UX Research: What Is It?

Design, Product
11 min
Nov 16, 2023

A fundamental thing that many design professionals pay little attention to is that design should be created for humans. The statistics show that 53% of customers feel that brands fail to meet their expectations. And for that matter, user experience (UX) research is needed.

Investigating the target audience is a multi-stage process. It is a part of the design process that creates a vision of how the final design version should be so that people can easily use it. Find out below all the peculiarities of UX research and how it is conducted.

What Is UX Research?

User experience research is the procedure of investigating the customers’ needs, logic, and motivation to define what should be done to streamline their interaction with the product. This is a process of creating a realistic design that serves not only business needs but also satisfies clients’ needs.

UX research analysis can be performed at any stage in the design development process. Whether you are designing from scratch or already have a working product, analyzing customer behavior will always provide valuable insights.

Why Is UX Research Important?

The first myth that comes to mind when designers discover UX research is that users who are not professionals in this field cannot provide qualitative feedback. However, things are not like this, and you are getting a lot by investing in customer investigation. When looking at the numbers, 8 out of 10 customers would pay more for a better customer experience. So here is why user experience research works:

importance of UX research

  • It reveals the weak spots of the design. The fact that users are new to design and seeing your product for the first time can help you determine where visitors are most confused. By defining those weak spots, you can see why customers don’t go further and fail to convert.
  • It gives an objective point of view. When building a design without preliminary user research, professionals base their decisions on assumptions and personal beliefs. But it doesn’t mean they are always right and can be applied to other humans. That is why confirming or denying assumptions by real users is of great importance.
  • It saves time and money on future problem-fixing. Suppose you find out the users’ motivation, needs, and behavior from the beginning. In this case, you can avoid so many improvements in the future, which costs more than conducting a customer investigation.
  • It guarantees better business outcomes. A user-friendly design increases the return on investment (ROI) rate. By implementing thoroughly planned decisions, your design will have less risk of failure and misconception. Thus, more users will seamlessly come to finish and buy from you.

How Is UX Research Implemented into the Overall UI/UX Design Process?

The UX research process is not a separate procedure with no connection to the overall design process. First of all, gathering feedback from users and observing their actions provides valuable information regarding the user interface since UX and UI are entwined in one product.

Secondly, based on the data from the research, all subsequent steps will be adjusted accordingly. So, in some way, UX investigation is the leading procedure that dictates how the design should be created and supports it with real customer feedback.

UX Research Methods

One of the advantages of the user experience investigation procedure is its multifaceted nature. Once you define the goals and objectives, you can choose from multiple research methods, including quantitative and qualitative, attitudinal and behavioral, generative and evaluative. Let’s see precisely what techniques exist:

UX research methods

  1. User interviews. This method is one of the most insightful ones. While having a one-to-one conversation with customers, you can lead them to their pain points and discover what needs improving. User interviews consist of wide content through which the customers get prepared and precise questions that gather the required information.
  2. Card sorting. The best way to learn about users’ logic is to apply the card-sorting technique. The procedure for this method is that participants are given different cards with information or feature descriptions. They should sort them into groups with something in common or the most relevant to each other.
  3. Focus groups. This method helps to better understand users’ beliefs and personal attitudes. While conducting the focus group procedure, participants share their thoughts about your product: what it is for them, what functions they believe it has to provide, what problems to solve, etc.
  4. Surveys. This method has more limitations as you can’t ask a user directly, but with the right questions, it is possible to receive valuable feedback. In the surveys, open-ended and closed-ended questions should be formed to get a desired answer that can be measured.
  5. Usability testing. The concept of usability testing is built on giving participants specific tasks and observing how they complete them. For example, you must test a new feature and set a task to find it. The ways people will look for it will identify their logic and help create the easiest way to reach that feature in the future.
  6. Diary studies. As the name implies, a diary study is similar to filling out a diary where users are to write down their thoughts about your product over a certain period. The diary can have a free form or be structured. This method allows you to examine how your changes influence customers.

How to Conduct UX Research

As you might have understood from the UX research methods, conducting an investigation needs preparation. It is a thorough procedure that cannot be done in a chaotic and plan-free. Otherwise, you will get results that are not applicable or useful for your purpose. So, as a UX researcher, follow the next steps:

conducting UX research

  • Set clear goals. The general idea of increasing user satisfaction is not the only purpose of UX research. Since your product is unique, you must consider what you want to achieve now. For setting goals, designers and stakeholders are gathered.
  • Decide on types of UX research methods. As you know from the information above, different methods solve different problems. For instance, if you need to get a more thorough picture of your product in customers’ eyes, use the interview; if your goal is to learn users’ logic, choose usability testing.
  • Prepare the tasks. The main challenge at this stage is to set clear tasks for participants. They must understand what to do and their mission and if needed, do homework before going on interviews or participating in focus groups.
  • Conduct research. This is an actual investigation stage when all the hard work is done. Your main focus should be gathering as much feedback as possible during this stage. And surely, you can implement several research methods to get more comprehensive feedback.
  • Analyze the results. Once the participants have provided you with information, it is time to process it. The main task here is to receive hints on acting further and building a design process from the results.

How to Analyze UX Research Outcomes

To get valuable insights, you must deal with the information you have received from customers. First of all, it is essential to look at the beginning, namely your goals and whether they can be met with what you have.

The next thing to do is to create a framework for data. Getting a lot of information is beneficial but comes from different sources and formats. Creating a framework with themes and patterns will help to get to its meaning.

Once you can look at the data more comfortably, you can trace similar and different data. For example, you can see how other groups of people complete the assigned tasks or how different users find the logic of the product.

How to Use UX Research Data Analysis for Product Improvement?

Collecting customer feedback not only helps to see whether they like it but also identifies what should be improved. With the data you receive, you can track customers’ everyday issues and find out how to fix them. What is also important is that you can get a user’s point of view regarding your product and match it in such a way that it serves customers’ and users’ needs.

What Are the Benefits of UX Research for Businesses of Different Sizes?

Startups and companies already on the market can benefit equally from conducting UX research. In both cases, this investigation saves time and money. Why let customers use and fix a product if you can detect the issue initially? Or why make the logic too advanced if it will prevent clients from going to the end of the journey? For a company of any size, knowing its target audience is beneficial for improving, scaling, and receiving higher profits.

How to Start UX Research

Implementing UX research into your usual improvement process is essential to keeping abreast of user satisfaction rates. This means conducting user investigations regularly since the feedback will differ with implementing new features. However, if you plan to do UX research only at the development stage, it is crucial to dedicate time to preparation. Thus, before reaching out to users, gather with design professionals and business owners to discuss their development plans for the future and set clear goals that will define the research methods.

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop


What is UX research?

UX research investigates the customer’s interaction with the product: their logic, behavior, needs, and pains. It is a way to identify what users think of the platform’s design and its usability.

Why is UX research important?

User experience analysis highlights many issues that designers can’t see. It provides feedback on how users see your product, where they get confused, and what should be improved.

How do you do UX research?

A UX research process consists of several steps: setting objectives, choosing the research methods, preparing tasks for participants, conducting research, and gathering feedback.

What to do with the analysis results?

The main task is to sift through the tons of information and extract the insights that will fulfill your goal.

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