There is a lot of different user experience research methods that can be used to collect data throughout a study. With so many different varieties it can sometimes be overwhelming to keep everything organized and in control. Luckily with UX research being a popular practice with web based technologies these days, there is a wide variety of digital applications and resources that have been created to help make your life as a UX researcher a whole lot easier. I decided to create a list of some of my favorites that can easily be used by students, faculty, or even tech professionals looking for new resources for future research projects.
Optimal Workshop – This online application has multiple UX research tools to help improve the UX research process. You can use it for creating tree testing, card sorting, in depth surveys, first click testing, and much more. It also has a lot of teaching resources and demos to help navigate the application and setup your own research tests. It is free to use, but selecting a pay version plan does open up more options to use.
MindMeister – A online mind map creator that allows users to visualize, share and present their thoughts via the cloud. It is very simple to use with lots of written and video tutorials to help navigate the applications interface. The free plan allows you to create 3 mind maps and collaborate with team members. Even has mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.
Personapp – Free online application that helps to create user personas. It includes sections for behaviors, demographics, and needs/goals. It is a great tool for creating a basic persona that can easily be printed or shared via URL.
DIY Experience Mapping – This is a exercise for creating experience maps. On this web page it has a template that users can download to help create their own experience map for their study. It also has written and video instructions on how to create a experience map and how to use their free template to do it. This is a great resource for beginners.
Empathy Map Canvas – This is simply a template for creating a empathy map that can be downloaded for use. It lists the different sections and suggests what types of questions that should be answered to make the empathy map more effective. This template is also great for beginners to get a better understanding of question types researchers need to ask to find out about their users to enhance their research results.
Draw.io – Free in browser web tool that allows users to build and design diagrams and charts. You can easily save your creations to your device, OneDrive, or Google drive. It also has an offline mode that allows you to work on your diagrams (with some limitations). There is a wide variety of diagram/chart templates to select from. One of my favorite features of this application is the embed and save options you can choose from. You can easily transfer your creations into different Google applications such as Google Slides and Google Docs, or if you want to get the HTML or Iframe code for your website it will create it for you to copy.
6 thoughts on “EDTECH 537: Online Resources for UX Research Methods”
Jake, I suspect I’ll be challenged by this topic all semester, but is UX kind of like alpha and beta testing that we often see in the ID process – or is it something different altogether?
That is a good way to look at it as it does have a lot of similarities but it is different in other ways. I am not an expert of alpha/beta testing so I can’t go too in-depth in that, but with UX it has various research methods that can be used throughout different processes of a project. In other words it’s not necessarily limited to pre design prototype phase, nor the live finish project. I will say for your sake that understanding alpha/beta testing will make it easier to understand anything I post about UX research!
Jake, I’m wondering if one of the reasons the community is kind of focused in terms of itself membership and many folks outside really don’t know what it is, is because it is largely based on other tasks. For example, as I have read through all of your posts, to be it seems like it is part of the instructional design process (e.g., if we were to use the generic ADDIE paradigm, it does seem like something that falls under the design or implementation stages). You’ve also mentioned ethnography in another entry (or maybe it was a comment), and while I suspect that you may be using some ethnographic methods I do’t think UX has a lot to do with ethnography – as THE defining feature of ethnography is the desire to understand the context through the eyes of the insider (e.g., you studying what it hockey means to me as a Canadian or me studying what it means to you and how you understand being a student at BSU). In both of those examples, the researcher is an outsider to the context, but the goal is to understand how the insider to the context experiences the event, the situation, the context, the [insert whatever is being studied here]. One of the reasons ethnography is used quite a bit in anthropology is because anthropologists don’t want to learn about how Westerners understand some native tribe in the Amazon (i.e., the etic perspective). They want to understand how that Amazonian tribe understands their own world (i.e., the emic perspective).
I should clarify I mention ethnography because with some areas of ux research includes a high level of observational studies to help us to better understand the intended users perspective. So yes I should be saying ethnographic methods although a lot of my colleagues that are completely focused on ux research come from social science backgrounds and it is really interesting stuff to work with them.
Is there a video or more information on Personapp? Or do I need to create an account to learn more?
You will have to create an account to use it. The application is very simple and might be the most useful for beginners to understand basic creation of personas. Unfortunately I do not know of tutorial for using it, but like I said it is really simple to use. There is a help section that’s helpful for creating persona http://personapp.io/help/