User research is about the process of finding out information about the users (humans) of your system.
It needs to have a structured approach that you can use to measure and observe the processes.
There are two main areas of user research:
- Qualitative Research
- Quantitative Research
These types of user research can be observational where we observe what users are doing or where we listen to users opinions or answers.
This form of research involves carrying out interviews and usability testing to observe people.
The goal of qualitative research us to find out why users carry out certain tasks and their habits.
This form of research is more informal and unstructured.
Care must be taken that we do not impose out on conscious or unconscious bias when carrying out the research.
This research is more structured and involves collecting data through surveys and analysing data.
The key here is that the data collected must be measurable. We want to find out what users are doing.
Here we are testing out assumptions from the qualitative research.