7 UX Research: Attitude and Behavior

Imagine you want to start a business, selling barefoot shoes. You are not sure, what type of barefoot shoes people need the most, so you decide to ask them.

Qualitative Inquiry

You go to the park in the CBD during the lunch break and look for barefoot runners. You see one and stop him, his name is Josh, you have a chat with him. You just made your first step of the UX research in form of qualitative inquiry. Of course you asked open-ended questions in your semi-structured interviews, Questions like, ‘can you tell me about your favourite barefoot shoes and on what occasions you wear them’? ‘Can you tell me about this morning and how you decided what shoes to wear’? You can read in between the lines. This kind of inquiry can be labelled as attitudinal because you are trying to find out satisfaction and expectations of your customers by actually asking them.

Josh tells you about his trouble to dress this morning as he hates his narrow business shoes. The next person is Philip, same complaint, he does not have barefoot shoes he could wear with his suit, he cannot stand the high heel of his business shoes. Last person is Lucy, she is pretty happy with the range of barefoot shoes that are available for any occasion. … and now you have an idea that maybe you should make barefoot business shoes for men.

Customer Needs and Insights

In the next step you analyse in more detail what Josh and Philip said about the desired business shoes, look at your notes and write what your future customers want. They want leather business looking shoes. Josh likes the ones with the laces and Philip likes slip on shoes without laces. They both need brown and black colour to match with the different coulours of their suits. They both expressed they would like the classic look that does not age.

Quantitative Insights

Well, it is time to sit at your computer and look at what is available. Josh and Philip were right, there is nothing! So you sit at a drawing board and start thinking about how to make those. You made a prototype and you go back to the park to give your shoes to Josh and Philip. You are now going to switch to behavioral methods. You want to see how Philip and Josh use these shoes in their office environment. First, you see whether they wear them at all. Josh does often and Philip does not. You ask Philip why he doesn’t wear his. He thinks they are not business looking enough. Josh also wears them only every other day. Same reason, when he has a meeting, he prefers the look of non-barefoot shoes.

You tested your shoes and the users gave you a feedback. It is time to improve the look of the shoes so that they look more ‘businessy’. You started to think why they do not look like business shoes and realized the problem is in the heel. You make a fake heel and voila, your customers are happier.

Behavioral Data: What People Do?

UX research is generally divided in two major categories, behavioral and attitudinal. In behavioral, we do not ask direct questions, we rather observe how the users behave. Often the data come from analytics or surveys. In analytics we can measure for example task success rate, we define how the progress should look like and than measure number of attempts and learning of recurring users. We can measure time on task, the smaller time the user has to spend figuring out what to do the better ux design. Search vs navigation measures how many users use search and how many navigation, it allows us to reflect the result on our website, if the users prefer search, we make it more important and central. We can measure user error rate, looking at how many mistakes and which mistakes were made while using the product. A/B testing is standard test in UX trying to compare how random users use two different versions of the same product. Eyetracking is used for looking into where users focus on the website to design better user interface.

Attitudinal Data: What People Say?

Attitudinal data measure satisfaction or are asking about recommendations. These can have a form of surveys, interviews or focus groups. For example customer satisfaction score is a type of survey with unlimited number of questions. This survey can be very well customized however on the flip side, we have to think about who actually fills in lengthy survey, they are either loyal or very unhappy customers. Net promoter score measures loyalty based on one direct question about the likelihood of recommending the product to a friend/family (0-10). Star rating measures overall satisfaction without being concrete. Product description asks the user to describe a product with adjectives and explain why. There are many others but the idea is clear, asking users, in different forms serves different purposes. Depending on our research question, we have to determine what methods to choose.

Norman-Nielsen Group provides many valuable resources on UX research on their website in form of articles or videos. I highly recommend, This article is based on it.



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