UX Research

Qualitative vs Quantitative UX Research—What’s the Difference?

The idea of user-centric products has gained a lot of mileage in recent times. Companies are placing their users at the forefront of their design decisions. But the real important thing to understand in this is What the user wants?

The best way to ensure a users’ needs and wants from the product is to conduct user research, but most methods fit into one of the two categories: qualitative and quantitative user research.

Let’s focus on the differences between these research methods and how to use each type.

Quantitative vs Qualitative UX research

Quantitative research yields you the numerical data which tells you exactly of your users’ needs offering valuable insights that can guide your design process to incredible outcomes. These data are almost numerical and focus on the statistical, computational and mathematical analysis of data, in short producing results that are quantifiable.

In UX design, analytics are a huge source of studying your data and taking actions that are required. Page visits, bounce-rates, and conversion rates are all examples of quantitative data that can be gathered using analytics.

The objective nature of quantitative user research makes the data less vulnerable and less likely to have human biases that leads to well-defined success rates, a smaller number of errors, and quantifiable task completion times. Quantitative data is often simple to collect, quicker to analyse, and easy to present in the form of bar graphs, pe-charts which can be extrapolated for future improvements.

Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Qualitative user research is the process of collecting and analysing the non-numerical data in the form of comments, behaviour, interviews, motivations, opinions. Qualitative data gives an in-depth analysis of human behavioural patterns and often takes the form of user surveys, interviews, focus groups, heuristic analysis, observations, etc.

Qualitative research gives an in-depth analysis of the users’ product choices and aspirations. Obtaining this empathetic and emotionally-driven evidence may make it easier for stakeholders to invest in changes to the product.

When to conduct qualitative or quantitative user research

Qualitative user research can be conducted at any point in the design process, while the qualitative research is done either at the beginning or the end of the design process. The goals of quantitative research are summative and evaluate metrics on an existing product or site while qualitative user research is both formative and summative in nature and is used to inform the design decisions at any point in the design cycle to ensure that you are on the right track.

Qualitative research highlights the main design issues based on the feedback from the client in terms of opinions, questionnaires’, comments etc and helps in uncovering the possible solutions within the design process.

Qualitative and Quantitative user research methods have different goals but they are totally in sync with each other giving a more comprehensive view of the success of the product design.