Streamlining Development Pre-Launch: Mixed Methods Hardware UX Research

Wearable technology has embedded itself in everyday life with users reaching to put on their smart watch or headset every morning. What started with simple step counters has expanded to a variety of industries, including health, fitness, and entertainment, and now encompasses a huge variety of product types - jewelry, clothing, glucose monitors, and more. And more recently, the most sophisticated versions are already incorporating artificial intelligence (AI). 

According to the Interactive Design Foundation, when organizations invest in UX during a project concept phase, they reduce product development cycles by 33% to 50%. For companies working to introduce new products to the market, solving potential UX issues pre-launch can give you a powerful advantage and establish strong brand loyalty ahead of your competitors. 

A tech client asked us: 

How do users feel about wearing our product in regards to comfort and fit?

Our client was in the process of designing a new line of wearable products. They needed it to look stylish, but also be comfortable to wear while doing a range of everyday activities. For any wearable device, with added tech, comes added weight. The ergonomics needed to be just right, especially compared to previous versions and other comparable products. 

Our client partnered with us to conduct a UX research program to: 

  • Assess if users are comfortable with the prototype during various activities 
  • Understand how the product compares to similar products on the market 
  • Gauge impressions of a few different hardware modifications 

We answered: 

To keep the product development process moving forward, we proposed a custom mixed methods UX research project so the client would benefit from both qualitative and quantitative insights to improve their product prior to launch.

By combining these two approaches, you gain a comprehensive understanding of user interactions, enabling you to make more informed and data-driven decisions.

AnswerLab designed an in-person study with 100+ participants to collect user feedback during live sessions to collect a larger sample of quant metrics, while also documenting moderator observations of the product in use. 

Participants completed a series of tasks over the course of the sessions, so that we could track key metrics and contextual findings of the various prototype versions. Moderators were able to observe nuanced movements and adjustments participants made subconsciously - because of the in-person aspect - adding to the user insights overall. 

We also conducted additional 1:1 in-depth interviews (IDIs) and quantitative surveys with the participants after the in-person exercises to round out the findings and dive deeper into their reflections on the experience. 

Quant UX Research can help you test assumptions and patterns, define user trends, and make data-backed decisions on large-cost questions.

Conducting this study in person granted a number of benefits, including: 

  • Participants were able to interact with the product in designated ways 
  • UX Researchers could observe contextual insights by witnessing the participants directly
  • The utmost confidentiality of our client’s prototype by avoiding a remote setting 
  • Clients observations through a dual-screen viewing room, facilitating real-time discussion and engagement among the group

A large data sample provided by quantitative UX research, paired with the qualitative 'why', provided the company with the confidence they needed (and the numbers to back it up) to ultimately release a successful wearable device.


The client received a comprehensive report chock full of qualitative analysis based on our researchers’ observations, feedback from the IDIs, and quantitative data detailing the findings and recommendations. 

  • 100+ participants
  • 250+ hours of fieldwork and observation
  • 600+ quant surveys completed 

The client received not only insights on the actual comfort of the product, but also insights among a diversity of users, recommendations for future prototypes, live viewing of the product during key activities, as well as competitive insights. 


Learn how usability testing combined with quant UX research can help you drive future product development.

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