Introduction to UX Research | Tiffany Eaton | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. 1. What is UX Research and Why Is It Important

    • 3. 2. Primary Research

    • 4. 3. Secondary Research and Which Research to Conduct?

    • 5. 4. Quantitative and Qualitative Data

    • 6. 5. Research Necessities Before Conducting a Study

    • 7. 6. Synthesizing Insights and Gathering Opportunities

    • 8. Wrap Up and Thank You!

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About This Class

My name is Tiffany Eaton and I am a designer and freelance writer. I am extremely passionate about the role UX research plays in the design process. Research is what allows us to understand people and learn new things which can lead to profound products. It’s what make most design different because it allows deeper connections with our customers and strengthens connection when working cross functionally with people in an organization. 

From what I’ve seen working in the design industry, UX research is underrated as the focus is on producing the outcome. Sometimes, designers don’t even consider UX research as a significant part in their own process, instead choosing to focus on technical skills. 

In UX design, research is a fundamental part in solving relevant problems and/or narrowing down to the “right” problem users face. A designer’s job is to understand their users, which means going beyond their initial assumptions to put themselves in another persons shoes in order to create products that respond to a human need. I am here to introduce the importance of UX research and how to conduct basic research for students just starting to learn about the basic fundamentals of UX research and people who are curious to learn more. 

Students will learn the basic types of UX research and will learn best practices behind understanding how to conduct usability studies. Resources are provided to start drafting out an usability outline that they will be able to apply to all kinds of research. 

Please share with my course for anyone who wants to know about UX research by sending them this link:

If you want read my experience behind making this class, check it out on Medium:

For additional information on my experience regarding research, I have existing articles on Medium you can check out: 

Other resources (I will add on to this as I find them):

Meet Your Teacher

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Tiffany Eaton

Designer, Writer, Matcha Lover


Hello! I'm a UX designer who strives to enlighten and inspire users with memorable, useful and beautiful experiences that drive social change and bridge community. 

I'm currently working on Rich Business Messaging at Google. In my spare time, I write my thoughts on Medium and mentor designers. 


My websites:


See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello, everyone. My name is Tiffany, and I'm 1/4 year interaction design studio at California College of the Arts. I've had a wide range of internship experience, designing business, Teoh, consumer based products. And I also keep a medium blood where I write weekly about my experiences in hopes of being able Teoh share my learnings and insights with people in the design community. Today, I'm going to be teaching the basics of you X research and wide so reported in the design process. Often times you X research gets overlooked, in which we focus a lot on the outcome of something. But in reality we need user research. A orderto make sure we understand a problem as well as who were designing for today. I'm going to be introducing basic research methods as well as best practices in conducting usability studies. I'm going to be giving you a walk through process of how to a test guide in which you will be able to apply Teoh different kinds of usability tests that you might be encountering. But that being said, let's get started. Shall we 2. 1. What is UX Research and Why Is It Important: today, I'm going to be explaining what you X researches and why's it imported in UX design? UX research is crucial. It influences the outcome of a solution and how people will eventually interact with it. It also helps us develop skills in which good UX designers need as a result of becoming a good researcher, you will learn to develop better listing skills, empathy for your users, quick decision making, identifying patterns to solve broad problems, collaboration across different people and observation skills to identify problems quickly. The definition is simple. UX research is a compilation of different activities that result in creating products or services that respond to human needs. Design research allows us to define and solve problems When we designed successful products for people, they solve a major need or fulfill ical as well as solving the problem. Design research helps us make sure we're solving the right problem in the design process. We try to understand the problem in a very broad space, and once we gain and synthesize that information, we can then narrow down on a problem. We want to solve and start building and testing it with people understand context, design, research allows us to understand complex human behavior by getting to the root of a problem by understanding a user's needs, wants and goals. Identifying touch points of the interactions between a user and a business are important to gain context behind the relationship. We can do this by simply talking to people or through ethnographic studies, make sense of data. The data we collect through design research allows us to make decisions by evaluating and prioritizing them, using a process called synthesis. These tools include mental models, affinity maps just to name a few, which help us understand the connections between the problem and what a user really needs. With design research, we can get to the root problem instead of simply addressing the surface of it translate insights into progress. The insights we gather as a result of understanding and applying that data into useful applications will allow us to create products that are relevant and accessible for users and the people we work with. This could be with stakeholders, product managers or other designers on a team. The insights from research are useful in every part of the process, whether it's validating customer stories with product manager or fixing a future in a design. And last but not least, UX research inspires. Our research has the power to create useful and meaningful experiences that can solve a variety of problems, and you can apply design research to almost anything. Knowing good UX research practices will allow you to freely explore and make something new . It will provide you with the tools needed to approach and solve problems in the design industry without guidance in the next lesson will be going over basic research frameworks every designer should know and can use right away when conducting research. 3. 2. Primary Research : in this lesson, I will be explaining primary research and how to ask good interview questions when we start research to understand a problem. Ah, question you might have is what kind of research should I conduct? The kinds of research designers typically start with is primary and or a secondary research . Primary research involves interviews with individuals or through small groups, surveys or questionnaires with primary research, the kinds of research you do, our exploratory or specific. This means talking to people face to face, whether through phone, webcam or in person to gain relevant information for a specific problem they might have The questions you ask will be open ended or will be based on observing them to do tasks you provide or observing them in their daily life. Open ended question can be something like directing a person to do a task in order to understand how they navigate through something. For example, in a study I conducted about understanding the usability of the SF Gates event page, I ask questions such as if you wanted to compare the prices off concerts without making new tabs, how would you do that? And how would you find a food event using the categories option and how well did the website meet your needs? Notice. These kinds of questions are not leading the user to answer in a biased way, but allowing them to give their own opinion about the page and setting the context so that they stay on topic on the opposite spectrum or a leading questions. Leading questions can elicit a certain response from the user and can affect validity of the study. These questions could be something like this website interface sucked, right? Or don't you think the events carousel needs to be fixed instead of preventing people from sharing their honest opinions and assuming what they think framed questions as openly as possible? So instead of asking those questions, ask something along the lines of What did you think of the events carousel when navigating through a website? And what do you do when you want to find something to do nearby? When interviewing the amount of people you interact with can be used to measure impact and written and verbal reactions can give you a sense of how someone feels about something but just a consideration. With primary research, you need to plan accordingly. This means setting time for recruiting relevant people coming up with questions and gathering materials. It can take lots of time to conduct primary research, but the results are worth it because you are interviewing Riel people who could have really impact on your solution. 4. 3. Secondary Research and Which Research to Conduct? : in this lesson, I will be explaining secondary research and what kind of research to conduct secondary research is using existing data, such as Internet books or articles to support your design choices and the context behind your design. Secondary research is also used as a way to further validate user insights from primary research and create a stronger case for overall design. Typically, secondary research is already summarised insights of existing research. What I like about secondary research is that it allows you to have a basic understanding of the problem space, and you can easily cross reference information which can lead toe finding different insights when talking to people and covering different scopes of the problem. Secondary research is typically faster than conducting primary research. This is because you are gathering existing data, which can be gathered very quickly, whether online or in a library. So what kind of research should you conduct? If you have a specific well scope problem, primary research will be the best option to get specific information, but it might be time consuming and cost money. If you want toe recruit people compared to secondary research. What I do for almost any problem is first conduct secondary research to get a general idea of what is out there regarding the problem and then conducting primary research to the test and gain relevant insights from real people who would potentially be using my product. That way, I'm getting real time feedback that is very useful and can accurately measure live impact. I hope this lesson gives you an idea of what the basic kinds of research you can do for creating test plan. The first thing to do is come up with objective for your research and decide which basic method you want to start with. In the next lesson, we will be going over data you get from primary and secondary research in more detail. 5. 4. Quantitative and Qualitative Data: in this lesson, I will be explaining quantitative and qualitative data in design research. It is very important to understand how to organize the data you gather and how it will influence your design. Moving forward, I will be breaking down the research methods in the previous lesson into the types of data you can collect. These types of data are quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative data is what designers typically gather once they have a better understanding of the problem they're trying to solve. This is by talking to people through interviews and asking open questions with why or how which can help us understand their behaviors, whether it's what they do, how they use things or their underlying needs in which we look under the surface of what they say. The results from qualitative data are filled with rich insights of a person's feelings and thoughts. It can take many forms, such as notes, drawings or even artifacts collected. This data is great for a developing empathy and telling compelling stories which green ideas toe life Quantitative data is concrete numbers in fax. The result of getting this data is more rigid, and unless you are you X researcher. UX designers typically don't conduct quantitative studies. The quantitative data I typically collect would be through secondary research to validate my findings or to set context for a problem. Example of gathering data is through surveys. Surveys often have a predetermined set of questions asking the amount of something such as rating a product on a net promoter score of 1 to 5. While qualitative data is typically gathered on site, quantitative data is gathered remotely and requires Ah, larger data set. Teoh have accurate results, though the data is accurate. The downside of quantitative data is that it could be wrongly interpreted because of lack of context. This is why it is important to balance both qualitative and quantitative data to tell a compelling story behind the research. Which can we toe Richard context and understanding across different parts of organization. The difference between qualitative data and quantitative data is that quantitative data is based on numbers and very specific set of metrics used to define the success of the product . The designer or researcher knows exactly what they were looking for. Qualitative data is more subjective and is based on our understanding of people's reactions and using that instead of numbers as a metric of success, we go into this research not knowing exactly what we're looking for, but we try to listen and understand the results we gain are unbiased and are up to our interpretation. Though businesses may prefer numbers for easier readability, insights that we gain from people are harder to prove wrong and can result in more meaningful conversations. Ideas can be kept alive as a result of being the best advocate for our users and proving hard data rollem. And so for the project. Adding to the test plan, you want to map out the kind of data you want to collect and the tools you will use to collect that data. In the next lesson, we will go over basic research tips when conducting a usability study, which will work in conjunction with the test plan I provided in the project section 6. 5. Research Necessities Before Conducting a Study: in this lesson, I will be going over research necessities to make sure you conduct your research s movie as possible. Here are a few basic tips you should consider doing to help get you started. Think about the people you interview. Making your users comfortable is your number one priority. This means being very clear with your intent and what you want them to do. Understanding in the context of your research and what you want to get out of it. Make sure to get people's consent. If you plan on recording the research session and introduced people toe every part of your research to prepare them for what to expect. Be clear with them that there are no right around answers. And if they don't want to continue the research for any reason stock, it is essential to take care of your users and to make them feel as comfortable as possible . This means being patient with them and clarifying. If they have any questions, remove unconscious bias. Don't assume what people are thinking before you go into the research. By creating an open environment for your participants, you're also keeping an open mind, leading questions and assumptions won't produce unfiltered responses from people and can be detrimental to the outcome of your solution. It is important for you, the designer, to keep open mind and at the same time deeply listen and observe people's behaviors in order to understand them. Create a test plan. Often times we do research with little preparation, and it causes a lot of gaps in our understanding of the problem and empathy for our users. A test plan is important because it keeps track of the information we gained to define the success and outcome of our solution. It incorporates intentionality that we can prioritise the direction of our design, and it addresses questions we might not have thought about before. Come up with a goal for your research, how many people you plan on talking to the tools you need and the finding the success of what kinds of insights you want to gather. Using the information in previous lessons. Pilot test Before conducting any research, it is important to get feedback from designers and tested with people so that during the actual study they will run as smoothly as possible. Ah, pilot test can help you troubleshoot any problems you might encounter and things such as determining if your study is to on or too short. If your questions have any jarring inconsistencies with your goal, or if you need to revise your questions to summarize, Here is what you should think about when creating your test plan. Prime your users before asking your participants questions. Make sure to tell them what they will be expecting so that they can think through their thoughts. This means reassuring them that there are no wrong or right answers and asking for their consent. If you need to record their responses, ask open questions. This means asking questions that are based on the context of your research and allow someone to answer freely without leading them on or closing the conversation. We want our participants to develop their own opinions. Here's example. A leading question might be Do you drive to work and open question would be something like , How do you get to work? The goal of asking open questions is to learn something new, though interviews air great for validating our assumptions. Our job is to define unmet problems to help our participants with their needs. This is what results in useful new and meaningful solutions is not about having a specific outcome in mind because you aren't designing for yourself. Test your research before we longin to prevent mishaps from happening in the actual study, which can result in waste the time for both parties those air some of the basic tips on how to prop yourself for conducting a usability study. In the next lesson, I will be going over tips on how to start synthesizing insides you gain from interviews. 7. 6. Synthesizing Insights and Gathering Opportunities: Today, I am going to be teaching the basic methods of synthesizing information. Let's say you have three interviews and you don't know how to prioritize the users, pain points or big needs. The first method help you understand patterns within interviews is affinity mapping, affinity mapping is noticing similarities or trends with data. This could be finding similarities between what people said, where the data came from, and so on. If you were going over a prototype, and the impression you get from everyone is that your prototype addresses X need. Take those bits of data and write down the big idea or quote on a sticky note. The goal with affinity mapping is to have tangible data to move, group and organize qualitative and quantitative data. Things to take note of include quotes. Users can say things which can be used to understand the root problem observations, users say, Or do anything that made you say, uh huh, these moments can we to deeper insights statistics. This could be based on secondary research to validate the problem or user insights. After writing your insights onto movable data chunks, it's time to organize and sort, then make categories based on their connections. You see with the data, and don't be afraid to move sticky notes around. The key of affinity maps is to see trends and connect things together that you might not have seen before if you didn't have all the data in front of you. Once you sort your sticky notes, label them into categories or, even better, a sentence that describes what they mean. For example, let's say I have a chunk of sticky notes about a problem with dripping ice cream. A sentence that I can use to describe those sticky notes is people want to take their time enjoying ice cream in a cone, But it doesn't account for dripping, and this is based on the context and the similarities people experienced. When prioritizing insights, take your groups of insights and summarize them into opportunity statements. These can be framed using How might we? Stanford defines how my we's as short questions that launch brainstorms. They are our point of view of the problem, the best. How might we are brought enough that there are a wide range of solutions but are narrow enough that they have constraints For example, between the two narrow How might we create a cone to eat ice cream without dripping? And the two broad How might we redesign dessert might be properly scoped into How might we redesign ice cream to be more portable? So when synthesizing insights, here are some things to consider. Start with one idea, insight or comment. For sticky note. Start broad. Don't focus too much on one area, build on ideas and ask for input to get people's feedback on whether or not they see somewhere patterns and get them involved in a process. I hope this helps begin toe. Start seeing trends within the inside you gain from interviewing, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment in the discussion box. Pablo. 8. Wrap Up and Thank You!: Well, that's a wrap. The purpose of this course was to introduce you to the basic you X research methods and hopefully get you more excited about how you could incorporate UX research into your design process. I've provided a few resource is and tips on how to create your own usability outline in the project section, and hopefully you'll find those. Resource is helpful if you have any questions or need help on creating your research outline or if you have any questions about you. X research methods or usability in general, feel for you to comment in the discussion box. If you want to follow me for more u X research are UX design related content. Feel for you to follow me on medium where my user name is Tiffany eaten. I hope you guys enjoyed this lesson and please tell me what you think about it or if there's anything I need to add or improve on, or if you guys want me toe, continue teaching. Um, these kinds of things. Thank you. Bye.