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Quantitative methods in utility studies — types and applications

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User survey methods are a source of a lot of valuable information. They play an important role in the development of a digital product. Any data that can be extracted from research processes can help you make management decisions. Among the types of research methods, one can distinguish, among others, quantitative research. What are they and what are their advantages?

Quantitative research — what is it?

Quantitative research, unlike qualitative research, does not help to obtain information about why a particular problem occurs and what are its causes. They indicate, however, for how many users it is real and allows you to estimate its size. For comparison — Qualitative research allow you to find out why individual elements of the page do not affect the improvement of the conversion rate. Quantitative research but they outline, how many users find these areas problematic and how the introduction of changes affects optimization.

With this type of research, you will know if the number of users who have noticed the problem has decreased or increased. If you combine quantitative and qualitative research results, you get a detailed picture of the situation and can make a decision that will affect the optimization of processes.

Quantitative UX research — types:

Among the quantitative UX studies, the following can be distinguished:

  • sorting cards,
  • surveys,
  • eye tracking research,
  • A/B UX testing,
  • comparative tests.

UX research methods differ from each other e.g. costs, scope of application, difficulty of data collection, analytical and interpretative work, context. The discrepancies are also related to the research objectives, the time needed to achieve them and the possibility of comparing the results.

Sorting cards

It is a method that allows you to know the mental models of the users of the site, especially in the way of categorizing phenomena. It allows you to specify the terminology used by users to describe a product or phenomenon. The method is used, inter alia, to creation of architectural and information structuresused in a digital product. It is relatively cheap, and data collection — uncomplicated and easy to interpret. Sorting cards is an indirect method — it gives qualitative and quantitative results. It allows you to learn terminology, categories, and also allows you to determine the frequency of their use.


It's an easy and quick way to learn about factors such as user attitudes, demographics, and behavior. Neutral, closed questions with uncomplicated answers will give a higher score rate and will be simple to analyze. Surveys allow you to gather information in a relatively short period of time, without a large financial outlay. All it takes is proper segregation and analysis of the results, and you can find out how the site is perceived by its users.


Eye-tracking UX research referred to as advanced. They are related to vision measurement — tracking the movement of the subject's eyeballs, using a special device and software. With this study, you will find out what users pay attention to when browsing websites, apps, or physical products. You can analyze the order in which elements are perceived, the areas that users pay the most attention to and unnecessary elements that hinder the use of the site. One of the variants of eye-tracking are heat maps (eng. Heat-maps), which show the most interesting fragments based on mouse clicks and movements.

A/B Testing

A multivariate method used to determine which version of a site, application or service works best. Two versions of the same elements are subjected to observation tests. To see which one is better, use tools and click-through metrics. This type of activity allows Observing real results from real users. They can be used to test small interface elements, colors, and buttons.

Quantitative usability tests

They are a description of the processes of testing the application or service at a given time. The task of the users is to perform tasks, such as buying t-shirts, while the researcher checks certain indicators, such as the success of the activity and the length of its duration.

Key Benefits of Quantitative Research

Among the advantages of quantitative research, it is worth mentioning:

  • an objective assessment of the phenomenon,
  • the possibility of comparing the results in a given time interval,
  • high reliability of research.

Task performance is quantified by the metrics that the researcher takes. These can be the number of actions performed, the time they were performed, the number of errors made during the research and the evaluation of the satisfaction of browsing the site or application.

These measures allow usability check with the solutions that the competition proposes, as well as the determination level of user satisfaction (increase or decrease). One of the limitations that are associated with quantitative research is that it is not possible to specify the causes of the results, and the conclusions refer to the intensity of the phenomenon. Defining a problem and finding a solution is possible only through qualitative research.

Quantitative research — why is it needed?

Quantitative research helps to measure:

  • efficacy — this enables an indicator of the number of errors made and the success rate,
  • efficiency and effectiveness of the product — high efficiency is due to the short time required to complete the task. This is due to the ease of use of the service or application,
  • user satisfaction when using the product — its level is checked after completing the task. For example, a mental effort questionnaire helps with this.

Quantitative research should be one of the most important tasks of people who deal with UX. They allow:

  • collect high-value data that can influence decisions made by stakeholders,
  • estimate, compare,
  • determine the estimated level of ROI, important mainly for optimization.

Quantitative research also helps to estimate:

  • efficacy — this enables an indicator of the number of errors made and the success rate,
  • efficiency and effectiveness of the product — high efficiency is due to the short time required to complete the task.
  • user satisfaction when using the product — its level is checked after completing the task. For example, a mental effort questionnaire helps with this.

Quantitative research — how to do it correctly?

To carry out quantitative research — those responsible for the process must determine the size of the sample, organize and carry out the research activities with the appropriate tools. In addition, they are responsible for choosing the methods of analysis and interpretation of the results, determining the time necessary to carry out the work. They also need to choose the right time for research. It is good to perform them at later stages of the project, which will help to check the performance of the solution.

Quantitative research is a valuable source of information, especially when carried out with the use of appropriate research tools. If you want to learn more about user research methodology or need help in optimizing your website — contact us!

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