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User Research in App Design and Development

User Experience research that drives user-centred applications

User research is at the heart of everything we do. It provides valuable insights into users’ motivations, decisions, and behaviours and informs every stage of our app development process. At Brightec, we are committed to UX research and are proud to champion it as a vital part of our app design and development service.

Illustration of someone looking at a mobile app wireframe

What is User Research and Why Does it Matter?

The goal of UX research is to provide solid evidence to support an app’s development or additional features, while also upholding the users’ needs to provide a better user experience.

User research is the process of gathering information on users’ needs, wants, and motivations so that we can develop applications to serve them better. It confirms assumptions, identifies improvements, and teaches us what users would respond to best. This allows us to develop superior applications that perform well in a real-world context.

TrainSplit Design Sprint with Nick putting postits on a whiteboard

The Benefits of User Research

User research provides the foundation for our process at Brightec. Below are just some of the benefits of user research in app design and development:

  • Understand users and their behaviours

  • Learn what’s important to users

  • Decide on an app’s direction and focus

  • Improve usability

  • Reduce in-app support requirements

  • Design with empathy

  • Set an app up for success

Types of User Experience Research

There are many types of user experience research. Each method is designed to gather specific types of information from users, otherwise known as qualitative and quantitative data.

What is Qualitative User Research?

Qualitative UX research (otherwise referred to as non-numerical data) is all about understanding peoples’ opinions or the ‘why’ behind their decisions. It is vital for understanding why users behave the way they do. Types of qualitative user research include:

  • User interviews

  • Usability tests

  • Field studies

  • Focus groups

What is Quantitative User Research?

Quantitative UX research collects numerical data on users that can be used to support the qualitative research gathered. For example: “what number of people want to track their weekly exercise?”

Quantitative research allows us to test our assumptions and identify trends in users’ behaviours that could inform the app development process. For example, if our quantitative research found that 90% of people liked to track their weekly exercise and our qualitative research found this was because it boosted a sense of achievement, we could lean into this knowledge during the app design process.

Some great examples of quantitative research include:

  • Surveys

  • A/B testing

  • Analytics

  • Online polls

  • Experiments

The value of UX research should not be underestimated. It underpins everything we do here at Brightec. User experience research that combines both qualitative and quantitative data ensures our app design and development process is full of fresh and validated ideas.

Brightec’s UX Research Methods in Four Stages

At Brightec, we combine quantitative and qualitative research to learn as much as we can about our users.

Through a series of interviews, surveys, online polls, and usability tests, our UX researchers can learn more about an app and how it can best meet users’ needs. Most app development projects we take on here at Brightec undergo four stages of UX research.

Stage One: The Discovery Phase

Every project begins with the Discovery Phase. This is when, before any work commences on the app, we carry out exploratory research into the target audience to understand users wants and needs.

To find out this information, our UX research team carries out 1:1 moderated interviews, competitor analysis, and surveys. The Discovery Phase acts as a vital springboard; helping us to understand a project’s broad goals as well as an app’s direction.

Stage Two: The Development Phase

Once our designers have built an app’s wireframes and prototypes, our user researchers lead 1:1 moderated interviews. These moderated, one-to-one interviews help us learn more about an app’s functionality and understand what’s working well and what isn’t. This removes any guesswork and ensures the app’s design and development is being driven by users needs and wants.

Stage Three: Final Tests and Fault Finding

Once the final design is complete, further usability testing with a high fidelity prototype highlights any faults and finds areas for improvement. This allows finishing touches to be made, giving an app the best chance at success.

Stage Four: Live Monitoring

Once the app is live, regular UX testings is carried out to measure performance and learn how users interact with the app so we can optimise their experience with future changes. This ensures no app we build is left to stagnate.

To gather this information we ask for user feedback via surveys and we monitor data analytics. Proactively seeking out opportunities for future improvements helps keep our apps ahead of the curve.

Elle and Jonny at a whiteboard app design

App Development That’s Always Evolving

As award-winning app developers, we know more than most that technology is constantly evolving. It’s one of the things we love the most about this industry!

To craft beautiful apps that provide a great user experience and improve peoples’ lives, UX research is essential. User research continues to be the driving force behind much of our success, which is why it remains such an important part of our service.

Brightec are highly capable and very experienced in following user-centred design methods; always managing to balance user and business needs in the products they build
User Research and Service Design Lead at Virgin Red

Find out more

At Brightec, we are passionate about championing user research at every stage of the development process. Leading every project with UX research ensures we develop apps users in mind; creating successful, well-received apps that provide a great user experience.

Don’t just take our word for it

Check out what our clients have to say about working with us.

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Get in touch to discuss User Research in app design and development

If you would like to find out more about user research as part of our service, get in touch today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.