You need to identify the problem with methods and tools, and you need to formulate a problem statement. Why? You give a straightforward description of the problem in the problem statement in order to ensure the focus of the project, to make clear what needs to be done in the discovery phase and what is out of scope. In terms of tools, these are mostly templates, diagrams, charts, collaboration or workshop tools.
In problem framing, you explain and describe the context of the problem to gain the most support from the stakeholders of the project. You could follow the logic of defining the ideal situation first and describing the gaps. This leads to the consequences of the problem. Finally, you can propose how to address the problem.
Techniques and tools supporting to understand problems and help this process are Five Whys, Fishbone Diagrams (Miro, Conceptboard, Figma, Mural)and problem visualization exercises, flowcharts, pseudocode, and Nassi-Shneiderman diagrams, which are used specifically with structured programs.
You should give a memorable, even funny name to the problem as a common reference that is easy to remember.
I indicate whether the method is qualitative or quantitative. Within UX research, the role of the qualitative methods is strengthening recently.
I would like to highlight some tools that can be used in several parts of the research phase. Without exclusivity of course, just as an example.
Is about researching the users directly.
There are always two types of cases depending on the context.
1) Unknowns should be recruited. The easiest is to post on social media platforms: Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit, Craigslist, Ethnio. If you have a separate, substantial budget for this, or it is justified by any professional or other consideration, you can work with a recruitment agency (eg. Respondent.io) or panel company. Some tools developed for user testing may also be considered.
2) Recruitment from a familiar set of users is sufficient. You need access to a user database of existing products or participants must be recruited within the company. You can also involve friends and family.
It is a qualitative method.
User Interviews, PingPong, Lookback, Userzoom, dscout, Calendly, Airtable, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, U Meeting, BigBlueButton, BlueJeans Meetings, Lifesize, Skype, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex Meetings, Livestorm
You can find user interview templates at eg. whiteboard tools and other sources.
It is a qualitative method. Here, tools appear for group recruitment, audio/video capture and transcript, and templates used for alternative methods to Q&A. But the focus is much more on good methodology, good moderator and good observers.
The observer(s)’ notes should include interesting quotes; key points and themes from any exercise or question; follow up questions, ideas and insights “light bulb moments”; anything else significant (body language, passion/anger etc.).
The end result of the analysis is a report containing key findings. To help you write, process the reactions based on the following keywords: words, context, consistency, frequency of participation, intensity, specificity.
Q and A is the most common format for focus groups. Variety could require alternatives, however, eg.: making choices from lists of alternatives; list-making; fill in the blank exercises; fantasy/daydream exercises; picture drawing; role-playing; card sorting. These could be supported by templates/tools.
It is a qualitative method. Maze, Loop11, Userlytics, PingPong, What users do, Usertest.io, MechanicalTurk, UsabilityHUB, Koncept, FitNesse, Bugwolf, Zoom, Google Meet, Google Hangouts, Morae, Hotjar Session Recording
A/B testing (5):
Tree test (7)
The most affordable digital version is folder clicking. In a File manager (e.g. Windows Explorer), you create the tree of folders and observe the users on which path they click through it.
Another alternative is that some web editors allow the creation of interactive site maps, while some HTML prototypes use tree widgets.
It is a qualitative method. Awario, Brand24, Brandwatch Consumer Research, BrandMentions, Zignal, Sprout Social, Talkwalker, Sprinklr, Keyhole, Socialbakers, Falcon, Agora Pulse, YouScan, Digimind, Buzzsumo, Hootsuite Insights, Meltwater, NetBase, Synthesio, Cyfe, Mention, Reputology, ReviewInc, 76Insights
It is a quantitative method. SurveyMonkey, Typeform, Usabilla, Google Forms, Hotjar Incoming Feedback, Hotjar Surveys, HubSpot, Jotform, ProProfs Survey Maker, Qualtrics, Question Pro, Refiner, SoGoSurwey, SurveyLegend, SurveySparrow, Zoho Survey, SurveyAnyplace, QuestionPro, Teamscope. Click for more.
It can be both, qualitative and quantitative.
The desk research covers the best practices, the competitor analysis, and the trend study. The source of secondary information could be various: company’s internal data, public data from the internet, statistics, market research, reports, app stores etc.
The qualitative part. In desk research, you analyze the existing products: competitors or even very different ones but with relevant solutions. Products can vary from very specific to generic depending on the scope. You acquire the internal knowledge of the company. Most likely you find product proposals, controlling data on clients, customer centre reports, data on previous A/B tests, design iterations, flow diagrams, presentations supporting your understanding.
You look at previous research to check whether your topic was already considered in a still relevant way: eg. old studies made in a different culture are useless.
Focus on the context of the product: the users, their goals and the environment where the action occurs. You can go for findings or test your hypothesis, at this stage you are not focusing on the solution yet, but you should take notes of your ideas for the later stage.
Not speaking about statistical tools now, the main question here is how to process, synthesize, and present the findings. For example, screenshots can be collected in all collaborative whiteboard tools (Miro, Mural, Conceptboard, Figjam (Figma), InvisonAppFreehand), and the well-known Office applications are perfect for spreadsheets and graphs, if not, you can move forward to dataviz. On-the-fly ideas can be put on sticky notes again on a whiteboard, etc.
The quantitative part of that. Technically, I just put it here, but analytical tools come into play both in the UX research phase and when testing the finished hi-fi prototype.
Each type of heatmap helps you investigate a slightly different aspect of your website performance: scroll heatmaps, click/touch heatmaps, move heatmaps. There are industry-specific heatmap tools, but these are general ones.
On top of classical charts, a small visual solution for a possible display of results.