A Complete Guide To Qualitative Vs Quantitative UX Research Methods

Alien - UX Design Agency
4 min readFeb 16, 2024


How can we build this product? What can we do to improve this product? Why are the conversion rates so low?

How, what, why, etc. At every stage of building a product, all of us ask such questions. However not many prioritize quantitative and qualitative research in UX by researching on actual users to find answers to these questions. After all, users are at the heart of any experience of a product, and up to 90% of users are reported to leave using an application due to bad performance. Billions of dollars can be lost when businesses do not prioritize UX Research and turn to the guesswork game.

There’s a common myth that UX research can cost a lot of money and time that won’t be feasible for many companies, especially smaller businesses. However, knowing which quantitative and qualitative research in UX method to employ can save you not only from current time and monetary investment but also from future losses. Studies have proved that a good user experience can be rewarding to companies with every dollar invested in UX leading to a return of 100 dollars.

In this article, it helps you decide which method to choose to get the best results:

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research in UX

What is Quantitative Research in UX?

Source: Image of Quantitative Research in UX

Goal: To measure user behavior, preferences, choices, and experiences by analyzing numerical data.

Questions: It gives answers to questions such as “what” and “how much.” For example:

What percentage of users were able to complete the task in under 2 minutes?

How many errors did the users face while completing this task?

Some of the Common Quantitative UX Research Methods,

1. Surveys

This helps in gathering feedback through structured questions to quantify the preferences, opinions, or experiences of users with a product.

2. A/B testing

This compares two or more design variations to determine which performs better (leading to higher user engagement or conversion rates).

3. Behavioral Data Analysis

This examines the user actions and interactions within a digital product to reveal the user behavior, patterns, and trends. One such tool to facilitate this is Hotjar which generates heat maps that visually represent the user interactions such as clicks, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior.

Sample Size:

The sample size used here is large to establish the generalization of results and statistical validity.

Data Analysis:

The large amounts of data collected are analyzed statistically and represented in the form of charts, graphs, etc to identify patterns, correlations, and trends.


This cannot uncover the reason behind user behavior. It lacks the depth and context that the insights generated from the qualitative UX research bring to the table.

What is Qualitative Research in UX?

Source: Image of Qualitative Research in UX

Goal: To find out the underlying motivations, emotions, and perceptions of users.

Questions: It gives answers to questions such as “why” and “how.” For example:

What challenges did the user face while signing up?

(This answers the question: Why the user took a longer time to sign up/ couldn’t sign up)

What improvements could improve your experience of the app?

(This answers the question: How can we improve the user experience of the app)

Some of the Common Qualitative UX Research Methods,

User Interviews

This involves one-on-one conversations with users to understand their preferences, motivations, and experiences.

Usability Testing

This involves observing the users as they interact with the product to find out the usability issues and gather their feedback.

Focus Groups

This brings together a small group of participants to discuss their attitudes and perceptions regarding a product.

Open-ended surveys

This is a questionnaire that allows users to provide detailed, narrative responses to gather their feedback and understand their sentiments.

Sample Size:

The sample size is much smaller, typically till the saturation point where the responses from the participants get repetitive. According to the NN Group, the recommended sample size so far has been between 5 to 50. The relatively smaller sample size allows for an in-depth exploration of user experiences.

Data Analysis:

Thematic analysis, content analysis, or qualitative coding are used to identify the patterns, themes, and insights from the data collected.


Such insights cannot be statistically validated and generalized to the larger population.

Due to the limitations of both quantitative and qualitative research in UX, mixed-methods research is often employed. As the name suggests, it utilizes both quantitative and qualitative research in UX to give holistic insights, cross-verify the findings, and improve their validity. It is necessary for companies to recognize which method will be the most beneficial to their product success by asking the right questions. When successful UX research is conducted, it can lead to products and experiences that resonate with the diverse needs and stories of your users. Take your UX research with Alien!



Alien - UX Design Agency

Product and Webflow design agency for startups and enterprises. Clients - HDFC, Aditya Birla, TVS, Cavin Kare, IIFL, etc. Awwwards, CSS Winner, FWA awards.