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Practicing and Analyzing User Research

Persona Elements

The content and detail of a persona depend on the context of the project. Common persona elements include name, photograph, demographic information, goals, behaviors, mindsets, and a scenario.


Personas are fictional archetypes of the target users of a product or design, created as composites of user research or market research.

User Surveys

User surveys are a UX research method that designers and researchers create for a group of participants to answer about a topic or product. A user survey should include an introduction, survey questions, and a wrap-up.

Quantitative Data

Quantitative data is information that can be measured, counted, or viewed as a numerical value. Looking at data from quantitative research methods makes it easier to notice common trends or patterns among users.

Closed-Ended Questions

Closed-ended survey questions can be answered by yes or no, multiple choice, scales, or net promoter score questions. These questions provide quantitative data, allow researchers to compare responses across participants, and conduct quantitative analysis to identify patterns.

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended survey questions ask participants to write out their answers in the form of free responses. These questions generate qualitative data and are often used to get additional context about participant responses from closed-ended questions.

Biased Scales

Biased scales occur when an unequal amount of positive or negative responses are provided, forcing or tempting the participants to answer a particular way.

For example, in the question: “How likely are you to recommend our airline to a friend: 1 (Not at all likely), 2 (Not likely), 3 (Likely), 4 (Very likely), 5 (Extremely likely)?” the answer options are a biased scale because out of 5 choices, 3 choices lean toward the likely side.

Research Report

A research report is a UX research deliverable that summarizes insights from a single user research study. This report can take various forms, such as a written report or a slide deck.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is an overview included at the beginning of the research report that summarizes the key insights and the purpose of the study. The executive summary should be concise and be able to stand on its own. Think of it as your introduction or hook to engage your audience!

Contents of a Research Report

A UX research report typically contains an executive summary, background, research method, research questions, key findings, and recommendations.

Card Sorting

Card sorting is a user research technique that asks participants to organize cards into groups that make the most sense to them.

Open Card Sorting

Open card sorting is when participants are given a stack of cards with topics and asked to categorize them on their own with no given label for the category. After sorting, participants are asked to name each group.

Card Sorting & Information Architecture

Card sorting is often used to improve the information architecture of a website or platform. This technique helps designers organize information in a way that makes sense to users, with the help of users.

Closed Card Sorting

Closed card sorting is when researchers create labels for categories and ask participants to sort the individual cards into named categories. During a closed card sort, researchers are evaluating if participants will place the cards into the expected category.

Moderated Card Sorting

Moderated card sorting is when the researcher conducts a one-on-one interview with a participant to probe why the participant categorized the cards in one way or another.

Moderated Card Sorting Data

Moderated card sorting provides qualitative data because researchers can ask follow-up questions and receive insights from participants as to why they placed a specific card in a certain group.

Unmoderated Card Sorting

Unmoderated card sorting is a quantitative method that requires participants to organize cards into groups without a researcher overlooking the session, usually via an online tool. This method generates quantitative data and is good for conducting large-scale research.

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