This video discusses the importance of determining the right participants to include in your user experience research and ensuring that your participants represent your real or target users.
- In order to make sure you get the most out of your research, you have to have the right kinds and number of participants. Most importantly, the participants you include in your research must be a representative sample of your real or target users. If you are in the beginning stages of defining your target user and don't have validated personas, you can create what are called proto-personas. Proto-personas are essentially descriptions of assumptions that you can use as hypotheses in your research. You then craft your research around validating those assumptions and uncovering any other insights about your potential users.
If you already have personas created to describe the different user types, you'll need to find representatives of each of the different groups for your research. For instance, let's revisit the example of working on an expense tracking application for businesses. When you work on pieces of the app that will be used by one persona group, such as the review and approval system for managers, you'll want to include only people who would actually do that function. If you're investigating functionality that might be used by multiple types of users, like anyone who needs to upload receipts, you'll want to make sure you get users from each group involved.
The number of participants will vary greatly with the methodology. Qualitative methods like usability tests can be effective with just a few participants. There's a famous study that demonstrates you'll identify about 80% of usability issues after talking to just five people. When it comes to qualitative research, you aren't looking to determine how many people are experiencing an issue or predict trends. Rather, you're looking to uncover problems and insights. If even a few people share issues, goals, or motivations, it might be worth investigating further.
If you're unsure of the scale of the project and need more information, consider following up with a quantitative method. To that end, quantitative methods often require many more respondents because you're measuring numerical data, and you'll need to get many pieces of data to get to statistical significance. Many user experience methods won't require statistical significance but you may want to insure significance in very large scale quantitative studies. If so, there are several online calculators that can help you determine the necessary number of participants.
My go to is Jeff Sauro's series of calculators at measuringu.com. In many cases, you won't have time or a budget to reach that many respondents, but at least knowing the target can help you plan.
This course introduces the fundamentals of user experience research so that anyone can understand the benefits and start integrating research into their everyday design and development process. Start watching to learn how to use UX research to find the answers to the most basic questions about your customers—who, what, when, why, and how—and drive better user experiences and business outcomes.
- An overview of research methods, including usability testing, interviewing, eye tracking, surveys, and many more
- A review of the main types of research, including quantitative and qualitative, behavioral and attitudinal, and moderated vs. unmoderated
- Determining the right methodologies based on organizational environment, client type, and project stage
- Targeting the right research participants
- Crafting the right questions in the right way
- Analyzing and presenting your data