UX Methods & Tools in Asia Survey

UX Methods & Tools in Asia Survey

Ever wonder what are the research or design tools available in the market that could benefit your career in the UX industry? Yet, when you try to look around, you’re just bombarded with… So many tools, and so little time to explore. Fret not, we’ve got you covered! From the list of available tools to the reasons for using them, we’ve compiled an exhaustive list for all your UX research needs after surveying UX researchers and designers across Asia.

Here’s what we will cover in this article. You may continue to read on or skip to specific sections by clicking the links below:

    Who We Surveyed

    We’ve collected responses from all around Asia, and here are some information of our survey respondents:

    Qualitative UX Research Tools

    Research, research and more research, you just can’t escape from them in the UX industry. Some of the more common qualitative UX research techniques include Card Sorting, Customer Journey Mapping, Online User Interviews, and Usability Testing.  

    Card Sorting

    Card sorting is a research technique used to understand how users would organize, group, or label certain information within a site. To conduct this research method, researchers can use either online tools or offline tools such as sticky notes, paper, or actual cards. We found that most researchers in Asia prefer online tools now, but some still use offline tools occasionally.  

    Here are the most used card sorting tools by researchers: 

    1

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. UXbeam
    2. Figma

    Customer Journey Mapping

    Customer Journey Mapping shows the interaction between the organization and their customer, allowing them to have a better understanding of their customer’s needs and expectations. With that, they will be able to plan and strategize on what needs to be worked on and improved further. Interestingly, we found that offline tools such as blackboards (or whiteboard or empty walls) are still preferred by most researchers in Asia.

    Here are the most used customer journey mapping tools by researchers:

    2

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. Adobe XD
    2. Miro
    3. Smaply
    4. UXPressia
    5. OmniGraffle

    Online User Interviews

    User Interviews, which involve collecting information directly from users, can be considered one of the most popular methods in UX research. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that even though physical interviews are not a viable option, there are still many online platforms that could support user interviews. Although each platform has its ups and downs, we found the top tools loved by most researchers in Asia.

    Here are the most used online user interview tools by researchers:

    3

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. Maze
    2. Direct interviews
    3. Dovetail

    Usability Testing

    How do you know whether users are able to complete tasks successfully with ease? Usability Test is the answer! A usability testing session is a great way to watch how users actually use your product be it a website or physical product. Why? Because good design is not enough, we need to make sure users can enjoy using the products and understand the problems the “real” users are facing.

    Here are the most used usability testing tools by researchers:

    4

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. Lookback
    2. UsabilityHub

    Quantitative Research Tools

    The popular phrase “Numbers don’t lie” can be observed through people’s interest in collecting data and statistics. Hence, it’s not surprising that some of the common quantitative UX research methods include utilizing Digital Analytics, Heatmaps, and Online Surveys. For those of you who love numbers, here are some interesting tools you can try

    Digital Analytics

    Through capturing users’ usage patterns, navigational path, clicks to conversion, and time spent when using a product, we’re able to predict and determine future trends.

    Here are the most used Digital Analytics tools by researchers:

    5

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. Mixpanel
    2. Data.ai
    3. Smartlook

    Heatmaps

    Heatmaps allow you to observe how people interact with website pages, specifically their cursor movements, and item selection on the screen, which is helpful when planning for site optimization and improving digital user experience.

    Even though some digital analytics tools are able to capture heatmap data, when it comes to the tools researchers used specifically for heatmapping, here are the tools they use:

    6

    Online Survey

    Online surveys are arguably the cheapest and easiest way to collect data in a short period of time. The overall convenience and flexibility of online surveys explain why they’re a crowd’s favorite: researchers have the flexibility in designing the survey, meanwhile respondents are able to answer the questions at their own pace and comfort.   

    Here are the most used online survey tools by researchers:

    7

    And here are the tools researchers are looking forward to try in their next research project:

    1. SurveyCircle
    2. Hotjar

    Respondent Recruitment Tools

    Regardless of what type of research you plan to conduct, you will always need respondents to fulfill and answer the burning questions you have in mind. However, respondent recruitment can be a challenging quest to conquer, especially if your target audience is niche. So, how do most researchers recruit people for their research? We found that email and word of mouth are still used by many, whilst others also use online tools such as Google Forms.

    Respondent Recruitment

    Here are the top 3 respondent recruitment tools that are frequently used by researchers in Asia:

    8

    Design Tools

    User Interface Design 

    Shapes, colors, fonts… those who love designing and creating new things digitally need to continuously adapt to the changing trends and tools to keep inspired. But wait, there are a lot of tools out there that leave designers overwhelmed.

    Our finding shows that these are the most used user interface design tools by designers in Asia:

    9

    And here are the tools UX designers in Asia are looking forward to try in their next UX design project:

    1. UXPin
    2. Axure
    3. Framer
    4. Sketch
    5. Zeplin
    6. Invision

    Prototyping

    How do you know if clients really like your product before spending time and effort creating a website? How do you imagine the interaction before you code it? Prototype is the solution! 

    Here are the most used prototyping tools by designers:

    10

    And here are the tools UX designers are looking forward to try in their next UX design project:

    1. Adobe XD
    2. Zaplin
    3. Framer
    4. Sketch
    5. Origami Design

     

    Wireframing

    Architects create architectural blueprints before they start building. How about designers? They create wireframes to show the overall content layout and functionality of a webpage or app. 

    Here are the most used wireframing tools by designers in Asia:

    11

    And here are the tools Asian UX designers are looking forward to try in their next user interface design project:

    1. Miro
    2. Mockplus
    3. Balsamiq 

    Research Repository Tools

    Whether you are a UX researcher or designer, we’ve all had times when we were lost in our own pool of resources. Trying to find that piece of crucial information suddenly becomes more exhausting and time-consuming. As the saying goes, sharing is caring. Hence, setting up a research repository is important to better organize and accelerate your research process. 

    Here are the most used research repository tools by researchers and designers:

    12

    Project Management Tools

    Managing projects can be quite challenging at times, especially when working with different people. Hence, there are many project management tools in the market that could benefit you by easing this intimidating process.

    Here are the most used project management tools by researchers and designers:

    13

    User Testing and its Applications

    User Testing and its Applications

    Understanding customers is vital to the success of any business. The main goal of any business should be to minimise potential client frustrations with their product or service.

    usability-testing-mobile-apps

    Whether a physical product or a digital, the idea should be to exceed customer expectations by considering customer feedback throughout the product ideation and development. One activity product developers can employ to ensure that they’re creating solutions that match what customers are seeking is user testing.

    What is user testing?

    User testing is a systematic process of observing how prospective users navigate a product prototype or feature. Subsequently, this information is collected to analyse the ways in which users find the product easy or difficult for them to employ.

    So, user testing activities illustrate precisely what problems users may encounter during their interaction with the functions of a website, app, product, or service— in realistic conditions (or mimicking realistic conditions). 

    Why is user testing important?

    User testing focuses on evaluation exercises to identify various pain points and positive attributes to incrementally enhance user experience before taking a product to market. 

    It helps to determine product usability and to decide whether a product is ready for launch to real users. User testing achieves this by collecting qualitative data to understand the intention and motivation driving customer behaviours. This consequently helps creators to make informed design decisions to positively impact user experiences.

    Generally, user testing is important to:

    • Uncover users’ needs and challenges through their actual use of your design.
    • Assess prospective users’ performance and mental state as they attempt to complete tasks, to evaluate how well a design works.
    • Make faster-informed decisions based on proven customer needs 
    • Implement a customer-first approach.

    How does user testing work?

    Following are the key steps involved in user testing:

    1. Creation of product, prototype, or feature

    Before you conduct a user testing exercise, you’ll require a real product or feature to test. This could be a new product, or existing version of a product, or even a sample.

    2. Choose a testing method

    Once you have a product or feature to test, select a method of user testing to employ. As you do this, carefully consider a test method best suited to the type of information you’re seeking to obtain, and the depth of feedback. 

    3. Write a test script

    Afterwards, write a test script to get the most out of your time and get comparable results. This will serve as a technical guide for the moderator as it lists the tasks to be tackled sequentially and supplemented with a hypothesis and a goal. 

    4. Recruit subjects for the user test

    After the above steps, you’ll need to recruit test respondents for your user testing. These should be real prospective clients, ideally, actual members of your intended audience, or users who match your client personas. 

    Such careful selection will help you achieve the desired outcomes and data from the people who matter most. 

    Read our article on ‘How to recruit the right respondents for user research.”

    5. Determine a location to perform the testing

    Once you have a product, testing method, and test subjects, determine the best time and location for your test. This decision depends on the nature of your product or feature, its use case and capabilities. Furthermore, you’ll need to carefully consider the test subject’s environment, as distractions might not be ideal.

    User Testing can be done in a UX research lab, where you invite participants to a central location. On the other hand, you can also be conducted remotely online as well, making it possible for your test with participants from all over the world easily. 

    6. Decide on the length of the test.

    Test respondents are sometimes cautious about the length of a user test as they sometimes have limited time. Furthermore, disparate users take different amounts of time.

    Unfortunately, longer tests typically return poor-quality responses and feedback due to fatigue, boredom, and lack of interest. For moderated user testing, it’s recommended to be around 60 minutes to avoid cognitive overload on the users. As for unmoderated user testing, the study should be completed by an average of 15-20 minutes.

    7. Executing the user test

    Before starting your user test, ensure that your subjects have all the instructions they need. For example, directions on how to provide their feedback and analysis. 

    Depending on the product, industry, and preferred test method, the directions and instructions for test subjects might differ prior to or during the test. 

    8. Evaluate and analyse the test results.

    Analysis of data should take place soon after user testing; otherwise, there is an inherent risk that important details might be forgotten. In addition, this evaluation and analysis should consider different metrics like, completion rate, error-free rate, critical errors, non-critical errors, and error-free rate. 

    After the evaluation process, you can make minor or drastic iterative modifications to accordingly improve your product.

    Types and methods of user testing

    Usability testing

    Usability testing principally focuses on determining how easy a product design is to use for a group of representative users. It typically involves carefully observing users as they complete different tasks, from early product development to release.

    A/B testing

    A/B testing is fundamentally the process by which two different variants of a product are sent to different groups of prospective users. It is imperative to remember that each user group must receive only one variant of the product, not both. Furthermore, they must be sent on the same day and time to optimally track customer reactions. 

    Generally, the central goal of A/B testing is to extensively gain insight into customer behaviour and preferences. This testing method is one of the most efficient and fastest ways to increase customer conversions. 

    Focus groups

    As a qualitative research technique, focus groups principally involve organising a discussion on a given product or topic with a group of 8-10 participants. These discussions typically take 60-90 minutes and seek to obtain information on users’ motivations and behaviours in response to the product. 

    During focus group engagements, real users discuss various attributes of a product, or feature. One of the product designers, researchers, or other employees typically leads such discussions to ensure you’re receiving your desired type of feedback. 

    For the most part, a focus group discussion will typically cover the test subjects’ concerns about a specific aspect of a product that’s brought up by the focus group facilitator.

    Heat map testing

    A heat map is a graphical data visualisation that demonstrates how website users click, scroll, and move on a web page. Heat map testing fundamentally revolves around engaging users to analyse their mouse or eye movements when using a product or service.

    Subsequently, heat map analysis is conducted to analyse the heat maps generated from the recording tool to determine what grabs a user’s attention. Or even where users spend most of their time, and how much time is spent on specific areas to determine which elements need improvement.

    Card sorting

    Card sorting is a user testing method that involves users organising index card (physical or digital) according to criteria that make the most sense to them. During product development, this testing technique helps guide the design of information architecture, menu structures, workflows, or website navigation paths.

    Respondent recruitment for user testing

    Respondents are a fundamental tenet of user testing. However, finding the right respondents is no easy feat, as researchers need to carefully vet them, and then schedule a time to engage them. 

    Unfortunately, some respondents cannot deliver meaningful feedback or insight. In turn, suboptimal respondents negatively impact the quality of user testing. 

    Netizen’s respondent recruitment service can help provide a tailored solution that focuses on recruiting the right respondents for surveys, focus groups, and in-depth user interviews. 

    Conclusion

    The core purpose of user testing is to evaluate the success of a product or feature from the standpoint of customers. This is because while designers involved in the creation of the product might find it easy to use, the target customers may not. 

    Fortunately, user testing provides tunnel vision into where the product falls short for the intended audience. It essentially reveals where users are typically confused or frustrated. This information can then be leveraged to iterate the product’s design.

    Overall, well-planned and executed user testing uncovers actionable, qualitative data that product design teams can exploit to make faster, better decisions to improve customer satisfaction. 

    Reach out to us at Netizen Experience to discuss about user testing services and the requirements for your project.

    What is User Experience- A Complete Guide

    What is User Experience- A Complete Guide

    Any business should aim to create products that people will love to use. To achieve this, it’s important to extensively understand customers’ problems, frustrations, and expectations.

    User experience has slowly transformed over the last decade from a customer-centric service in the realm of product and service design to more personalized offerings. 

    Furthermore, the emergence of multiple digital distribution channels has made delivering optimal user experiences a necessity rather than an added value.

    What is user experience?

    User experience (UX) encompasses a user’s emotions and attitudes about using a specific physical product, digital application or service. It assesses practical, affective, experiential, emotive, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction (HCI) and product ownership.

    It also considers users’ opinions on a product’s features, including utility, efficiency and simplicity of use.

    Why is it important to have a consistent user experience?

    As alluded to, user experience is typically subjective in nature to the degree of individual perception and thought, with respect to a product. 

    In fact, UX has been highly dynamic and constantly modified over time because of changing usage circumstances and even iterative changes to the product. 

    That being said, maintaining an optimal user experience via consistent design is pivotal to helping the users feel a sense of familiarity with a product. As a result, users can easily transfer their existing knowledge to new contexts and environments whenever any iterations are made to a product.  

    They can focus on completing their tasks rather than spending extra time trying to learn how to continually use the product. Thus, it helps nurture a feeling of trust whilst eliminating any potential frustrations that might trigger them to abandon tasks.

    What is considered a good user experience?

    A good UX is one that places a focus on customers and their interactions with a product. 

    Overall, a good user experience will consist of the following elements:

    • Usefulness: A useful product always solves user problems. That being said, design intentionality is a core part of user experience since a product that’s not ‘useful’ may not always be ‘usable’.
    • Enjoyable: An enjoyable product is always usable as its design delights the user. Typically, such products reflect what the user may be feeling and create a positive connection with them.
    • Usable: A usable product indicates that its design, structure, and purpose are simple to understand. And thus, propagates a great user experience. 
    • Equitable: An equitable product maintains a design that’s helpful to people with diverse backgrounds and abilities. In simpler terms, its design addresses the needs of diverse audiences regardless of background, gender, race, or ability.
    • Desirable: A good user experience should evoke emotion and appreciation via a brand identity that makes it desirable
    • Accessible: A great experience constitutes content that is accessible to all types of people. For example, those with disabilities.
    • Credible: A good user experience is credible and inspires trust. 

    User experience (UX) deliverables

    User experience deliverables are various outputs dictated during the UX design process— either during the project or once it’s complete. 

    In practice, deliverables enable UX designers to communicate different design ideas and findings to stakeholders in order to iterate the product and make improvements. They also allow UX designers to get buy-in for their ideas.

    Competitor assessment

    Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of competitors can help align one’s UX strategy. For example, creating a competitive analysis report to detail the interaction designs of competitors can help pinpoint pitfalls and missed opportunities that one can leverage.

    Information Architecture

    Information architecture is the art of structurally organising and labelling websites in a manner that’s easy to understand for users. For large sites, this is particularly important to understand disparate content elements and how to organise them for diverse visitors. 

    For example, setting up a content inventory and a sitemap with suggested navigation, or instituting sample user flows that reveal how visitors peruse a site.

    User research

    User research can help uncover user needs, tendencies, and motivations. This research exercise can either collect quantitative or qualitative data from user testing sessions to inform sign-up flow redesigns or customer onboarding processes.

    Interaction Design

    An interaction design focuses on providing prospective users with a prototype to review how interactions with a site might occur. It seeks to uncover how users will probably complete critical tasks, seek out information, and use a product. 

    User Experience Design vs User Interface

    A user interface (UI) is a series of pages, screens, and visual elements. For example, switches, buttons and icons that facilitate a user when interacting with a product or service.

    On the other hand, user experience design focuses on designing products to ensure the most positive emotional experience possible as they interact with it. 

    Generally, a great product that people love typically necessitates both good UI and good UX. For instance, a dating app that looks visually appealing with intuitive navigation (UI) can be slow and make users click through multiple screens to make a match.

    In such instances, users might not want to use the app repeatedly, no matter how aesthetically commanding it looks. However, if its content is helpful and organised in a logical and intuitive way, it will most likely sustain consumer attention.

    User Experience vs Usability

    User experience is a design process that combines business-hypothesis driven experimentation and validated learning during product development cycles to improve user perceptions of a product. UX activities cover a user’s entire experience with a product. For example, how they expected it to work, and how they feel about continually using it.

    On the other hand, usability testing focuses on determining how successfully a user can exploit a product to achieve a specific goal. 

    These are typically five key metrics used to measure usability: 

    • Learnability: This metric evaluates how easy it is for prospective users to complete a generic task. For instance, logging into a website for the first time
    • Satisfaction: It assesses how enjoyable a product is to use.
    • Efficiency: This metric determines how fast users can fully complete a task once they have interacted with a product design.
    • Memorability: This metric analyses users’ ability to reuse a site fluently after taking a significant amount of time without using it. Essentially, determining how easily users can start using it again without issues. 
    • Errors: This assesses the number of repetitive mistakes users make when using a product or site. 

    How to improve the user experience of a site?

    Following are some key parameters to check in order to improve the UX of a site:

    Page loading time

    The loading page speed can make or break a website. 

    For example, Google statistics revela that 53% of users might leave the site is loading speed is longer than 3 seconds.  Simply put, humans aren’t really patient, especially when they have many options.

    So, it’s imperative to ensure that site users can quickly accomplish their primary goals, without going through painstaking load times. Remember, high load times and waiting times could affect the perception of users.

    Use Fitt’s Law to improve UX

    Fitt’s law is a predictive model used to determine the amount of time it takes for a particular user to move their mouse/cursor to a target area on a website. 

    Despite its multiple variations, Fitt’s law revolves around the idea that the time needed to move to a target largely depends on the distance to it. It is widely used with great success in modern UX design to improve site ergonomics, usability and user experiences. 

    UX design tools

    It is important to use the right tools for researching, storyboarding, prototyping, and wireframing to get the best user experience outcomes during the UX design process. 

    There are a plethora of UX tools available, some free and others that dictate a monthly subscription fee. 

    For example, Adobe XD & Figma enables UX designers to expertly curate unique websites and mobile apps with advanced prototyping, wireframing, and vector design capabilities. However, it is a subscription-based tool.

    On the other hand,  Storyboarder is a free storyboarding software with basic features made for UX designers of all levels to quickly create drawings and stick figures to plot ideas.

    Use white space generously

    One cheat code to ensure optimal user experiences is smartly using white spaces. Even subtle uses of whitespace can allow one’s design to breathe and stand out. In essence, white space always adds an aura of simplicity and elegance to web pages.

    Ask for customer feedback

    Collecting and reacting to customer feedback can help you significantly improve user experiences. However, if you don’t listen to your customers during the design process, you risk setting yourself up to lose opportunities to enhance your product.

    Conduct a UX review/audit

    As humans, we tend to focus on completing a task, with very little time set for reflection. As a result, we typically create systems fraught with weaknesses and discrepancies. A UX review can help you address any issues or avoid replicating the same problems repeatedly.

    Personalization in user experience

    Users’ requirements for convenience and ease of use will only grow as the world evolves into an on-demand environment. This means that users expect products to be specifically tailored to them as they are continuously bombarded by different product options.

    With this in mind, personalization in user experience design focuses on customising user journeys and experiences to match users’ exact choices and requirements. Fundamentally, this process seeks to exclusively meet users’ requirements and instruct them through a tailored conversion funnel.

    User experience examples

    Duolingo

    Duolingo is an educational platform for learning different languages. The website is intuitively designed to be welcoming, with three prompt questions to help users set their learning goals. Overall, the website seeks to make it extremely frictionless to get started, which sets it apart from competitors.

    duolingo.com

    Image Credit: Duolingo.com

    Mailchimp

    As a leading marketing automation platform, Mailchimp is well known for its humanisation of technology that adds depth to the often-boring experience of email marketing. It succeeds in delivering a unique and seamless user experience with an application that serves like a team member than a simple tool, when being used to get the job done.

    mailchimp

    Image Credit: mailchimp.com

    Conclusion

    As we established throughout the article, a person’s feelings, perceptions and attitudes about using a product constitute user experience. 

    We also observed that UX comprises features of human-computer interaction that are experiential, emotive, meaningful, and useful. 

    UX has gained momentum as a consequence of modern-day users’ dynamically changing internal mental states (predispositions, moods, expectations, needs, motivation etc.). 

    As such, it’s more imperative than ever to strive for the best user experiences that overcome complex user requirements but fulfil usability and functionality demands— regardless of the environment. 

    To achieve this meaningfulness of activity and voluntariness of use, remember to pay attention to the following principles of UX design:

    • Always focus on the user.
    • Improve accessibility
    • Conduct iterative usability testing
    • Have consistency throughout the website
    • Employ a hierarchical approach
    • Put the user in control

    Reach out to us for user experience consulting services on your project!

    Evaluative Research: Definition, Methods, and Types of Application

    Evaluative Research: Definition, Methods, and Types of Application

    Research is mission-critical to solving navigation challenges in the UX and product design world. In fact, user research helps UX designers to better understand the users beyond their own internal assumptions. 

    Therefore, enabling designers to put themselves in users’ shoes to deliver better user experiences. One such research approach that facilitates optimal product and UX design is evaluative research. 

    What is evaluative research? 

    Evaluative research also referred to as evaluation research, is a specialised methodology that UX designers employ to evaluate a product and collect data to improve it.

    It attempts to assess how well something is working. Whether a concept, existing product or service, or even some enhancements one is trying out.

    In practice, usability testing is a central part of evaluative research; however, it is not the only part. 

    Evaluative research is a core part of the product development process typically introduced in the early phases of the design process. It is used to iteratively test existing or new solutions until the product becomes ‘final’. The fundamental premise of this research vertical is ensuring value is present within a product so that effort and resources are not wasted.

    However, evaluative research does not stop when a new product is fully launched. Rather, solutions need to be continually monitored after their release and enhanced based on customer feedback to ensure they continue to add value (or even exceed) and meet the changing user needs.

    Why is evaluative research important?

    Evaluative research enables designers to test prospective products and collect valuable feedback to refine and improve the user experience. Discoveries from evaluative research are vital to assess what works and what doesn’t, as well as identifying possible areas of improvement.

    That being said, evaluative research should always be a crucial part of the product development process. And by enabling users to “evaluate” a product early and often, you can know whether you’re actually building the right solution for the audience.

    Additionally, the insights garnered from it can demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of a project. This can consequently help stakeholders to get buy-in for future projects whilst accomplishing product goals efficiently.

    Generally, evaluative research benefits can be summarised as:

    • It can help in determining if a product is appropriate to replicate in other locations with similar needs.
    • It can be useful when demonstrating the impact on the product funders.
    • It can prove helpful when suggesting improvements to an existing problem for a better product 
    • It can support any continued product or program development efforts.

    Evaluative research methods

    Qualitative usability testing

    Qualitative user testing is a methodology that allows product designers to intuitively understand the target audience’s pain points, mental models and opinions. This method typically uses the ‘think out loud’ technique to engage participants as they interact with a prototype or product.

    Preference testing

    Preference testing focuses on deploying subjective but useful tests to measure user opinions about designs. Also called desirability testing, this approach principally focuses on comparing the aesthetic or emotional appeal of a product or concept. This is done to better understand how people perceive and respond to its different product variants.

    Surveys

    Here, different sets of questions are shared with prospective users to evaluate their preferences, and attitudes towards a product. Surveys involve closed or open type questions being given to a sample audience that represents a much larger population. 

    First click testing

    First click testing is deployed to assess the usability of a product by determining whether users are able to efficiently complete a given task. In practice, this approach principally examines what participants will click on first on an interface to complete their intended task. 

    This is done with the aim of verifying the most effortless path the user sees to execute a task. As a result, the method is helpful in providing information about user expectations for common interface elements like menus, buttons, and form elements.

    Tree testing

    The tree testing research methodology enables product designers to evaluate the hierarchy and findability of topics on a platform. Essentially, a text-only version of the website’s hierarchy is laid out in front of participants. 

    Consequently, the participants are asked to highlight a category within that structure where they expect to find a particular item or piece of content. Generally, this approach is helpful when structuring an information architecture as UX designers can watch users swing from branch to branch.

    A/B testing

    Also sometimes called split testing or bucket testing, A/B testing is used to compare two versions of a product, webpage or app against each other to determine which performs best.

    Task analysis

    Task analysis is an effective method for finding out what users who you hope will employ your product are trying to achieve. Also, how they go about achieving complex tasks, and how effective they are in achieving their objectives. 

    Task analysis

    Photo by RF._.studio

    Card Sorting

    A relatively simple technique, card sorting provides actionable insight into how users mentally structure data. In practice, users are given randomly shuffled cards and tasked with organising(sorting) them in whatever fashion they prefer. 

    Once the labelled cards are sorted, the users are then asked to explain why they arranged the cards in a specific manner. The results are then documented and analysed by the researchers. 

    When to use evaluative research? 

    Evaluative research should be performed during the entire development cycle of a product. Preferably, commencing from the early concept of design until the final stages of the product design.

    Evaluative research examples

    Evaluative research exercises typically revolve around addressing a series of questions. For example: 

    • What are the pain points in the design?
    • Where are people exactly clicking, and at what frequency? Are they getting to the right place?
    • What are the fastest and easiest ways to redesign an existing interface?
    • What ways can conversion be improved?
    • Which of the two designs is better at helping users achieve their goals?

    On the usability end, evaluative research can pose questions to users like:

    • How was your experience completing the task?
    • How would you work around performing the task?
    • How did you find it navigating to the page?
    • Based on your previous task, how would you prefer to perform this action instead?

    Additionally, if a product has already been deployed, evaluative research can pose questions like:

    • How satisfied are you with the existing product?
    • How often do you utilise the product/feature?
    • Does the product/ help you achieve your goals?
    • How easy is it to use the product/feature?

    Generative vs evaluative research

    Generative research methods focus on exploration, discovery, and experimentation with different ideas. Generative research methods are thus driven by open-ended questions that allow users to share their life, goals, mental models, and experiences. 

    Evaluative research methods fundamentally focus on evaluating how good (or bad) the generated ideas are. This approach is principally driven by closed-ended questions to allow researchers to understand precisely what did or didn’t work to refine the ideas.

    Is generative or evaluative research better? 

    Generative and evaluative research i quite distinct in character. The objective of generative research is to define the problem one would like to create and design a solution. On the other hand, evaluative research helps to analyse and understand an existing design.

    Furthermore, generative research is typically done as a one-off and is in-depth. However, evaluative research is recommended as a regular exercise throughout the design, development, and product delivery process.

    How to choose the right method? 

    Generally speaking, there is no “best” approach as both research methods have disparate goals and should be performed at different times in the development and design cycle.

    Before choosing the right evaluative research approach, it’s imperative to know your research goals and objectives. This can help you choose an approach that takes into account the current stage of your product development cycle. 

    Talk to our user experience consulting team on how you can explore and choose the right research method and process better.

    Conclusion

    Evaluative research should always be a core part of any iterative design process. It ensures that the user experience is shaped and continually refined to truly meet customer needs and expectations.

    Remember that the goal of the evaluative research is to iteratively test an existing solution to an existing problem to determine if it meets users’ needs, and is easy to use and access.

    As such, evaluative research should only be deployed when one understands the problems they are trying to address, when they strive to get the best implementation, or when they want to create a particular user experience.