Research methods

Handy list of different UX research methods that can be used for diverging or converging tasks.

Choosing the right method

The right research method can be determined after identifying factors like:

  • What Mode the project is in?
    • Diverging: Exploring an opportunity or a problem, or brainstorming new ideas
    • Converging: Synthesising lots of data into insights or a project brief, or focusing in on a single solution
  • What Outputs are need?
    • More questions? More insights?
    • Prototype designs?
    • Identifying usability problems?

NOTE: Links to resources will be added soon.

MethodDescriptionBest forInputsOutputsMode
Competitor reviewReview competitor’s sites or products against different criteriaUnderstand and learn from the user experience of a competitorCriteria to review againstRecommendations for things to avoid and things to doDiverging
InterviewsFace to face meeting with an individual or group where you ask a set list of questionsMore in depth user research, takes more time but produces better insightsOpen ended interview questionsInsights about attitudes and past behaviourDiverging
Contextual inquiryLike an interview, but conducted in the participant’s everyday environmentGreat for understanding how a person’s context influences how they use a site or productOpen ended interview questionsInsights about how environment affects people’s behaviourDiverging
ObservationsWatch people interact with a particular exhibition or interactiveLearn about real, unpromted behaviorObservation recording templateInsights about existing user behaviourDiverging
Co-design workshopUsers, as ‘experts’ of their own experience, play an active role and become central to the design process.Idea generation and immediate validationWorkshop agendaFresh ideas, greater understanding of audienceDiverging
SurveyUsually done online, participants answer specific questions.Gathering quantitative dataSurvey questionsQuantitative dataBoth
Visitor interceptsQuick 5-10 minute interviews with visitors in the museum.When you don’t have much time and need to validate/test an idea, we use this method the most at Te PapaIntercept script including questionsVisitors attitudes and perceptionsConverging
Card sortingParticipants sort cards that represent content into the groups that make sense for themYou want to find out how people think your content is related. This is mostly used for designing or testing the Information Architecture of a site, however this method can be used for testing other perceptions.Set of cards, categories (optional)Content groupingsConverging
Facilitated user testingRecruit participants to attempt tasks on a prototype or live site with a facilitator and notetakerUse this to test for usability issuesPrototype, test scriptTest findings and recommended improvementsConverging
Remote user testingSet up tasks for participants to complete on your website and have them complete the testWhen you want to find usability issues but don’t have the time to facilitateTasks for participants to complete, prototype or live siteTest videosConverging
HeatmapFind out where people are clicking on your website or interactiveFinding out what the most important elements are on a pageLive websiteScreenshot of website pages with overlays showing click frequencyConverging
AnalyticsCollect data on what people do on your website or interactiveFinding out what people are doing on your siteSet up and customise analyticsDataConverging