How to know your users? and understand what they want?

How to know your users? and understand what they want?

What is User Research?

A method to understand what your target user’s requirements are to understand their pain points and needs. User Researchers try to uncover the deep problems and opportunities to gather information for the design process.

User Research

User Research for Interaction Design

Getting to know your target users is a crucial part of the design process.
To gather necessary information in a structured method to understand the purpose and collect clear information.

Qualitative measures are taken to understand the motive and needs of the user and later testing the information gathered after interpretation with the help of quantitative measures.

Interaction Design

Qualitative Research

Interviews and ethnographic studies help us understand the reason behind certain user behaviours. Interviews are conducted with the help of open ended questions to gather insights. Methods like usability testing help simulate the situation to expose the problems faced. Qualitative Research is an opinionated mode of gathering the information which is non-numerical.

Quantitative Research

It’s a better structured method like conducting a survey to gather measurable data about what the user does and further testing out the assumptions collected from qualitative research.

The data collected from the surveys have a pattern of a certain group. The data and pattern would be more statistically reliable with larger groups.

There are 2 types of approaches to conduct the research

  1. Attitudinal – Listen to the users
  2. Behavioural – Observe the users

Combining both qualitative and quantitative with attitudinal and behavioral research gives the researcher the best insights for the design problem.

Types of Methods of User Research

  • Interviews
  • Field Study
  • Focus Group
  • Surveys
  • Card Sorting
  • Tree Testing
  • Usability Testing


One on one conversations with the user and asking them questions regarding the problem to gather information about the topic and analysing the answers further help in collecting insights and details about a certain user behaviour.


Field Studies

This type of research is conducted in the user’s environment to observe and understand the interaction of the user with the environment. It helps the researcher to analyse how the use completes the tasks and what are the constraints of the interaction.

Field Study

Focus Group

Studying a group of people performing the same task and formulating their opinions and feedback regarding the task which helps to gather quality inputs regarding the task performed. They would help with how to perceive the task, what are the other possible solutions or even point out hidden problems faced while completing the task.

Focus Group


Survey is a tool which helps in gathering data from a larger group of people with meaningful insights. The data collected can be both qualitative and quantitative depending on the group size and the type of questionnaire with open ended or close ended questions prepared for the survey.


Card Sorting

As the name suggests, card sorting is to organise cards that users prefer should be in the same category. This helps in building the information architecture and improving the overall user experience. Users generate new ideas and prompts by combining and categorising different types of topics which are open, closed ended and hybrid.

Card Sorting

Tree Testing

Tree testing helps in establishing the hierarchy of processing the information by the user. It helps in emphasizing how the user navigates through the assigned task and what sort of hierarchy of information would help them finish the task with ease.

Tree Testing

Usability Testing

Users try and test the complete process of the task assigned. Observing the users and documenting their interaction with the task helps the researcher understand if the task assigned is intuitive and easy to complete and also identify if any loopholes are present in the journey. However the users should be able to accomplish the task easily and realistic.

Usability Testing

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Written by
Sonali Borkar
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