'Inbound & Down'
Question of the Day

Published September 19, 2019

What is qualitative user research?

  1. Research which helps to uncover what users are doing.
  2. Research which aids in understanding the specific elements users are interacting with.
  3. Research which helps to reveal why users behave in a certain way.

The Answer is C.

Qualitative user research answers one of the most important questions regarding user interaction: why?

Why do users behave in a certain way when engaging with your product or service? Why do they view certain web pages and not others? Why do some follow you on social media and others unfollow? Why might users prefer your competitors to you?

Understanding the mindset of your customers is an important step toward crafting the right types of strategies for engagement, and can aid in the process of recruiting prospects.

So how does one conduct qualitative user research? There are several methods which have proven effective: 



One of the best means to learn how users' minds tick is to ask them! Putting together a focus group—or sitting down with a few one-on-one—is incredibly helpful in gaining a better understanding of why they may do things a certain way.

A great place to start is with your existing clients! They already went through the process of finding you, and gaining insight into what methods worked to win them over can help you identify key strategies to replicate your success.



User interviews, while a great method, can also be quite time consuming. From finding participants, to scheduling appointments to sit down with them—it adds up.

Another way to conduct qualitative user research is through surveys. Hosting online surveys gives you the opportunity to reach out to a larger base over a shorter period of time. There are many tools available, including Survey Monkey and Google Forms.



Witnessing users in action can also be incredibly helpful to understanding how they operate. This can be as simple as putting them in front of your website and asking them to fulfill a particular task. 

Such an exercise can demonstrate how simple your site is to navigate; or, by contrast, offer insight into why some users may fall off before completing tasks that could lead to fulfilling interactions with your organization.


Once you have conducted the necessary research, it’s time to analyze the results. The information you learn from your test participants can be invaluable for identifying new or improved methods of engagement on your website, social media accounts, emails, and more.

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