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User Research Methods

What are user research methods?

The term user research methods, in a usability context, refers to ways to find out more about how a user interacts with a product, such as a website or software application.

User research methods categories

Four sub-categories in user research methods include behavior, quantitative, qualitative, and setup/settings. Depending on what a professional wants to research, he or she will choose one of these categories and a corresponding user research method. An example scenario might be that Jim wants to know how the user reacts to so many buttons on a screen, and specifically which one the user will see first, or which one he will ultimately click on? This question can be answered by using a user research method within a behavior category called, eye-tracking - and if possible, mouse-tracking. The usability professional will then see what the user saw first and with mouse-tracking software, will also see what the user ultimately clicked on.

How to perform user research methods

The various categories require various methods to perform. Some of the qualitative user research methods will require using focus groups or interviews. These require communication skills. To perform quantitative user research, methods like A/B testing or usability testing are often required.

Related terms

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