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User experience (UX) research is measurable through both qualitative (direct) and quantitative (indirect) research methods. Qualitative research generates data about users behaviors or attitudes based on observing them directly. Whereas, quantitative research generate data about behaviors or attitudes indirectly through a measurement or an instrument such as a survey or an analytics tool.

UX Research Phases

MCoE UX Research methods align with best practice methods used by UX experts such as Nielson Norman Group (NN/g) and include Discover, Explore, Test, and Listen phases.


Methods that help determine whether it makes sense to create the mobile experience. These methods help to identify what you don’t know and to better understand the targeted end-users’ needs.

Methodology Description
Field studies Observing users in context and in their “natural” environment allows the researcher a more realistic understanding of the users’ behaviors and how they interact with technology.
Users interviews Interviewing potential users of a design as part of the ideation phase or during early concept development.
Stakeholder interviews Defines the design objective and game plan. The UX researcher works closely with the stakeholders to make sure that everyone is on the same page and to gather any additional information or generate any new ideas the design project may need.
Competitive Usability Evaluations Evaluating data on what works well or poorly on other mobile designs to avoid implementing useless features and to guide user experience investments to features that your users need.
Requirements and constraints Knowing the users and the different contexts when using the mobile application as well as understanding the problem’s origins and how it came to be in a design project.

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Methods that help gain a better understanding of the problem space and design scope and to help address user needs appropriately.

Methodology Description
Design review Visually inspecting the interface for usability issues and areas for improvement and rating how well the site or application adheres to best practices and user interface principles to make the findings actionable.
Persona building User archetype that helps guide decisions about product features, navigation, interactions, and even visual design.
Journey mapping Combining two powerful instruments—storytelling and visualization—in order to help teams understand and address users’ needs.
Task analysis Process of learning about ordinary users by observing them in action to understand in detail how they perform their tasks and achieve their intended goals.
Write user stories Very high-level definition of a requirement, containing just enough information so that the developers can produce a reasonable estimate of the effort to implement it.
Card sorting Helps understand how to organize offerings so users can easily find what they are looking for in the mobile design.

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Methods that help check the design during development and beyond to ensure that the design functions well for the end-users.

Methodology Description
Qualitative usability testing Evaluating the app by testing it with representative users. Typically, users are asked to complete a few tasks and to provide feedback on what they see and experience. While users complete the steps, they are asked to “think aloud”– share their thoughts out loud about what they like and don’t like, what they expect to be able to do, and what doesn’t make sense etc.
Benchmark testing Testing a mobile design progress over time.
Accessibility evaluation Ensuring that the mobile experience follows KP’s accessibility requirements in order to comply with the Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. To read more about accessibility requirements, visit the Accessibility in Mobile Design section.

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Methods that help understand existing problems and determine if any new problems/pain points have developed.

Methodology Description
Surveys Used predominantly to measure behavioral and attitudinal data as well as collect demographic data.
Feedback review Helps determines usability and future design directions.
FAQ review Could improve products, services, information, and user experience as part of the knowledge management process.

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Some content courtesy of Nielson Norman Group (NN/g)