Top 20 UX Research Methods for Understanding Your Voice of Customer (VOC)
Usability Testing or an Intercept Survey? Focus Groups or an Online Diary Study? Determining which research method, or combination of methods, to use for your next study should not be like grabbing a name out of a hat, but rather like fitting together the right puzzle pieces to create the complete picture.
Often times our clients rely on us to help them choose the appropriate research methodology based on their team’s goals and objectives. Choosing the right methodology or combination of methodologies should start with a conversation.
- What does the team want to learn?
- What does the team already know?
- How will the research be used?
Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone
Be open-minded. Get Advice.
Too often we have heard stories about teams who come in with their mind set on a specific research methodology, only to find that the method does not (or cannot) deliver the findings they need to meet their research objectives.
We help our clients avoid making the mistake of simply using the methodology that is top of mind (“That last usability study we did was great, let’s do that again!” or “I read about eye tracking in a magazine, let’s try it!”) by thinking deeply about their research objectives and considering the benefits and drawbacks of various research methodologies.
For more complex studies, our solution is typically a multi-method approach or “cocktail” of research methodologies.
Why does eVOC categorize methodologies by web-based and lab-based instead of qualitative and quantitative?
Consider each method’s use case.
At eVOC, we classify UX research methodologies in terms of the research setting, either web-based or lab-based, rather than under the more marketing-centric, qualitative and quantitative categories, which can be more difficult to interpret. Within the web-based and lab-based categories, a single methodology can sometimes be both qualitative and quantitative. For example, Remote Usability Studies and Website Evaluations are web-based methods but can be used to collect both qualitative and quantitative responses. As a result, these more general web-based / lab-based categories enable us to take a broader interpretation of the methodologies in order to find the one that best meets the needs of the client.
What are the characteristics of each category of research methods?
A basic understanding of what each category of methods offers is a good starting point when considering your options.
Web-based and lab-based methodologies each have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Web-based testing is more often quantitative, as it can take place on a larger scale and allows for deeper analysis and statistical testing, which results in actionable recommendations and projections. Web-based testing also has the advantage of keeping the user in their natural setting where they would normally browse the Web, which prevents any bias from being in front of a moderator or peer group. The most common examples of web-based testing methods include:
- Intercept Surveys
- Online Diaries
- Website Evaluation
On the other hand, lab-based methods are typically qualitative in nature and involve moderator-led sessions where users interact with the site and are probed on their thoughts and reactions. These methods can be used to showcase the user’s physical and emotional reactions to the site experience and more deeply understand the user journey by probing into issues discovered during testing. When conducting lab-based testing, researchers most often perform:
- Usability Testing
- In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)
- Prototype Testing
In addition to web-based and lab-based testing, eVOC also provides UX consulting services as another option for enhancing your company’s digital strategy. Options like Expert Reviews and Digital Ethnography can be used to gain insight into what customers really want in order to ensure that your website is providing the best overall customer experience.
For an easy to reference booklet of UX research methodologies, you can download our free white paper to read about the Top 20 UX Research Methods and how they can be used to gather insights about your customers.