User Research

Appear in the early design process.

Not always full fledged process is deployed obviously – depend on the focus of the project, on its complexity and on its budget.



Focus on:

User research main focus is on:

  • user behaviors
  • user needs
  • motivations


Why you need it

To deliver a service that meets your users’ needs, you have to understand:

  • who your likely users are
  • what they’re trying to do
  • how they’re trying to do it now
  • how their life or work influences what they do and how
  • how they use and experience existing services



They said

Mike Kuniaysky defines it as : “the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience.”


Usability answers the question, “Can the user accomplish their goal? – Joyce Lee, Human Factors Design at Apple


If a picture is worth 1000 words, a prototype is worth 1000 meetings. – Tom & David Kelley, Creative Brothers at IDEO


Most business models have focused on self interest instead of user experience. – Tim Cook, CEO at Apple


Find what works, not what’s popular, UK Gov Guidelines


Methods & tools used :


  • Card Sorting
  • Contextual Interviews
  • First Click Testing
  • Focus Groups
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Individual Interviews
  • Parallel Design
  • Personas
  • Prototyping
  • Surveys
  • System Usability Scale (SUS)
  • Task Analysis
  • Usability Testing
  • Use Cases

That’s a lot of methods. Here is a diagram to know which one should be used where :


Attitude vs Behaviour is “what people say” versus “what people do”

Card sorting help understand how users think about information, which then can help building a more adapeted information architecture for the product, application, or website.

Surveys may help collect data which can help discover issues to address.

Focus groups are not very much useful for usability purposes, but is very suited for branding conversation or product concept in a group setting.


Like all research process – data is can be about quantities and can be about qualities:

Quantitative research : “how many people clicked here” or “what percentage of users are able to find the call to action?” or what is happening on a site or in an app.

Qualitative research : Stuff like : “why didn’t people see the call to action” and “what else did people notice on the page?” – Goal is to understand users motivations – why people do the things they do, and often takes the form of interviews or conversations.





User Research Basics

When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods

Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research


Books :

The User Experience Team of One (Leah Buley)

The Essentials of Interaction Design (Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and Dave Cronin)