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The Power of Human Insights: Tools and Methods
User Research

Published on January 28, 2024

The Power of Human Insights: Tools and Methods

If you are looking for ways to create a meaningful experience for the users of your digital product, know that just a slick UI will not do the trick! Crafting a stellar user experience is not only about flashy graphics but also about tapping into human insights.

Leveraging human insights is the secret sauce to any successful digital product or service. From in-depth interviews to diary studies and anything in between there are different methodologies that UX and product professionals can tap into to create experiences that resonate with the users.

In this article, we explore the power of human insights and reveal ways you can harness this power to create meaningful product experiences that users will be coming back for more.

Human Insight Meaning

In the context of UX design the term human insight refers to the understanding of the needs, wants, and motivations of one’s audience. It revolves around gathering invaluable information about the way humans interact with a service or a product as well as the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations surrounding this usage.

Human insight is an integral part of the UX design process as it aids UX professionals in empathizing with the users and therefore create meaningful user-centric design solutions that serve the users.

Human Insights Research Benefits

human insights

Contrary to the common belief that tapping into the power of human insights can only be beneficial to UXers, understanding human behavior can have a host of advantages across various teams as it can be the north start for making informed decisions about the product overall.

Here are some of the professionals that can benefit from human insight-based products:

Researchers and Analysts

Human insights are the bread and butter of user researchers and product analysts. Those professionals live and breathe user feedback and getting a deep understanding of human behavior is at the core of what they do.

Researchers and analysts alike can tap into human insights to better make sense of data points and pinpoint patterns in human behavior. This helps them make data-informed decisions about the future of the product and the type of nuggets that will be shared with the wider product team.

UX Designers

Human insights offer UX designers an unmissable opportunity to delve into the nuances of human behavior and understand how users interact with the interfaces that they are designing. Through observing, analyzing, and understanding, they can identify pain points and work to refine those, this way optimizing the user experience.

What’s more, this refinement leads to enhanced usability since smoothing out the rough edges makes the product experience more intuitive and user-friendly.

Marketers

The marketing and branding function is another team that can greatly benefit from human insights. Human insights can give marketers invaluable information about the needs and motivations of the audience they are targeting. Tapping into this understanding, marketers and branding professionals alike can tailor their messaging so that it resonates with their users.

Marketing campaigns that resonate with the target audience and address their pain points are not only effective in terms of sales but can also lead to an enhanced sense of trust and customer loyalty.

Finally, human insights can be an unmissable opportunity for marketers to find new customers that the product they are selling resonates with.

Product Managers

Product managers and product owners can also greatly benefit from human insights. Human insights can and should be the north start for product and feature development. By observing, analyzing, and ultimately understanding human behavior, product managers and owners can prioritize those features that most make sense, ensuring that the product resonates with the user at all times.

What’s more, human insights can and should inform the product roadmaps to make sure that the product adapts to the ever-changing needs of the product, creating a sustainable competitive advantage for the product.

How to Gather Human Insights?

human-insight

There are a host of different methodologies out there that can help you gather human insights. Each of those methodologies serves a unique purpose so choosing the right methodology, or combination of methodologies, will highly depend on the research goals that you have set for your study.

Here are some of the key methodologies to keep in mind when it comes to gathering human insights:

Moderated User Interviews

Moderated user interviews are an indispensable tool that should exist in every product professional’s toolkit. They are one of the top methodologies to gather deep qualitative data about your users as it is a great way to deep dive into the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of your intended users.

Moderated interviews are conducted in the presence of a professional UX researcher who guides the study in a way that helps him uncover the insights behind the users’ interaction with the product.

This immersive, one-to-one testing experience creates the ideal conditions for researchers to uncover those nuances that are impossible to pick in other settings. In this setting, the researcher also can drill into one specific insight by asking questions on the spot to clear any doubts.

Focus Groups

The focus group method is another great research methodology for collecting human insights. This method allows for the discovery of different user perspectives in one testing setting. By tapping into focus groups, researchers have an unmissable opportunity to observe and take stock of the shared opinions but also pinpoint the elements of disagreement within the group.

Ultimately, this method can reveal invaluable human insights when it comes to human behavior within a group setting and uncover insights around communal experiences as well as societal influences.

User Surveys

User surveys are another great tool that offers a more scalable data collection of human insights. Surveys are perfect when we want to reach a broader user base and uncover patterns and trends that underscore human behavior. They help to gather qualitative and quantitative insights, quickly collect customer feedback and inform decision-making processes with data-driven insights.

By analyzing the results of a survey, you can get the pulse of the user and use the human insights gathered to shape your product so that it resonates with a broader audience.

Diary Studies

Diary studies are another great exploratory qualitative methodology that can help you deep dive into the nuances of human experiences. The huge advantage of diary studies is that they have the power to capture the experience of the user over time, capturing in this way the ever-evolving nature of human needs.

This methodology can help researchers and other professionals get a contextual understanding of human behavior taking into consideration external factors that can influence human behavior over time.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is a method of gathering human insights that involves giving participants tasks to perform with the product and watching them do it. The user researcher gets to observe the user while they interact with a product, pinpoint areas of confusion and any potential roadblocks that the user encounters.

This way researchers can gain some direct human insights into the way users engage with products and understand how they can improve this interaction to make it even better.

Learn about usability testing and it’s benefits in this quick video 👇

Card Sorting

Card sorting is another great tool that can be leveraged to collect human insights. Card sorting is a methodology where the participants of the study are asked to categorize and organize content into meaningful categories. This is a great way to get a deep understanding of the way that users intuitively and naturally organize information and the underlying mental models.

human insights

Card Sorting Example

Human Insights Research Tools

Having the right tools to help you in your quest for human insights is pivotal. With a host of tools to select from in the current market, making the right choice might feel like a daunting task. Here are our top 5 tools to consider:

1. UXtweak

human insights research tools

UXtweak is a comprehensive all-in-one user research tool for testing the usability of your digital products, gathering user feedback and all kinds of human insights.

From usability testing to card sorting, user analytics to surveys, and everything in between, this platform gives the user researcher an unmissable opportunity to uncover human insight on usability, IA, and overall user behavior. This is a highly versatile tool with an exceptionally user-friendly interface as well as robust analytics and remote testing capabilities.

Features:

Try UXtweak’s tools in these demos ⬇️

Try Survey in Action🔥

Surveys
Try Survey in Action🔥

Try Website Usability Testing🔥

Website Testing
Try Website Usability Testing🔥

Pricing: UXtweak offers a range of pricing plans to suit different user needs. The platform provides a free plan, allowing users to access its core features without any cost. There is also a solo plan for $80 per month and a business plan for $144 (when paid annually).

Give UXtweak a try and collect human insights with our free plan!⬇️

Collect Human Insights with UXtweak!

The only UX research tool you need to visualize your customers’ frustration and better understand their issues

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2. UserTesting

human insights research tools

User testing is another robust tool that can help you uncover and collect human insights for more user-centric products. With a host of different tools, including but not limited to video recording sessions, strong capabilities for both unmoderated and moderated testing and advanced analytics, this tool can help you hone into human experiences and behavior.

Features:

  • Website testing
  • Mobile application testing
  • Prototype testing
  • Card sort & Tree test
  • Preference test
  • 5 second test
  • Survey tool
  • 1:1 interviews with testers
  • Video recording

Pricing: Upon request, starting at $30,000K/year. Annual subscription only. 

3. Hotjar

human insights research tools

Hotjar is another comprehensive usability tool that can be a great asset to every user researcher’s arsenal. Hotjar combines tools like heatmaps, session recordings, surveys, and robust analytics that can help you get a holistic understanding of user behavior.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Visitor recordings
  • Conversion funnels
  • Feedback polls
  • Incoming Feedback

Pricing:

Hotjar offers a free limited subscription plan. The fee-based plans start from $32 and go up much higher, depending on your needs.

4. Optimal Workshop

human insights

Optimal Workshop is another great tool to take into consideration with the limitation that it specializes mostly in information architecture. With tools like card sorting and tree testing, this is a great tool to deep dive into the user’s mental models and understand how humans naturally consume and categorize information.

Features:

  • Card Sorting
  • Tree Testing
  • First Click Testing
  • Surveys
  • Qualitative research

Pricing: A free plan is available. The paid solution starts at $208/month (billed annually).  

5. Crazy Egg

human insights

Crazy Egg is yet another comprehensive tool to have in mind! This platform offers a range of tools including scrollmaps, heatmaps as well as user recording sessions, and A/B testing capabilities. The range of tools on offer can help user researchers collect a tapestry of insights that can be pieced together to understand human behavior.

Features:

  • Snapshot reporting 
  • Heatmaps and scroll maps 
  • Session recordings 
  • Demo dashboard

Pricing: Its basic plan starts at $29/month, billed annually, and goes up to $249/month, depending on the number of page views and recording you need. 

Consumer Insights VS User Insights VS Human Insights

There are a lot of different terms bouncing around when it comes to insights. Here is a handy table to help you understand the commonalities and differences that consumer, user, and human insights bare:

Characteristic

Consumer Insights

User Insights

Human Insights

Definition

A general understanding of consumer behavior when it comes to their preferences as well as market trends.

Specific insights that revolve around a real user and their interaction with a digital product or service.

A rounded understanding of human behavior including extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, wants, and needs, which can influence product usage.

Methodologies

- Market Research
- Consumer Surveys

- Usability Testing
- Website or app analytics

Involves a broad range of both qualitative and quantitative research methods that allow for a holistic understanding of human behavior.

Area

- Branding
- Marketing

- Product Strategy
- UX design

It is the north start of business strategy, product development, UX design, branding, and marketing.

Example

Analyzing consumer trends before launching a new product to the market.

Conducting usability testing studies to smooth out the user experience before the launch of a digital product.

Engage in diary studies and in-depth user interviews to get a better understanding of a particular aspect of human behavior.

AI and Human Insight

human insights

Artificial intelligence or AI is booming and it is shaping the way product professionals collect, analyze, and understand human behavior. AI is constantly evolving but here is how is currently transforming the way we gather human insights:

Automated Data Collection

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we collect data in the first place. AI-powered analytics tools that have penetrated the market are revolutionizing the way we collect data. These tools offer the capacity to collect huge amounts of data providing invaluable insights into human behavior.

Predictive Analytics

What is more, artificial intelligence is altering the way we analyze quantitative data. AI-backed systems using machine learning algorithms can use so-called predictive analytics to predict trends in human and user behavior based on historical data.

Natural Language Processing

AI-driven text analysis is also revolutionizing the way we manipulate qualitative insights. Natural language processing tools can process and analyze enormous amounts of textual data from a range of different sources such as chatbot interactions, reviews, and comments on social media, and churn out sentiment analysis and human insights.

Biometric Research

Last but not least, more advanced AI technologies such as face recognition through biometric data and emotion analysis. These can be deployed to analyze non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, to better understand emotional responses and uncover unconscious human reactions.

💡Pro Tip

Is AI a benefit or a detriment to research and UX in particular? Discover our AI in UX Survey Report with opinions from the UX professionals on how to effectively integrate AI in your UX process, and in which areas to stay away from it.

To sum up

Human insight is an integral part of the UX design process and is the secret sauce to crafting relatable and meaningful user experiences. To harness the power of human insights there are a host of methodologies out there that you can tap into, including but not limited to diary studies, in-depth user interviews, and focus groups.

Understanding human insights should underpin every function within the business including product development and strategy, marketing, and design. The transformative power of AI is revolutionizing the way we collect, analyze, and understand data and helps us dive even further into the nuances of human behavior.

If you are looking to start your journey of gathering human insights and empathizing with your audience, UXtweak can help you hit the ground running. Register for your free account today and give a try to our all-in-one set of UX research tools!

Collect Human Insights with UXtweak!

The only UX research tool you need to visualize your customers’ frustration and better understand their issues

Register for free

FAQ: Human Insights

What are human insights?

Human insights refer to the understanding of users’ behaviors, needs, and motivations to improve the design and usability of products. They are gathered through methods like user interviews, surveys, and usability testing to create more effective and user-friendly experiences.

How to collect human insights?

Some of the common methods of collecting human insights include:

Elena Mitsiou
January 28, 2024
All author's articles

Elena is a T-shaped UX Researcher with a varied cross-industry marketing background. She holds a BA in English as SLA, a Master of Science in Management and a professional UX Design Diploma. She leverages her marketing background to bridge the gap between users and products, ensuring digital products meet user needs while hitting business goals.

Her career highlights include helping Talanta, an educational start-up to scale into a global remote-first edtech SaaS business and becoming a guest lecturer at the University of Brighton International College.

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