User Research: Seven Steps to Master User Research


With the change of times and the development of business, the market form has evolved from the original seller’s market to a buyer’s market where users decide everything.

1. Clear goals & pull together cognition

Usually, a user research project in an enterprise will include the business department that proposes the demand and the user research department that undertakes the work.

  1. Project background research;
  2. Project research objectives;
  3. Disassembly of research ideas and research contents based on research objectives;
  4. The research method and implementation plan set according to the research idea and research content;
  5. Time planning and budget evaluation;
  6. Staff responsibilities.

2. Confirmation of research types and methods

Strictly speaking, this step is not a process link of the user research project, but a research method that runs through the entire user research project process.

3. Sampling and quota

1. Probability Sampling and Non-Probability Sampling

Due to efficiency and practical considerations, it is difficult for us to conduct research on all target users.

4. User identification

At this stage, we need to think about what conditions to filter based on our research goals to find samples that meet our standards. Generally, we need to think about the following two questions:

5. Preparation of qualitative interview outline and quantitative questionnaire

  1. Break the ice and clarify the rules of the game to users: clarify the purpose, explain the rules, and eliminate concerns;
  2. User Insights: Dig deep into the typical characteristics of target users from the aspects of lifestyle, values, leisure and entertainment, consumption concept, social type, brand preference, etc.;
  3. Pan office behavior and needs: daily social, work social and other related habits and tools, work type, rhythm, office environment, etc;
  4. Office behavior / scene / pain points and needs: office scene, use behavior under the scene, functional and emotional needs, use tools, specific feedback and evaluation, use pain points and future needs;
  5. Media habits: daily attention to information and information acquisition channels.

2. Principles of quantitative questionnaire

1. Quantitative structure

  • Sociological characteristics: sociological characteristics, marital status, brand usage, etc.;
  • Usage behavior and evaluation: specific usage frequency, regularity, scene and evaluation, etc.;
  • Product demand feedback: functional demand and emotional demand;
  • Judgment of values statement: determine that users belong to a certain group;
  • Leisure, entertainment and social networking;
  • Consumption habits;
  • Media habits.

6. Introduction to interview execution skills

1. Main stages, links and concerns of the interview

  • Make sure you are very familiar with the outline, do not completely separate from the outline, and do not be bound by the outline.
  • When you hear what you think is important, follow them further, even if it means temporarily “out of writing”.
  • Focus on what the interviewee says and be prepared to dig deep at all times.
  • Use reflective questions to confirm what you think you heard, such as “is that what you mean” and “you seem unhappy with…”.
  • Listen more, talk less, listen twice as long as you talk.
  • From general to specific, from large to small.
  • Remember that the most important question you can ask is “why?”
  • Silence for a few seconds, let the respondents collect ideas and encourage them to share more information.
  • Don’t ask guiding questions, you will get the answer you expect!
  • Don’t argue with users or try to convince users.
  • Do not ask questions repeatedly, each question can only be answered once.
  • About: “Tell me more about…”, “What do you think about…”, “What do you think about…?”
  • Accuracy: get more accurate information, such as “how to accurately describe your feelings…”, “what does this compare to?”, “What exactly do you mean?”
  • Suppose: “what would you do if…?”
  • Explore facts and details: e.g. “Why did you choose it? What needs did it meet for you”.
  • Open-ended: Use open-ended questions with many possible answers, not just “yes” or “no.”
  • Don’t be late!
  • Dress comfortably and casually. Don’t wear exposed or fancy clothes, and don’t wear too shabby.
  • No ties, no heavy makeup, no perfume, no exaggerated jewelry.
  • Don’t reveal where you’re from, don’t have a company logo on your clothes, bags, pens, or notebooks to avoid bias.
  • With the help of certain projection techniques.

7. Project output and report writing

The report process output methods show a trend of diversification, such as the traditional PPT format report, the EXCEL format data report, the Word format briefing report, and even the new online cloud document format report.

1. Quantitative reporting process

2. Qualitative reporting process

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Flow Chart / Workflow



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