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UX Research Methods

Below are outtakes from The UX Sketchbook. The research methods below include a brief description and links for addition information.

UX Research Methods

A/B testing is a research method that allows you to evaluate two alternatives of a design to determine which of them is more effective. A/B testing, sometimes referred to a split-tests, divides users into two groups and each of them is presented a different variant. Results and analysis can provide insight into user behavior and peculiarities of the target users and can assist in validating design decisions.

Additional Resources:

  • https://usabilitygeek.com/introduction-a-b-testing/
  • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/putting-ab-testing-in-its-place/

Accessibility analysis is the process of measuring and documenting the usability and inclusion of a website, app or other design projects, regardless of a user’s special needs. Common concerns could include visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Specifically, ISO defines usability as the “extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals effectively, efficiently and with satisfaction in a specified context of use.”

Additional Resources:

  • https://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/accessibility.html
  • https://www.nngroup.com/reports/usability-guidelines-accessible-web-design/

Affinity diagrams are a UX method to help you make sense of large amounts of information. It is a versatile practice that assists in clustering information based on relationships, connections, or common themes. Post-it notes or index cards are typically used and can be grouped and reorganized as teams analyze the information. This transforms analysis into a tangible visualization and synthesis for design teams.

Additional Resources:

  • https://medium.com/learning-ux/affinity-diagrams-tips-and-tricks-6225e8c1f0df
  • https://www.nngroup.com/videos/affinity-diagramming/
  • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/affinity-diagram/

Brainstorming is the most common and frequent practiced form of idea generation and project initiation. It represents the root of creativity and alternative thinking. Groups or teams typical isolate themselves and collectively presents proposed ideas to a specific problem. When ideas are tossed out for all to hear, this often triggers additional and alternative ideas from other participants. The objective is to leverage the collective creativity and problem-solving abilities of a group.

Additional Resources:

  • https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/learn-how-to-use-the-best-ideation-methods-brainstorming-braindumping-brainwriting-and-brainwalking
  • https://uxdesign.cc/brainstorm-79e51f20f313
  • https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/06/a-framework-for-brainstorming-products/

Card sorting is a method used to assist in the organization and understanding of a website, app or project. Topics are written on index cards. Users then organize these topics into categories or groups that make sense to them. This UX activity helps design teams understand user expectations. Upon analysis, it can aid in the content organization and information architecture that best matches a user’s mental model.

Additional Resources:

  • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/card-sorting-definition/
  • https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2017/01/using-card-sorting-to-create-stronger-information-architectures.php
  • https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/10/improving-information-architecture-card-sorting-beginners-guide/
  • http://designresearchtechniques.com/casestudies/card-sorting/
A competitive analysis involves assessing your project’s competitors and can help you know your market, products, and goals better. It involves analyzing your competitor’s market position, patterns, features, content, and performance as a base for which you can differentiate your design solution. A competitive analysis can present current user expectations, expose challenges, and reveal risks based on what others are doing.
Low-fidelity comps are usually synonymous with sketches or thumbnails. This is usually the first stage of visualization for concepts, layouts, user-interfaces and more. After discovery and initial research, designers will create a list of expectations, requirements or features that must be represented in the final design solution. Through a series of rapid sketches, designers can begin to layout and design these in a tangible visual form. It is often understood that these will need modification as development evolves. Low-fidelity sketches can be used for low-fidelity prototyping (i.e. rapid paper prototyping or imported into a UX prototyping tool) for initial review and user flow testing.