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7 minute read

Key user research methodologies and what they’re good for

We often hear from clients that they’d like to conduct user research for their digital products and services, but wouldn’t know how to implement and act on the findings.

Here, we take a look at some different user research methodologies and what they’re used for, and explain how research insights can be implemented throughout the product design process.

User research remote interview scenario Website image gallery
by SD Ameyaw
13 April 23
  • User Research
  • Digital Product Design
  • UX and UI Design

User research is the process of understanding the needs, preferences, behaviours, and attitudes of the end-users of a product or service.

In this article, we will discuss some of the key user research methodologies, what they're best used for, and how to apply user research insights in digital design.

Digital user research in pharma and healthcare

User research in the context of digital products in pharma and healthcare is crucial for uncovering insight and understanding the needs of end-users to create products that are more effective and user-friendly. End users may be patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, or other stakeholders

By using a combination of research methodologies, researchers can gather valuable insights that can inform the design and development of digital products in the healthcare industry.

Key user research methodologies

There are various research methodologies that can be used in user research for digital products in pharma and healthcare. Some examples include:

User interviews

One-on-one interviews with users to understand their experiences, behaviours, and attitudes towards a product. Interviews can all be conducted in person, over a call, or via video conferencing; it is all the same.


A quantitative research method used to gather feedback from a large number of users. As well as User interviews, It is also possible for the surveys to be done in person, or online, to collect data on user demographics, preferences, and behaviours online or in person.

Observational research

This research method involves observing users as they interact with a product in their natural environment. This can help researchers understand how users use the product, and identify pain points, and opportunities for improvement.

Usability testing

This is a common method that is used to test the effectiveness and a products ease of use. Usability testing involves observing users as they complete tasks with a product and identifying any areas where they struggle or experience difficulty.

A/B testing

A method for comparing the efficacy of two different versions of a product. Users are randomly assigned to either version, and their behaviour and feedback are compared to determine which version is more effective.

This list is not exhaustive, and user research should always be tailored to the needs of the specific project or use case. You can read more about different types of user research here.

How can user research findings be implemented by design and research teams?

Implementing research findings as a designer is a critical step in the product development process. Using the above methodologies, we can begin to implement these results.

The process of implementing user research findings typically involves the following steps:

Analysing research data

The first step is to analyse the research data and identify key insights and patterns. This can involve reviewing interview transcripts, survey responses, observational notes, and other research materials to identify common themes and patterns.

Synthesising research findings

Once the key insights have been identified, the next step is to synthesise the research findings into a set of actionable recommendations. This can involve creating personas, user stories, and journey maps to help designers better understand the needs and behaviours of the target audience.

Ideation and design

Based on the research findings and recommendations, the design team can begin ideating and sketching potential design solutions. This can involve brainstorming sessions, sketching and wireframing, and other design methods to create potential solutions that meet the needs and preferences of the target audience.

Prototyping and testing

After the initial design ideas have been developed, the team can create prototypes and conduct user testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

This can involve creating low-fidelity prototypes to test basic functionality and usability or high-fidelity prototypes to test the overall user experience. Discussing abstract concepts can be challenging as it requires people to project themselves into a hypothetical situation. Putting a prototype in your user’s hands will make it feel more real and allow them to provide more realistic feedback.

Iteration and refinement

Based on the feedback from user testing, the design team can iterate and refine the design solutions. This can involve making changes to the design based on user feedback or identifying new design solutions that better meet the target audience's needs.

Implementation and launch

Once the design has been refined and finalised, the product can be implemented and launched. This can involve working closely with the development team to ensure that the design is implemented correctly and meets the requirements of the product.

Analysing research data

The first step is to analyse the research data and identify key insights and patterns. This can involve reviewing interview transcripts, survey responses, observational notes, and other research materials to identify common themes and patterns.

Making decisions about which findings to implement

When it comes to making decisions about which user research findings to implement, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Importance and impact: How significant is the finding in terms of addressing user needs or improving the user experience? Is it a critical issue that needs to be addressed or a minor improvement that can be addressed later?

  • Feasibility: Can the finding be implemented within the constraints of the project timeline, budget, and technical requirements? Are there any dependencies or potential roadblocks that need to be addressed before implementing the finding?

  • Alignment with project goals: Does the finding align with the overall project vision and goals? Will implementing the finding help to achieve the project goals or will it detract from them?

  • User feedback: How do users feel about the finding and the proposed solution? Are they likely to use and benefit from the proposed solution?

By considering these factors, designers can make informed decisions about which findings to implement and prioritise.

It's important to remember that not all conclusions may be feasible or have a significant impact on the project, so it's essential to prioritise and focus on the findings that will have the greatest impact on the user experience and project goals.

Make research a priority to improve your digital product impact

User research is vital when creating digital products in pharma and healthcare. It enables designers and product owners to gain insights into the target audience's needs and preferences, which helps create products that improve their overall experience.

By prioritising impactful findings and iterating on design based on user feedback, designers can create successful digital products that meet the needs of the target audience.

To learn more about our experience in designing evidence-based digital products and services for the healthcare and pharma sectors, get in touch.

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