interference from the study in order to understand behavior or attitudes as close to reality as possible. This provides greater external validity but less control over what topics you learn about. Many ethnographic field studies attempt to do this, though there are always some observation biases. Intercept surveys and data mining or other analytic techniques are quantitative examples of this.

A  scripted  study of product usage is done in order to focus the insights on specific product areas, such as a newly redesigned flow. The degree of scripting can vary quite a bit, depending on the study goals. For example, a benchmarking study is usually very tightly scripted, so that it can produce reliable  usability metrics by ensuring consistency across participants.

Limited  methods use a limited form of a product to study a specific or abstracted aspect of the experience. For example, participatory-design methods allow users to interact with and rearrange design elements that  could  be part of a product experience, in order discuss how their proposed solutions would meet their needs and why they made certain choices. Concept-testing methods employ an expression of the idea of a product or service that gets at the heart of what it would provide (and not at the details of the experience) in order to understand if users would want or need such a product or service.  Card sorting and tree testing focus on how the information architecture is or could be arranged to best make sense to participants and make navigation easier.

Studies where the  product is not used  are conducted to examine issues that are broader than usage and usability, such as a study of the brand or discovering the aesthetic attributes that participants associate with a specific design style.

Many of the methods in the chart can move along one or more dimensions, and some do so even in the same study, usually to satisfy multiple goals. For example, field studies can focus a little more on what people say (ethnographic interviews) or emphasize studying what they do (extended observations); concept testing, desirability studies, and card sorting have both qualitative and quantitative versions; and eyetracking can be natural or scripted.

Another important distinction to consider when making a choice among research methodologies is the phase of product development and its associated objectives.  For example, in the beginning of the product-development process, you are typically more interested in the strategic question of what direction to take the product, so methods at this stage are often generative in nature, because they help generate ideas and answers about which way to go.  Once a direction is selected, the design phase begins, so methods in this stage are well-described as formative, because they inform how you can improve the design.  After a product has been developed enough to measure it, it can be assessed against earlier versions of itself or competitors, and methods that do this are called summative. This following table describes where many methods map to these stages in time:

While many user-experience research methods have their roots in scientific practice, their aims are not purely scientific and still need to be adjusted to meet stakeholder needs. This is why the characterizations of the methods here are meant as general guidelines, rather than rigid classifications.

In the end, the success of your work will be determined by how much of an impact it has on improving the user experience of the website or product in question. These classifications are meant to help you make the best choice at the right time.

Here’s a short description of the user research methods shown in the above chart:

Usability testing (aka usability-lab studies): Participants are brought into a lab, one-on-one with a researcher, and given a set of  scenarios that lead to tasks  and usage of specific interest within a product or service.

Field studies : Researchers  study participants in their own environment (work or home), where they would most likely encounter the product or service being used in the most realistic or natural environment.

Contextual inquiry : Researchers and participants collaborate together in the participants own environment to inquire about and observe the nature of the tasks and work at hand. This method is very similar to a field study and was developed to study complex systems and in-depth processes.

Participatory design : Participants are given design elements or creative materials in order to construct their ideal experience in a concrete way that expresses what matters to them most and why.

Focus groups : Groups of 3–12 participants are led through a discussion about a set of topics, giving verbal and written feedback through discussion and exercises.

Interviews : a researcher meets with participants one-on-one to discuss in depth what the participant thinks about the topic in question.

Eyetracking : an eyetracking device is configured to precisely measure where participants look as they perform tasks or interact naturally with websites, applications, physical products, or environments.

Usability benchmarking : tightly scripted usability studies are performed with larger numbers of participants, using precise and predetermined measures of performance, usually with the goal of tracking usability improvements of a product over time or comparing with competitors.

Remote moderated testing :  Usability studies are conducted remotely , with the use of tools such as video conferencing, screen-sharing software, and remote-control capabilities.

Unmoderated testing: An automated method that can be used in both quantitative and qualitative studies and that uses a specialized research tool to capture participant behaviors and attitudes, usually by giving participants goals or scenarios to accomplish with a site, app, or prototype. The tool can  record a video stream of each user session, and can gather usability metrics such as success rate, task time, and perceived ease of use.

Concept testing : A researcher shares an approximation of a product or service that captures the key essence (the value proposition) of a new concept or product in order to determine if it meets the needs of the target audience. It can be done one-on-one or with larger numbers of participants, and either in person or online.

Diary studies : Participants are using a mechanism (e.g., paper or digital diary, camera, smartphone app) to record and describe aspects of their lives that are relevant to a product or service or simply core to the target audience.  Diary studies  are typically longitudinal and can be done only for data that is easily recorded by participants.

Customer feedback : Open-ended and/or close-ended information is provided by a self-selected sample of users, often through a feedback link, button, form, or email.

Desirability studies : Participants are offered different visual-design alternatives and are expected to associate each alternative with a set of attributes selected from a closed list. These studies can be both qualitative and quantitative.

Card sorting : A quantitative or qualitative method that asks users to organize items into groups and assign categories to each group. This method helps  create or refine the information architecture  of a site by exposing users’  mental models .

Tree testing : A quantitative method of testing an information architecture to determine how easy it is to find items in the hierarchy. This method can be conducted on an existing information architecture to benchmark it and then again, after the information architecture is improved with card sorting, to demonstrate improvement.

Analytics : Analyzing data collected from user behavior like clicks, form filling, and other recorded interactions. It requires the site or application to be instrumented properly in advance.

Clickstream analytics:  A particular type of analytics that involves analyzing the sequence of pages that users visit as they use a site or software application.

A/B testing  (aka  multivariate testing , live testing, or bucket testing): A method of scientifically testing different designs on a site by randomly assigning groups of users to interact with each of the different designs and measuring the effect of these assignments on user behavior.

Surveys : A quantitative measure of attitudes through a series of questions, typically more closed-ended than open-ended .  A survey that is triggered during the use of a site or application is an intercept survey, often triggered by user behavior. More typically, participants are recruited from an email message or reached through some other channel such as social media.

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Quantitavive UX Research vs. Qualitative — a Comprehensive Guide (2023)

ux research quantitative methods

In the ever-evolving realm of user experience (UX) design, research acts as the compass that guides designers towards creating delightful and intuitive digital experiences.

As UX designers, we understand the vital role research plays in uncovering user insights, informing design decisions, and ultimately delivering exceptional products. However, within the expansive field of UX research, two dominant methodologies reign supreme: qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative and quantitative approaches each offer distinct lenses through which we can view user behavior, preferences, and needs. Yet, the question often arises: which research methodology should UX designers embrace to extract meaningful insights and optimize their design process?

In this article, we embark on a journey to demystify the complexities of qualitative and quantitative UX research specifically tailored to the discerning minds of UX designers.

What Is Quantitative UX Research

Quantitative UX research is a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing numerical data to gain insights into user behavior and preferences. It involves collecting data on a large scale, often through surveys, experiments, and analytics, with the goal of obtaining statistically significant results.

In quantitative UX research, designers use metrics, measurements, and statistical analysis to quantify user behaviors, attitudes, and opinions. The focus is on generating objective and measurable data that can be analyzed to identify patterns, trends, and correlations.

This data-driven approach provides designers with quantitative evidence to support decision-making throughout the design process.

Quantitative research in UX provides designers with valuable insights into user behavior at scale, helping them make data-informed decisions, identify usability issues, validate design hypotheses, and track the impact of design changes over time.

It complements qualitative research by providing a broader understanding of user preferences and behaviors, allowing designers to make informed decisions based on statistically significant data. Let’s review the various quantitative ux research methods.

Quantitative UX Research Methods

There are several quantitative UX research methods that designers can employ to gather data and insights. Here are some commonly used quantitative methods in the field of UX:

  • Surveys: Surveys are one of the several quantitative research methods. It involves collecting data from a large number of participants using structured questionnaires. They can be administered online or in person and are useful for gathering information on user preferences, satisfaction, demographics, and more.
  • A/B Testing: A/B testing -one of the most common quantitative user research methods- compares two or more variations of a design element or feature to determine which performs better based on predefined metrics. It allows designers to test hypotheses, evaluate design choices, and optimize user experiences.
  • Analytics and User Tracking: Utilizing web analytics tools or tracking software, designers can gather quantitative data on user behavior within a digital product. Metrics such as click-through rates, page views, time spent on pages, or conversion rates provide insights into user engagement and interactions.
  • Behavioral Analysis: Behavioral analysis involves studying large-scale user behavior data to identify patterns and trends. This can include analyzing user flows, funnels, drop-off points, or frequency of interactions to gain insights into user journeys and optimize the user experience.
  • Task Performance Metrics: Task performance metrics measure specific aspects of user performance, such as task completion time, error rates, or efficiency. These metrics provide quantitative data on the usability and effectiveness of a design and can help identify areas for improvement.
  • Eye Tracking: Eye tracking technology is used to measure and analyze where users look on a screen or interface. It provides quantitative data on visual attention, gaze patterns, and heat maps, which can inform design decisions related to visual hierarchy, information placement, and visual cues.
  • Clickstream Analysis: Clickstream analysis involves analyzing the sequence of user actions and interactions within a digital product. It helps identify navigation patterns, user flows, and areas of interest or concern.
  • Quantitative Interviews: In quantitative interviews, researchers use a structured interview format to ask predefined questions to participants. The responses are quantified and analyzed for statistical trends and patterns.

These are just a few examples of quantitative UX research methods. Each method has its strengths and limitations, and the choice of methods depends on the research objectives, the target audience, and the available resources.

Often, a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the user experience.

Expert Considerations to Effectively Do Quantitative UX Research

Quantitative UX reasearch and successfuly interpreting quantitative metrics requires certain aspects that every UX researcher must keep in mind.

1. Plan for high-quality and relevant quantitative UX data

ux research quantitative methods

Proper interpretation of quantitative UX metrics starts before gathering any data. There are overarching questions that practitioners need to ask to keep on track and make sound interpretations. 

Some questions to consider are: What are the goals and objectives of the quantitative research you are gathering? What research questions are attempting to be answered with quantitative UX metrics? What methods will be used to interpret data? Who are the stakeholders who will use the data? 

Investing the time to define and answer these questions allow UX researchers to focus on highly relevant metrics to goals and objectives. 

2. Focus on UX-related metrics and not business metrics

ux research quantitative methods

There can be an overwhelming amount of metrics for business analytics. So the first step is to narrow it down so that time isn’t wasted focusing on irrelevant data to UX. 

Pro tips: understand UX Metrics versus KPIs. 

UX Metrics are quantitative data used to measure, compare, and track users’ experience interacting with a digital product over time. These are associated with user behaviors and attitudes. KPIs (key performance indicators) are quantitative data used to measure, compare, and track the overall goals. These goals typically are tied to revenue, growth, retention, and user counts. 

It is essential to focus on UX data that aligns with your goals and objectives for research.

3. Have a streamlined data wrangling process in place

ux research quantitative methods

A critical part of the quantitative data interpretative process is ensuring data is reliable before analyzing and leveraging it for insights. At this junction is where data wrangling (the process of discovering, structuring, cleaning, enriching, validating, and publishing the data) comes in. This process can be very lengthy and time-consuming. 

Data professionals spend as much as 80% of their time preparing data for analysi s. UX professionals cannot afford this much of their time to be sucked up in cleaning and organizing data. But suppose your research operations have streamlined processes for how to wrangle data. In that case, this saves a lot of time and removes the risk of gleaning insights and making interpretations from incomplete, unreliable, or inconsistent data.

4. Use storytelling to communicate findings

ux research quantitative methods

Data visualization is an art. And explaining data visuals is a craft. Not many can do these two things well. This is why storytelling is such a powerful skill. Graphs and charts are great, but if a researcher cannot tell a story to explain the data, the findings have minimal impact on business decisions. Additionally, people, including business leaders, are moved by stories.

It is essential to know how to choose the right data visualization type. Generally, there are four goals for data visualization types: 1. showing relationships, 2. showing distribution, 3. showing the composition, or 4. making comparisons. 

Asking the following questions will help you define the best visualization type for the right audience: 

  • What is the story you want to tell?
  • Who is the audience you want to tell the story to?
  • Do we want to analyze trends?
  • Do we want to demonstrate composition?
  • Do we want to compare two or more sets of values?
  • Do we want to show changes over time?
  • How will we show UX Metrics?

Once these questions are answered, it becomes easier to decide if a pie chart, a line chart, a spider chart, a bar chart, or a scatter plot is the best visualization type to tell the user experience story.

5. Synthesize your insights and draw valuable conclusions

ux research quantitative methods

Now comes the moment where the synthesis of quantitative UX metrics data serves as a change agent for the user experience. Extract facts from the data. Remain objective by being aware of the pitfalls previously discussed. And make interpretations of the data. The goal is to generate valuable recommendations. 

Good recommendations are:

  • Constructive. They offer a solution rather than focusing on the problem revealed by the data.
  • Specific. They identify wherein the user experience recommendations are most applicable.
  • Actionable. Suggestions should be active. Use language that is active rather than passive to inspire change. 
  • Concise. Plenty of recommendations can be generated from any given set of UX data, but not all of them will significantly impact the user experience. Prioritize the most important ones. 
  • Measurable. Good recommendations can be measured so that there can be evidence a change has occurred and an impact has been made.
  • Balanced. Identify both the strengths and weaknesses.

What is Qualitative UX Research

Qualitative UX research is an investigative approach that focuses on gathering rich, descriptive insights and understanding the subjective experiences, attitudes, and motivations of users.

Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research aims to uncover the “why” behind user behavior rather than focusing solely on numerical data.

Qualitative UX research methods involve observing and engaging with users in a more open-ended and exploratory manner, allowing for in-depth exploration of user perspectives.

This type of research provides designers with a deep understanding of user needs, pain points, and aspirations, which can inform design decisions and drive empathy-driven solutions.

Qualitative research allows designers to gain a deeper understanding of user needs, motivations, and emotions. It helps uncover nuances, user pain points, and opportunities for improvement that quantitative data alone may not reveal.

By leveraging qualitative insights, designers can generate empathy, enhance user engagement, and create user-centered experiences that address real user challenges.

It’s worth noting that qualitative and quantitative research are often used together in a complementary manner, with qualitative research providing a foundation for hypothesis generation and quantitative research validating and measuring the impact of design decisions.

Qualitative research methods in UX

Qualitative research methods focus on gathering rich, in-depth insights into user experiences, attitudes, and motivations.

These qualitative user research methods allow designers to understand the “why” behind user behavior and provide valuable context for design decisions. Here are some commonly used qualitative research methods in UX:

  • User Interviews: These qualitative methods require one-on-one or group interviews with participants to gather detailed information about their experiences, behaviors, needs, and goals. These interviews can be structured or semi-structured, allowing for open-ended discussions.
  • Contextual Inquiry: Observe users in their natural environment while they engage with a product or service. This method provides insights into how users interact with a design in real-life situations, uncovers pain points, and identifies opportunities for improvement.
  • Diary Studies: Ask participants to keep a diary or journal to record their experiences, thoughts, and behaviors over a specific period. Diary studies provide longitudinal insights into users’ lives, allowing designers to understand their daily routines, challenges, and emotional responses.
  • Usability Testing with Think Aloud: A solid approach is to observe users as they perform tasks while verbalizing their thoughts and impressions. This method provides real-time insights into users’ decision-making processes, frustrations, and successes during the interaction with a design.
  • Focus Groups: Facilitate group discussions with participants to explore shared experiences, opinions, and perceptions. Focus groups encourage participants to build upon each other’s ideas, generate insights, and identify common themes or patterns.
  • Card Sorting: Engage users in organizing and categorizing information by asking them to sort and group items into meaningful categories. This method helps designers understand users’ mental models and how they perceive and organize information.
  • Cognitive Walkthroughs: Walk through a design or prototype with participants while they share their thoughts and decision-making process. Cognitive walkthroughs help identify potential usability issues and gaps in user understanding.
  • Ethnographic Research: Conduct in-depth, immersive studies in users’ natural environments over an extended period. Ethnographic research allows designers to deeply understand users’ cultural context, behaviors, and needs.
  • Emotional Mapping: Use techniques such as user diaries, interviews, or visual exercises to explore users’ emotional responses and associations with a product or service. Emotional mapping helps designers create emotionally resonant experiences.
  • Prototype Testing and Iteration: One of the several qualitative methods is tp share low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes with users and gather their feedback through observations, interviews, or usability testing. Prototyping allows designers to validate ideas, refine designs, and iterate based on user insights.

These qualitative research methods provide rich data and insights that go beyond numbers and metrics, helping designers gain a deep understanding of users’ experiences, perceptions, and needs. Combining different methods can offer a comprehensive view of user perspectives and inform user-centered design decisions.

When conducting quantitative UX research, there are several expert considerations to keep in mind to ensure the effectiveness of your study. Here are some key considerations.

1. Clearly define research objectives

Begin by defining clear and specific research objectives. Clearly articulate what you aim to achieve through your quantitative research and what specific questions you want to answer. This will guide your study design and data analysis.

2. Use validated measurement instruments

When selecting or creating measurement instruments such as surveys or questionnaires, use established and validated tools whenever possible. Validated instruments have been rigorously tested for reliability and validity, ensuring the accuracy and consistency of the data collected.

3. Pay attention to sampling and avoid bias in data collection

Ensure that your sample is representative of your target population or user group. Consider factors such as demographics, user characteristics, or usage patterns when selecting participants. A well-designed sampling strategy is crucial for the generalizability and validity of your findings.

Also, take steps to minimize bias in data collection. Provide clear instructions to participants, use neutral language, and avoid leading questions that may influence their responses. Additionally, consider factors such as the order of questions or the presentation of stimuli to mitigate potential biases.

4. Collect sufficient data

Ensure that your sample size is adequate to achieve statistical significance. Power analysis can help determine the appropriate sample size based on the effect size you expect to detect, the desired level of confidence, and statistical power.

5. Use appropriate statistical analysis and consider mixed methods

Choose appropriate statistical methods to analyze your quantitative data. Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA, regression), and correlation analysis are common techniques used in quantitative UX research. Consult with a statistician if needed to ensure the accuracy and validity of your analysis.

Also, consider combining quantitative data with qualitative insights to gain a more comprehensive understanding. Integrating qualitative data can provide valuable context and shed light on the “why” behind quantitative findings, enriching the interpretation of your results.

6. Interpret results within context and communicate findings effectively

Interpret your quantitative findings in the context of your research objectives, user behavior, and broader UX considerations. Avoid drawing overly simplistic or misleading conclusions and consider alternative explanations or factors that may influence the results.

Also, present your quantitative findings in a clear and concise manner, using visualizations and data summaries that are easily understandable to both technical and non-technical stakeholders. Clearly communicate limitations and uncertainties associated with the research findings.

7. Iterate and refine

Remember that quantitative UX research is an iterative process. Continuously refine your research methods based on feedback, learnings, and new insights gained. Use findings to inform design iterations and further research efforts.

For UX practitioners, the volume of quantitative data available in today’s digital world is vast. And correctly interpreting quantitative UX metrics can be a daunting task. While it’s worth investing in highly technical skills, often, it’s more about processes that enable sound interpretations of UX metrics. The key is to remain objective, focus on relevant data, have simplified procedures for data cleaning and analysis, tell a good story with said data, and draw valuable conclusions to improve the user experience. Interpreting quantitative UX metrics is more about the process than sophistication in statistical knowledge (some tools take care of this). The goal is to have simplified, focused, and repeatable processes.

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Data visualizations, about the author: huyen hoang.

Huyen Hoang is a User Experience Researcher at Codelitt . Codelitt helps companies create better product experiences for their users by designing and building people-driven solutions with the speed, technology, and innovation of a startup.

About the Author: Collaborations


As collaborators, they contribute thoughtful and inspiring content that covers various aspects of the UX space, including emerging trends, best practices, and practical tips. Their articles are designed to help readers stay up-to-date with the latest developments in UX, as well as improve their own skills and knowledge in the field.

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What Are The Gestalt Principles? The Gestalt Principles, a theory developed in the early 20th century by German psychologists, focuses on our ability to perceive overall patterns and designs. Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka, the founding figures, proposed that “the whole is other than the sum of its parts.” This fundamental concept has…  Read More » How to Use Gestalt Principles for Better UX

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How to understand your users and what they want: the complete guide to UX research

Really knowing your users involves taking the initiative to understand their behavior, their preferences, and their desires. This is where UX research comes into play. 

It may seem overwhelming at first and you might not know where to start, but when done right, UX research gives you key insights into what your users want (and don’t), so you can give them the best possible product and experience.

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This is your ultimate guide to UX research: learn exactly what it is, why it matters, which research methods to use, and the best practices to follow, so you can start understanding your users better and create the perfect product for them .  

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What is UX research?

User experience (UX) research is the study of all your user groups and how they interact with your product or service . It helps you create a product your users love and validate decisions, like trying to figure out if your users will like your new feature or if a design change will positively impact their experience.

UX research vs. UX design

To be clear, UX research and UX design are not the same thing . The UX research process centers on carrying out qualitative and quantitative analysis to gain key insights about your users and the way they interact with your product. Meanwhile, UX design is about implementing those findings to create a valuable experience for your users, whether on your website or app. 

While some companies have designated UX or product researcher roles, UX designers often carry out UX research to inform their design decisions. And sometimes, marketing and customer success teams conduct UX research to learn more about their customers and how to better speak to and serve them.

The UX research process, which is typically an initial phase of the greater UX design process, is ultimately a problem-solving framework. And to determine which research method is the best fit for your needs, you have to begin by asking the question, ‘What are my goals?’

The 2 main methods of UX research

While UX research is an overarching term that describes the process of getting to know your users, there are various methods you can use to carry out your analysis. And, as with any research process, the goal of your research will determine the methods you use .

The first step to decide which method you will be using is defining the research question. And remember: research sometimes requires a creative effort—don't be afraid to think outside the box and be innovative with the methodology to get your insights!

Use both qualitative and quantitative methods when conducting UX analysis . Quantitative research gives you an overview of the hard data, while qualitative research helps explain the ‘why’ behind your results.

Let's take a look at these two methods:

5 quantitative UX research methods

Quantitative research helps you use numerical data to inform your design and product decisions. Quantitative UX research methods include: 

Surveys : glean important insights into the user experience from surveys. Use Net Promoter Score ® (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) score surveys for a quick, quantitative look at how your users feel about your product and brand, asking them to score their experience on a scale of 1–5.

#Hotjar Surveys let your customers score your product, so you have hard data on whether your product is satisfying user needs.

A/B testing : this helps you compare and evaluate multiple versions of your product or design. For example, if you’re testing out different designs for your check-out cart, use A/B testing to determine which version results in more sales. You can use a tool like Optimizely to test different versions of your product. 

Eye tracking : you can use eye tracking for both quantitative and qualitative research. Special tools, like Lumen and Tobii , let you observe which parts of your design draw users in and which they ignore. You can use these findings to influence your UX design and overall product strategy. 

Product analytics : as well as eye tracking, you can use product analytics tools like heatmaps to gain key insights into how your users interact with your website. You can also use Google Analytics to learn more about user demographics and behavior. 

ux research quantitative methods

Benchmarking : this lets you track your product’s usability over time to determine whether it’s making progress—for example, becoming increasingly more valuable and easy to use. To do so, use a relatively large sample size of users (40 or more) and measure their time to complete certain tasks, as well as the outcome of their actions.

5 qualitative UX research methods

It’s also important to understand the reasons behind your quantitative research findings, which is where qualitative analysis can help. Qualitative UX research methods include: 

Surveys : as well as measuring hard data, you can use surveys to ask your users key UX research questions and learn about their product and post-purchase experiences. For example, send out exit-intent surveys to get a better understanding of why your users leave, so you can prevent it from happening in the future. 

Feedback : include a Hotjar Feedback widget on your website to hear what users have to say about your brand and product while it’s fresh in their minds. This allows you to capture opinions from users in the wild and better understand their frustrations and desires. 

Usability testing : this observational research method helps you identify drawbacks and opportunities in your product. Some examples of usability testing include performance testing, card sorting, and tree testing, which can give you key insights into the way your users understand and experience your product.  

User observation : you can also use heatmaps to gain qualitative insights about how your users navigate your website. Hotjar lets you create an unlimited number of heatmaps with a freemium account. Also, watch recordings to see how your users really engage with your product and find out where they get stuck on your site so you can improve the design (and their experience).

#Hotjar Recordings give you a comprehensive look at how your users interact with your website so you know how to improve its design.

Interviews : what better way to get to know your users than by speaking with them? Conduct interviews with distinct user profiles to learn about their jobs to be done , their frustrations with your product, and which features provide them with the most value. 

5 best practices for UX research

When done right, UX research is a powerful tool that helps you get to know your users and give them the product experience they desire. Take a look at these six UX research best practices to conduct effective research and make decisions that'll have the greatest impact on all your users. 

1. Identify your users and their goals

Empathy is the key to successful design. To create something your users will love, you first have to know and understand them . Establish unique user personas —you can’t fit all your different types of users in one box—so you can design a product that delights every type of buyer that comes into contact with it. 

Remember, a big part of UX research is understanding your various user personas and their motivations, which is why you should analyze all of your user groups. Be sure to both track their behavior and seek their opinions— user feedback will often help explain the ‘why’ behind the actions you observe.

Pro tip: use a Hotjar user persona survey to segment your customers into different groups based on their goals, barriers, and use cases.

ux research quantitative methods

Collect survey data from your users to help you get to know them better.

2. Use a variety of tools

You should have a variety of UX research tools at your disposal to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research. Hotjar, for example, lets you observe what users do on your product or site with Heatmaps and Recordings , as well as collect user opinions with Surveys and Feedback. And for A/B testing, Hotjar offers integrations with tools like Google Optimize and Optimizely , so you can compare different versions of your design.

For the full list of tools to conduct UX research and optimize the process: check out this article .

3. Make data-driven decisions

Once you’ve conducted your UX research, put it to good use and make informed product changes that provide value to your users. Now’s the time to put your users’ goals and desires at the center of your product and design decisions, and find ways to alleviate their frustrations to get happier users that stick around for the long haul. 

4. Keep all relevant stakeholders in the loop

While you may be in charge of the UX research on your team, you may not be calling the shots when it comes to product design changes or new feature roll-outs. That’s why it’s important to keep everyone, from project and product managers and marketers to C-level decision-makers, in the loop. Also, be sure to present your UX research findings in a clear, understandable manner. 

Pro tip: if you're collecting insights with Hotjar, use the Highlights feature to save and organize valuable snippets of heatmaps and recordings and share them with stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page.

5. Improve and repeat your UX research cycle

UX research is not simply a box to check—it should be an ongoing process that you constantly refine and carry out to optimize your product and the user experience. Continue updating your UX research process to gain even better insights into the customer experience and give your users a product that exceeds expectations . 

Conduct UX research to optimize your product and create happier users

UX research saves you from making uninformed assumptions about what your users want. A strong UX research process helps you understand their habits and desires to make smart design decisions. 

Use our methods and best practices to really get to know your customers, nail your UX design, and turn curious visitors into delighted, loyal users.

Use UX research to make user-driven product improvements

Use Hotjar tools to help you understand your customers and enhance the user experience

FAQs about UX research

What are the benefits of ux research.

The primary benefit of conducting UX research is that it helps you provide your users with an optimal product experience. UX research gives you the data you need to make informed product decisions and delight your users at every step of their journey.

Who should conduct UX research?

Sometimes, teams will have designated UX or product researchers. However, people in many different roles can carry out UX research, including members of a marketing team, as well as product designers and developers.

What is the difference between UX research and UX design?

You can think of UX design as the implementation of UX research findings. While UX research is centered around gaining insights into user behavior and preferences, UX design is all about putting these insights into practice and designing a product that provides the best possible user experience. 

Qualitative vs. Quantitative UX Research—What’s the Difference?

The idea of user-centered products is a focal point across a variety of industries—tech-related or otherwise. Companies are seeing the benefits of placing their users at the forefront of their design decisions. But how do you know what your users’ needs actually are?

The best way to ensure a final product delivers on users’ needs is to conduct lots of user research throughout the design process. There are a variety of ways to conduct user research, but most methods fit into one of two categories: qualitative and quantitative user research.

While one is generally in no way better or more useful than the other, there are key differences that make qualitative data more useful at certain times than others—and vice versa. In this article, we’ll focus on the differences between these research methods as well as when and how to use each type.

We’ve broken down this guide to qualitative versus quantitative user research as follows:

  • Quantitative vs. qualitative UX research
  • More about quantitative UX research
  • More about qualitative UX research
  • When to conduct qualitative or quantitative user research
  • Examples of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Making qualitative and quantitative UX research work together
  • Key takeaways

Let’s get started!

1. Quantitative vs. qualitative UX research

In short, quantitative user research is research that yields numerical results, while qualitative research results in data that you can’t as easily slot into a calculation. 

The type of research you conduct is very much reliant on what your research objectives are and what kind of data will best help you understand your users’ needs.

Our one, overarching piece of advice: Don’t underestimate either type of research. Both can offer invaluable insights that can guide your design process to incredible outcomes.

2. More about quantitative UX research

Let’s start with the numbers. What is quantitative UX research , what does it look like, and what are the benefits of conducting this type of user research?

Quantitative user research is the process of collecting and analyzing objective, measurable data from various types of user testing.

Quantitative data is almost always numerical and focuses on the statistical, mathematical, and computational analysis of data. As the name suggests, quantitative user research aims to produce results that are quantifiable.

Examples of quantitative data

Quantitative data answers questions of:

In UX design, analytics are a huge source of quantitative data. Page visits, bounce-rates, and conversion rates are all examples of quantitative data that can be gathered using analytics.

User testing sessions can also be great wellsprings for quantitative data. Task completion times, mouse clicks, the number of errors, and success rates are all forms of quantitative data that you can obtain by including some quantitative elements in your user testing.

Benefits of quantitative user research

Due to the objective nature of quantitative user research, the resulting data is less likely to have human bias as it’s harder to lead participants to a certain outcome and has well-defined, strict, and controlled study conditions.

Quantitative data is also often simple to collect, quicker to analyze, and easier to present in the form of pie charts, bar graphs, etc. Furthermore, clients may prefer to see hard statistics and find it easier to link them back to their KPIs as a way to justify investment for future improvements.

3. More about qualitative UX research

This leads us to our second type of research: qualitative user research . What is it exactly, and what are the benefits of incorporating it into your research process?

Qualitative user research is the process of collecting and analyzing non-numerical data in the form of opinions, comments, behaviors, feelings, or motivations. Qualitative data aims to give an in-depth look at human behavioral patterns.

Examples of qualitative data

Qualitative data cannot be as easily counted and funnelled into a calculation as it’s quantitative cousin. Where quantitative research often gives an overarching view, qualitative research takes a deeper dive into the why .

Qualitative research often takes the form of user surveys, interviews, and observations or heuristic analysis and focus groups. Just as with quantitative data, user testing sessions offer tons of opportunities to gather qualitative data.

Benefits of qualitative user research

Qualitative research gives a more in-depth look at your users and will often reveal things that quantitative data can’t. Qualitative testing employs a “think-aloud” approach that allows you to get inside the mind of the person using your product and see how they use it in their own environment and what sort of response they have to it.

Qualitative data helps you make accurate, informed choices for your users instead of guessing about causation. Obtaining this empathetic and emotionally-driven evidence may make it easier for stakeholders to invest in changes to the product.

4. When to conduct qualitative or quantitative user research

While qualitative user research can be conducted at any point in the design process, quantitative user research is best done on a final working product, either at the beginning or end of a design cycle. This is due to a few reasons, which we’ll cover in this section.

The goals of quantitative research are summative and evaluate metrics on an existing product or site. Companies often use quantitative research to evaluate if a redesign of a final product is needed, to track a product’s usability over a period of time, and compare a product with its competitors. It’s also used to calculate ROI (return of investment) in order to understand how efficient a product is at making an appreciable profit.

Conversely, qualitative user research is both formative and summative and is used to inform design decisions at any point in the design cycle, help ensure that you’re on the right track. Qualitative research identifies the main problems in design, pinpoints usability issues, and helps uncover possible solutions for them within the design process.

Furthermore, because quantitative user research usually involves large numbers of users (>30 participants), conducting quantitative usability tests too early or too often in the design process can be costly, whereas the more intimate and smaller qualitative testing (5-8 participants) is often more affordable and easier to justify.

5. Examples of qualitative and quantitative research methods

Here, we’ve listed some examples of qualitative research methods, quantitative research methods, and research methods that fit into both categories.


  • User interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Diary studies
  • Shadow sessions


  • Funnel analysis
  • Mouse or heat maps
  • Cohort analysis

Both qualitative and quantitative

  • A/B testing
  • Card sorting
  • Tree testing
  • Storyboarding
  • Visual affordance usability testing

6. Making qualitative and quantitative UX research work together

As you may have noticed, there are many research methods that render both quantitative and qualitative data. Furthermore, it’s uncommon for designers to run just one form of user research. This is because quantitative and qualitative user research data are best used together in order to obtain a more comprehensive idea of the issues at hand and their possible solutions.

Conducting both quantitative and qualitative research helps you form hypotheses as well as come up with the metrics on how to test it. Using just one type of research often leads you with unanswered questions and vague or false metrics. When used in conjunction, quantitative data will answer your “what, how many, and how much?” questions while qualitative data gives you the answers to “why?”

7. Key takeaways

Quantitative and qualitative user research are both necessary in the process of designing products and experiences that truly meet users’ actual needs and goals.

Quantitative research are larger tests that give a summative evaluation of the overall usability of an existing product and are always reported in numerical form through metrics like satisfaction ratings, task times, number of clicks, and bounce or conversion rates.

Qualitative user research are smaller sessions that give non-numerical, formative information as to what the main issues of usability issues of a product are and are reported as quotes, emotions, or observations.

While quantitative and qualitative user research methods have different goals, they are complementary to each other and give designers a fuller, more comprehensive idea of the success of their product design.

If you’d like to learn more about UX research, check out these articles:

  • What is user research and what’s its purpose?
  • How to conduct inclusive user research
  • Top 5 UX research interview questions to be ready for
  • 5 Mistakes to avoid with your UX research portfolio
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UX design research methods

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Effective user experience design is intuitive, accessible, and engaging. But how do you design a delightful experience that meets your target audience’s needs? Conducting user experience research gives you a glimpse inside your users’ heads, so you can understand what they care about and the challenges they face.

In this article, Figma Designer Advocate Ana Boyer weighs in on:

  • What user experience research is, and why your team needs it
  • Different types of UX research that support product development
  • UX design research methods made easier with Figma

What is user experience research?

User experience research helps design teams identify areas of opportunity to improve user interfaces and enhance the overall user experience. According to Ana, UX research can reveal insights about target users across all phases of product development—from strategy and planning to product launch and post-launch improvements. A robust UX research framework includes both quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative research

Using information gathered from larger sample sizes, quantitative research yields concrete numerical data that reveals what users are doing. Researchers run statistical analyses and review analytics to gain insights into user behavior. For example, Ana says, “you might try tracking the number of times users clicked a CTA button on a newly designed web page, compared to an old version."

Qualitative research

For qualitative research, researchers collect subjective and descriptive feedback directly from users, tapping into users’ personal feelings and experiences with a product or design.  "Qualitative research gives you a more thorough explanation of why someone is doing something in the context of a flow,” Ana says.

User-centered design research often covers two types of qualitative research: attitudinal and behavioral. Attitudinal research examines users’ self-reported beliefs and perceptions related to a user experience, while behavioral research focuses on observing first-hand what users do with a product.

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3 benefits of user experience research

According to Ana, with UX research you can:

  • Validate your design. "You can learn whether or not your design is hitting project goals and your users are able to accomplish a task—for example, ordering an item from your platform.”
  • Put your users front and center. UX research uncovers what users want and need, so you can deliver a product that delights customers.
  • Save time and resources. Doing user research and testing early and often allows you to make smaller adjustments quickly and easily. That way, Ana says, “you can take a more iterative approach to design—without having to backtrack and redo your entire UX design.”

How to conduct  UX research

Most common UX research methodologies break down into these essential activities:

  • Observe how users act and react . This not only includes clicks and scrolling onscreen, but also their body language and facial expressions. Careful observation helps you understand how users normally perform a task, what interactions users pick up easily or enjoy, where they get stuck in a flow, and more.
  • Empathize with your users . To create a useful and usable product, you need to consider how users' context influences them as they interact with your design.
  • Analyze information to surface common themes. “Tagging key user responses helps you pinpoint what needs the most work and refinement to improve the user experience," Ana advises

When to use key UX research methods—at a glance

Given all the UX research methods you can use for  product development, when is each most useful? Ana offers these pro tips.

  • User personas help you understand your core users in the early stages of development. “If you don’t know who you’re building for, then the time you invest in building and creating something will be wasted,” Ana explains. FigJam’s user persona template will help you get the ball rolling.
  • Interviews gather in-depth information directly from users to test your ideas, so you can lower the risk of building a product that misses the target. FigJam’s user interview template will help you lay the groundwork.
  • Card sorting invites users to show you what they think is the most intuitive way to organize high-level information in your design. Try FigJam’s card-sorting tool to shape your product’s information architecture.
  • Task analysis studies users as they use your site or app to complete tasks, or jobs to be done. Use it to validate your design, and ensure users can quickly and easily accomplish their goals. Get started with FigJam’s jobs to be done template .
  • Eye tracking analyzes where users look, when, and how long as they interact with your product.
  • Surveys indicate how useful and usable your design is. Surveys  can provide useful insights at any phase of product development, pinpointing where users are struggling with an interface, and revealing user sentiment about a product’s colors, fonts, and overall design.

Launch & post-launch

  • A/B testing shows which version or iteration of a webpage, app screen, or CTA button performs better with your users.
  • Analytics track KPIs like time spent on page, bounce rate, number of clicks on key CTAs, and more to see what’s working—and what isn’t. Analytics may also reveal useful insights about your users, including location, device usage, age, and gender.
  • Usability bug testing identifies and helps fix usability issues that affect your product’s quality and ease of use. “Teams struggle to invest the time and process in doing this, but it can have a huge impact on quality,” Ana says.
  • Diaries captured in writing or on video track users’ thoughts and impressions over a certain time period. This self-reporting approach reveals how a product fits into and enhances users’ daily lives.

Kick off user experience research with Figma

No matter where you are in the product development process, FigJam’s research plan template can help you define your research goals. Figma’s research and design templates help you conduct research with user interviews , user personas , card sorting , and Sprig study integration .

With the insights gained from your research, you're ready to design, develop, and prototype engaging user experiences. Use Figma’s UX design tool to:

  • Give and receive instant feedback on designs or prototypes—and enjoy real-time collaboration with your team. Figma's Maze integration makes testing prototypes easy.
  • Set up design libraries to quickly launch user research projects and improve UX design.
  • Easily share assets between Figma and FigJam to help keep your projects moving forward.

To jumpstart your UX research, browse inspiring UX research resources shared by the Figma community .

Now you're ready to roll with UX research!

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Caucasus Nature Reserve

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  • 1.1 History
  • 1.2 Landscape
  • 1.3 Flora and fauna
  • 1.4 Climate
  • 3 Fees and permits
  • 4 Get around
  • 10.1 Lodging
  • 10.2 Camping
  • 10.3 Backcountry
  • 11 Stay safe

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The Caucasus Nature Reserve is in Krasnodar Krai, Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia of Russia .

Understand [ edit ]

The Caucasus Nature Reserve is a biodiversity treasure and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List . It is the second-largest protected area of Europe and the largest in Caucasus mountains of Russia. It includes the mountain ridges of Krasnodar Krai, Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia , as well as part of the Greater Sochi metropolitan area (Khosta district and Krasnaya Polyana), bordering Sochi National Park.

History [ edit ]

Landscape [ edit ], flora and fauna [ edit ], climate [ edit ], get in [ edit ].

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Two exclave parts of the reserve – those are located inside Greater Sochi – are easy to visit: Yew and Boxtree Wood at Khosta, and the wild animal nursery at Krasnaya Polyana. Other parts are not so easy; see below.

Fees and permits [ edit ]

To visit other parts of the reserve, you need to get special permit, requiring the following:

  • list of participants,
  • passport details and passport copies of each participant,
  • name of the group's leader,
  • planned route/itinerary,
  • period of stay (number of days),
  • entrance fee.

In Sochi you can get the permit at the reserve's headquarter: Karl Marx street, 8, room 10, Adler district, Sochi.

Get around [ edit ]

See [ edit ], do [ edit ], buy [ edit ], eat [ edit ], drink [ edit ], sleep [ edit ], lodging [ edit ], camping [ edit ], backcountry [ edit ], stay safe [ edit ], go next [ edit ].

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Obtaining basaltic continuous and staple fibers from rocks in Krasnodar Krai

  • Science for Glass Production
  • Published: 27 October 2010
  • Volume 67 , pages 165–168, ( 2010 )

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  • O. S. Tatarintseva 1 &
  • N. N. Khodakova 1  

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The possibility of using rocks form the Khatsavitskoe, Solokhaul’skoe, and Tugupskoe deposits in Krasnodar Krai in the production of basaltic fibers has been investigated. Using laboratory single-spinneret setup it is shown that continuous, thickened, and rough fibers are formed from melts of these rocks in a wide temperature interval. Using a setup with an induction method of melting the raw materials and acoustic blowing of the melt with compressed air, commercial prototype batches of superthin staple fibers, whose main technical characteristics fall into the range regulated by GOST 4640–93, were obtained.

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Investigation into the properties of basalt of the Vasil’evskoe deposit in Yakutia as the raw material for obtaining continuous fibers

Quality assessment of melanocratic basalt for mineral fiber product, southern urals, russia, gabbro–basalt raw materials of russia: mineral composition, modification methods, and complex use.

D. D. Dzhigiris, Principles of the Production of Basaltic Fibers and Articles [in Russian], Teploénergetik, Moscow (2002).

Google Scholar  

M. F. Makhova, G. F. Gorbachev, N. G. Odarich, and V. G. Kovalenko, “Some features of rocks and their melts, suitable for obtaining fibers,” Stroit. Mater., Izdeliya, Sanitarnaya Tekhnol. , No. 5 (1982).

M. S. Aslanova (ed.), Glass Fibers [in Russian], Khimiya, Moscow (1979).

M. F. Makhova, T. M. Bachilo, and G. F. Tomilko, “Method for determining the temperature interval for melting of rocks,” in: Prom-st’ Polimernykh, Myagkikh Krovel’nykh and Teploisolyatsionnykh Mater. : Ref. Inform [in Russian], Moscow (1975), No. 6, pp. 20 – 22.

V. A. Dubrovskii, V. A. Rychko, T. M. Bachilo, and A. G. Lysyuk, “Basaltic melts for formation of staple fibers,” Steklo Keram. , No. 12, 18 – 20 (1968).

O. S. Tatarintseva and D. E. Zimin , “Particulars of melting of rocks and fiber formation from the melts,” Polyzunovskii Vestn. , No. 2, 158 – 162 (2006).

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Translated from Steklo i Keramika , No. 6, pp. 3 – 6, June, 2010.

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Tatarintseva, O.S., Khodakova, N.N. Obtaining basaltic continuous and staple fibers from rocks in Krasnodar Krai. Glass Ceram 67 , 165–168 (2010).

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  22. Obtaining basaltic continuous and staple fibers from rocks ...

    The possibility of using rocks form the Khatsavitskoe, Solokhaul'skoe, and Tugupskoe deposits in Krasnodar Krai in the production of basaltic fibers has been investigated. Using laboratory single-spinneret setup it is shown that continuous, thickened, and rough fibers are formed from melts of these rocks in a wide temperature interval. Using a setup with an induction method of melting the ...