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December 17, 2019

All about user research: qualitative and quantitative UX study

UX research is the set of tools used to design user-centered products and services. Let's take a look at the different types of qualitative and quantitative studies that will allow you to create a quality user experience.

Let's start with some definitions around user research

What's User Experience?

User Experience (UX) refers to a person's experience and attitude when using a product or service. This includes operational scope, brand, psychological expectations and emotions. They are crucial parts of the user experience.
UX is the interaction between the user/customer and the product/service/brand.
L'expérience utilisateur est la rencontre de l'utilisateur ou client avec un produit, un service ou une marque.

What's UX Research?

UX research is the regular inquiry of users and their demands, to add context and first-hand knowledge to the user experience design process. It can be a qualitative or quantitative study, depending on the needs and situations.

UX research is not a technical formula, although some bugs can be found.

UX research is not a theoretical approach either. Its purpose is to reveal specific facts from pragmatic everyday experiences and not abstract principles or theories. It is applied research.

UX Research analyzes your product or service based on 7 aspects:
  • Utility: does your experience meet the users' needs?
  • Usability: how is your experience handled by users?
  • Accessibility: is it accessible to all types of users?
  • Attractiveness: is your experience attractive to users?
  • Credibility: does it give users confidence?
  • Adoption: does your experience make users want to subscribe/use your service/product?
  • Investment: is your experience sustainable for users?

7 UX Research aspects through engagement, perception and satisfaction

What is a Qualitative UX Study?

Qualitative UX research is the study of human behavior focusing on context and detailed observation rather than on statistical data.
Examples of qualitative methodologies:
  • Individual Interview
  • Focus groups
  • Remote User Tests

What is a Quantitative UX study?

Quantitative UX research is the study of human behavior focusing on statistical data.
Examples of quantitative methodologies:
  • Survey
  • A/B test or multi-varied test
  • Heatmap
> Find all the definitions in the user search glossary

Why Conduct User Experience Studies?

UX research allows you to improve your customer satisfaction, your conversion and your productivity. It is a determining factor of success.
L'UX research peut augmenter le taux de satisfaction des utilisateurs de 40%, la conversion de 30% et la productivité de 25%.
"When we started talking to our users and understanding how they were using our service, that was the turning point in our company's success"
- Joe Gebbia, Co-founder of Airbnb
88% of internet users buying online say they do not return to a website after a bad experience (statistics from  Amazon Web Services).
At the same time, 70% of online companies go out of business due to poor usability (Uxeria statistics).

Qualitative or Quantitative Study? Which methodology to choose?

Choose according to your objectives

Quantitative research allows to identify blocking points. It focuses on  the "What" and "Who". Qualitative research allows you to understand and resolve the blocking points. It allows to identify the "Why" and the "How".
Les études qualitatives et quantitatives sont complémentaires. La première révèle le "Pourquoi" et "Comment" des choses alors que la deuxième révèle le "Quoi" et "Qui".

Choose according to the development stage

In order to progress confidently, each stage needs to be confronted from a user's point of view. However, some methodologies are more efficient or adapted to the development stage of your product or service.
Le sondage quantitatif est adapté à la phase exploratoire et après la mise en service. Les focus groups sont adaptés aux phases d'exploration et de design. Les entretiens utilisateurs sont utilisables sur l'ensemble du processus. Les tests utilisateurs à distance sont adaptés aux phases de design, version bêta et après le lancement. L'analytics n'est utilisable que après le lancement.

Qualitative studies allow to test ideas or prototypes at a very early stage. Since the  data collected is qualitative, it is easy to isolate feedback caused by comprehension or prototyping bias, while keeping the real blocking points in mind.
The golden rule: the earlier you start UX research, the less costly the adjustment. Modifying an idea or a strategy is easier than modifying a prototype, which is easier to modify than a finished product.
> Test our tool to find the study adapted to your needs

How to Conduct Qualitative and/or Quantitative Studies?

The entire user experience research can be summarized by the table below:

How to Conduct Qualitative and/or Quantitative Studies?

Moderate Face-to-Face Qualitative Study: Individual interviews and focus groups

Why: To reveal WHY and HOW blocking points in the user experience.
When: Throughout the process, as soon and as often as possible
Whom: 5-8 core target users
  • Exploration & Ideation
  • Prototype Testing
  • Beta Version Testing
  • Marketed Product or Service Testing
Pour trouver plus de 80% des problèmes avec une étude qualitative en présentiel il faut 5 utilisateurs ou plus.

Curve N (1-(1- L ) ^n ) with L  (average proportion of usability problems found per user) = 31% calculated by Jakob Nielsen's teams. This 31% value can be used for face-to-face user tests with advanced targeting profiles and a low diversity of devices tested.

> Learn more about individual interviews (deliverables, objectives, process...)
> Learn more about focus groups (deliverables, objectives, process...)

Moderate Qualitative Study Afterwards: Remote user tests

Why: To reveal the WHY and HOW of blocking points
When: As soon as you have some elements to show, and then as often as you can
Whom: 10 - 30 users depending on your targeting level
  • Prototype Testing
  • Beta Version Testing
  • Marketed Product or Service Testing
Pour trouver plus de 80% des problèmes avec une étude qualitative à distance il faut 10 utilisateurs ou plus.
Jakob Nielsen's curve N (1-(1- L ) ^n ) with L = 16%.
For remote testing methodology, we recommend using a value of L at 16% to ensure the results' accuracy (L being the average of the proportion of usability problems found per user). In fact, moderation afterwards makes this methodology less "deep" than a face-to-face user test for which L = 31% is used.
> Learn more about remote testing (deliverables, objectives, process...)

Quantitative Study in Active Collection: Survey

Why: To reveal WHAT the blocking points ARE and for WHOM
When: Before the project to identify your target or your competition. After the project to understand the uses.
Whom: 400 representative users (using the quota method) for a national target. 300 may be enough  for a standard target of the "French".
  • Exploration
  • On a marketed product or service
Pour atteindre une marge d'erreur inférieure à 5% avec un sondage quantitatif, il faut 400 répondants au minimum.
The curve reaches a plateau at 400 participants as soon as the total population exceeds 100,000 people.
> Learn more about the quantitative survey (deliverables, objectives, process...)

Quantitative Study in Passive Collection: UX analytics

Why: To reveal WHAT the blocking points ARE and for WHOM
When: Once your digital product is up and running
Whom: All your users
What: Optimization of a digital product in service

In conclusion

UX research is a key success factor and should be initiated at all stages of your project development and as soon as possible.

If you wish to improve your users' and customers' experience, Ferpection can assist you throughout the process. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free custom-made quote!

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Marie Mantopoulos

Marie Mantopoulos

Marie is a Product Designer. By listening to our prospects, customers, UX researchers and testers, she designs the evolution of the Ferpection product so that it meets everyone's expectations and needs as closely as possible. She is in charge of the evolution of the user testing and results reporting platform, from UI and UX design, to project management.

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