A focus group involves encouraging an invited group of intended or actual users of a site or digital service (i.e. participants) to share their thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and ideas on a certain subject
Focus groups are most often used as an input to design. They generally produce non-statistical data and are a good means of getting information about a domain
Usability testing can be used as an input to design or at the end of a project. It's an excellent way to uncover key usability and digital accessibility issues with a site or digital prototype
Usability testing can be used to generate non-statistical or statistical data.
Card sorting is a method for suggesting intuitive structures/categories. A participant is presented with an unsorted pack of index cards. Each card has a statement written on it that relates to a page of the site
Card sorting is usually used as an input to design. It's an excellent way of suggesting good categories for a site's content and deriving its website information architecture. Card sorting can be used generate statistical data
Participatory design is usually used within a mini-project to generate prototypes that feed into an overall project's design process. An example would be a participatory design workshop in which developers, designers, and users work together to design an initial prototype. This initial digital prototyping would then feed into a more traditional design process.
A questionnaire or quantitative survey is a type of user research that asks users for their responses to a pre-defined set of questions and are a good way of generating statistical data.
Questionnaires are usually employed when a design team: Can only gain remote access to users of a site Is seeking a larger sample size than can be achieved through direct contact That's why questionnaires are usually sent through the post or through digital channels like email.
An interview usually involves one interviewer speaking to one participant at a time. The advantages of an interview are that a participant's unique point of view can be explored in detail. It is also the case that any misunderstandings between the interviewer and the participant are likely to be quickly identified and addressed. The output of an interview is almost exclusively non-statistical. It's critical that reports of interviews are carefully analysed by experienced practitioners.
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