What Is User Research?

Many companies engage in user research to help improve the websites, products, and services they offer. This type of research helps businesses learn about customers’ needs, behaviors, motivation, and pain points. 

But what is user research? When it pertains to websites, the research is geared toward the user experience. It focuses on users’ thoughts and feelings as they go through various tasks involved in the website, product, or service. 

There are primarily two main types of user research: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research refers to research that can be measured. It may ask questions such as:

  • How many people clicked the link on the webpage?
  • What percentage of users were able to figure out how to make a purchase?

The answers to these questions can help generate statistics and help companies understand what steps users are taking when navigating their website.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, cannot be measured. This type of user research involves more open-ended questions, such as “Why didn’t the user see this element?” Answering these types of questions will require conversations.

Usability tests are another excellent way to observe someone’s behavior, helping you determine what is good about your website or product and what can be improved. 

  • Moderated tests are often done in person, with a moderator reading out tasks for the user to complete. The user then thinks aloud as they go through the various steps. 
  • Unmoderated tests are done online at the user’s convenience.
  • Surveys are a good way to get a lot of information from multiple people. Google Docs can be used to gather hundreds of anonymous responses in a short period. 


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