Quantitative research methods are those that collect numerically measurable data. These methods allow UX professionals to discover broad patterns, compare different designs and their trade-offs, and tie their work back to company goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Compared to qualitative research, which we’ll cover in the next exercise, quantitative research generally provides high level data about a larger number of participants.
Some popular quantitative research methods include:
- Surveys or questionnaires: A broad range of users are sent the same set of questions to collect broad insights and trends about a given topic or market.
- Card sorting: Participants organize topics into groups to help uncover an information architecture that aligns with users’ mental models.
- Web analytics: Web analytics, including A/B testing and heat maps, are usually used in the later evaluative stages of user research but can also feed into discovery in an iterative design process.
Quantitative methods can be used at any stage of the design process, but are often used at the beginning and end, first to gain an understanding of the market or ecosystem, and later to evaluate the performance of a product or design.
Think about answers to the following questions to check your understanding of quantitative research.
Which stage of the design process are quantitative research methods considered best for?
Which quantitative method involves participants organizing topics into groups to help uncover users’ mental model around a topic?
Which quantitative method involves sending a broad range of users the same set of questions?