Quantitative v/s Qualitative testing

User experience (abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. It’s about how users feel about a system by emphasizing on the ease of use, the perception of the value of the system, utility of the web product, its efficiency in performing tasks and so on. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software and, in modern contexts, is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI). User experience design also referred as UX, UXD, UED or XD is simply the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.

The human interfacing aspect of the web products and the user experience with the system started becoming a prominent concern for web designers in the 1990s. It was Donald Norman, a user experience architect, who coined the term “user experience”, and brought it to a wider audience. The field of user experience design is a conceptual design discipline and has its roots in human factors and ergonomics, a field that, since the late 1940s, has focused on the interaction between human users, machines, and the contextual environments to design systems that address the user’s experience, however, compared to many other disciplines, particularly Web-Based systems, UX is a new field. User Centered design is now the most effective way of analyzing the utility of the web product because of the keen focus of the user-friendliness aspect of the product that now every designer has to keep in mind before getting initiating a new product.

With the new technical advancements, there has been sweeping changes in the pattern of usage of web products and only those products had consistently stood out which have kept user friendliness factor in mind and have been pleasant to use. The driving factor now to analyze what the demands of the users and also it’s important to take into account the different accessibility of the product as nowadays users access any kind of web products in increasing number of ways such as mobile devises, different browsers and different types if Internet connections and there needs to be proper research work which needs to be done.

The field of user experience has wide ranging research methods available and it ranges from tried and true methods to online assessments and many others. Qualitative and Quantitative research methods have been quite prevalent when it comes to user experience design research.

Qualitative UX Research is all about understanding the “why” behind the numbers. It basically seeks answers that are qualitative in nature generate data about behaviors or attitudes based on observing them directly, whereas in quantitative studies, the data about the behavior or attitudes in question are gathered indirectly, through a measurement or an instrument such as a survey or an analytics tool. The researcher directly observes how people use technology (or not) to meet their needs. This gives them the ability to ask questions, probe on behavior, or possibly even adjust the study protocol to better meet its objectives.

These are some qualitative techniques that are critical during formative testing early in the design process to gain understanding, but can also be helpful in the evaluation phase to unearth any new issues with a product design and few of them are given below

FIELD RESEARCH

The most valid, helpful data you can collect about your users is to observe and interview them in their home, work, and car or wherever they use your product. This technique is also referred to as in-context research or ethnography. In-context observation consistently yields surprising and exciting insights that can turn a good product into the next great trend.

EXPERT REVIEW

A usability review is a fast, inexpensive way to identify user experience issues that will decrease your users’ ability to use, benefit from and enjoy your product. This is a technique we commonly use with our start-up and small business clients who need a fast, inexpensive solution.

JOURNAL STUDIES

Journal or video diary studies are the next best thing to being there with your user. Users are asked to record their interactions, observations, and comments in real time as they use your product or perform tasks of interest.

FOCUS STUDIES

Traditionally a market research technique, focus groups can also be incredibly helpful tool for gaining insight about user’s reactions to new or existing products. By understanding confusions, misunderstandings and any pre-conceived ideas users have about your product, the product design, marketing, and branding can react accordingly.

CARD SORTING

Card sorting is the most popular form of cognitive modeling methodologies which are concerned with understanding how users think about information. Card sorting data is most commonly used to help build an intuitive information architecture or to organize long lists of information on a page or in a navigation system.

TASL ANALYSIS

Understanding the tasks users must perform and the situation in which the tasks are performed is crucial when specifying a product’s features and creating its design. Task analysis should be based on interviews with end users and observations of users performing their work in context. The final analysis lists each task the product will support, the associated steps needed for task completion, step inputs and outputs, and the surrounding context in which the task is performed.
 
 USER SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT

User scenarios are a powerful tool for transforming the understanding gained from user research into actionable product requirements. Our favorite formats for scenarios it to create very short story lines that include a Stakeholder (user type) in a Situation (context) who has a Need. Once all the needs are known, a method for addressing them can be determined in the innovation and requirements phases.

PERSONA DEVELOPMENT

Personas are descriptions of target user groups. Once user groups are determined through user and market research, a persona is created for each group. A persona captures the essence of the user group by describing a single, typical user from the group. A well written persona allows the product team to clearly identify with the user and his or her goals. This identification inspires innovation and an insightful product design.

Quantitative UX Research techniques are indicated when larger sample sizes are needed to ensure research findings are statistically valid or when it’s important to be able to quantify research findings. By contrast, insights in quantitative methods are typically derived from mathematical analysis, since the instrument of data collection (e.g., survey tool or web-server log) captures such large amounts of data that are easily coded numerically.
 These are some methods can help gauge the prevalence of issues or opinions and to recommend a final course of action.

ONLINE USABILITY TEST

When you need larger sample sizes in a hurry, online usability testing is a great technique. Users feel like they are taking an online survey, but rather than just answering questions, they are taken to a website and asked to perform a short set of tasks. Screen activity, time on task, click streams, and satisfaction ratings are captured as they work.

ONLINE SURVEYS

Online surveys are a great budget-sensitive user research tool. They can collect large sample sizes in a relatively short amount of time. Even better, high level statistical analyses are available immediately. Online surveys are best used when coupled with a qualitative technique which can help explain the “why” behind the numbers.

Before discussing on which is the best research method for user experience design, we need to keep in mind that research has two parts: gathering data, and synthesizing that data in order to improve usability. At the start of the project, design research is focused on learning about project requirements from stakeholders, and learning about the needs and goals of the end users. Researchers will conduct interviews, collect surveys, observe prospects or current users, and review existing literature, data, or analysis. Due to the nature of their differences, qualitative methods are much better suited for answering questions about why or how to fix a problem, whereas quantitative methods do a much better job answering how many and how much types of questions. Having such numbers helps prioritize resources, for example to focus on issues with the biggest impact.

Quantitative research is any research that can be measured numerically. It answers questions such as “how many people clicked here” or “what percentage of users is able to find the call to action?” It’s valuable in understanding statistical likelihoods and what is happening on a site or in an app and Qualitative research is sometimes called “soft” research. It helps us understand why people do the things they do, and often takes the form of interviews or conversations.

UX research — or as it’s sometimes called, design research — serves many purposes throughout the design process. It helps us identify and prove or disprove our assumptions, find commonalities across our target audience members, and recognize their needs, goals, and mental models. Overall, research informs our work, improves our understanding, and validates our decisions and therefore we need to improvise a way of using both the approaches and develop a multiple approach of researching user experience.