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Qualitative Visitor Research

Qualitative visitor research plays a pivotal role in gaining a deeper understanding of the experiences, behaviors, and preferences of individuals interacting with various spaces and events. 

This form of research involves exploring the subjective aspects of visitor interactions, providing valuable insights that quantitative methods may not fully capture. 

Visitor Reserach Illustration
Image source: Voxco

What is qualitative visitor research?

Qualitative visitor research refers to a set of methodologies aimed at exploring the subjective and nuanced aspects of visitors’ experiences, behaviors, and preferences.

Qualitative visitor research employs a range of methods to gather in-depth insights into the visitor experience. These methods include interviews, focus groups, observation, and surveys with open-ended questions. 

Each approach offers a unique perspective, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the visitors’ perspectives and interactions within a particular context.

Qualitative visitor research plays a pivotal role not only in understanding website visitor experiences but also in gaining deeper insights into user interactions within mobile apps.

Importance of qualitative visitor research

Here are the top four reasons highlighting the importance of qualitative visitor research:

1. Deep understanding of user needs

Qualitative research enables a thorough exploration of user motivations, expectations, and challenges. It goes beyond numerical data, providing insights into the emotional and psychological aspects that drive user behavior. This deeper understanding is essential for designing products and services that genuinely meet user needs.

2. Identifying pain points and opportunities

Through methods like usability testing and user interviews, qualitative research helps identify specific pain points in the user experience. Recognizing where users face challenges or frustrations allows for targeted improvements, enhancing the overall usability of a product or website. It also reveals opportunities for innovation and optimization.

3. Informed decision-making

Qualitative insights provide a human-centered perspective that empowers decision-makers. By understanding users’ perspectives, preferences, and behaviors, stakeholders can make more informed decisions about product features, design changes, and strategic direction. This informed decision-making contributes to the overall success of a company.

4. Iterative design and development

Qualitative research supports an iterative approach to design and development. By involving users early in the process, teams can receive real-time feedback and make adjustments accordingly. This iterative cycle helps create a product that evolves based on user input, ensuring that it aligns closely with user expectations and needs.

Research methods for website 

Qualitative research methods for websites are structured to uncover the behaviors and perceptions of a target audience in relation to a specific topic. Some research methods include:


Directly watching and documenting visitor behavior in a natural setting, such as a museum or park, to gain insights into their interactions and preferences.


Conducting one-on-one conversations with visitors to explore their opinions, motivations, and experiences, allowing for in-depth understanding through open-ended dialogue.

Focus groups

Brings together a small group of visitors to discuss specific topics or experiences, facilitating group interactions and uncovering shared perspectives.

Ethnographic studies

Immersing researchers within the visitors’ environment over an extended period to observe and understand behaviors, interactions, and cultural nuances.

Diary studies

Provides visitors with a journal to record their thoughts, emotions, and experiences during and after their visit, capturing real-time reflections.

Surveys with open-ended questions

Using surveys with open-ended prompts to collect detailed and qualitative feedback, allows visitors to express opinions in their own words. 

Usability testing

Evaluating how easily visitors can interact with a specific exhibit or website, identifying usability issues, and gauging overall user experience.

Social media analysis

Analyzing online content, such as reviews and posts, to understand public sentiments, opinions, and experiences related to a particular attraction or event.

Watch this insightful webinar to uncover the secrets of user behavior and revolutionize your approach to website strategies.

VWO webinar – Art Of Conducting Visitor Research

Enhancing mobile app user experience through qualitative analytics 

Similar to websites, qualitative research methodologies for mobile apps delve into the subjective aspects of user experiences, behaviors, and preferences, providing valuable insights that quantitative methods may not fully capture. 

VWO offers a range of tools and features that facilitate the collection of qualitative visitor research for mobile apps.

1. Session recordings

Captures and reviews real-time browsing sessions within mobile apps to understand user behavior.

2. Heatmaps

Visualizes user interaction with elements on mobile app screens, indicating popular and less popular areas.

3. User cohorts

You can study specific user groups within mobile apps to tailor the app experience based on location, device type, etc.

4. Custom events

You can define and track app-specific actions for detailed insights into user behavior within mobile apps.

5. Funnels

 You can identify drop-off points and user engagement issues by tracking progression through key steps within mobile apps. Segmentation allows for a deeper analysis of user behavior.

How VWO supercharges qualitative research

VWO can play a pivotal role in enhancing qualitative visitor research by providing a structured and data-driven framework for analysis. Here are two case studies for reference:

Bear Mattress

Bear Mattress utilized VWO Insights – Web to delve into qualitative visitor research, particularly focusing on understanding user interactions with their product detail pages. 

By leveraging features like heatmaps and session recordings, they identified specific issues hindering user engagement with the ‘Cross-sell Flow’ on mattress product detail pages. 

These insights were qualitative, shedding light on user behavior patterns and preferences rather than just quantitative metrics resulting in a 16.21% revenue boost.

IMB Bank

Similarly, IMB Bank employed VWO Insights – Web to conduct qualitative visitor research to boost conversions. Through features like heatmaps, funnel analysis, and session recordings, they uncovered crucial friction points on their website pages and forms. 

This qualitative analysis revealed issues such as a lack of instructions, uncertainty around unique selling propositions (USP), and missing social proof. These insights provided qualitative data that guided IMB Bank in optimizing its website and forms to enhance user experience and drive conversions to a remarkable 87%.

By understanding these qualitative insights, businesses were able to implement targeted optimizations that led to significant improvements in user engagement, conversion rates, and ultimately, business success. 

Overview of the Insights Dashboard

The Insights dashboard enhances decision-making for both websites and mobile apps by providing businesses with actionable insights derived from qualitative visitor research. It enables businesses to identify and address user pain points effectively, leading to improved user experience and overall performance across both digital platforms. To know more, take a 30-day free trial with VWO


As businesses strive to create immersive and tailored experiences, the integration of qualitative research methods will play a pivotal role in staying attuned to the evolving needs of their diverse visitor base. Ultimately, qualitative visitor research empowers organizations to exceed visitor expectations, fostering lasting connections and enriching the overall quality of the visitor experience.