Demographics Psychographics Behaviographics

Demographics are important when uncovering user insights. But the underlying psychographics and behaviographics are arguably much more important in today’s world.

We asked our resident researcher, Kyle, to weigh in with his thoughts on this article. In case you don’t have the time/desire to read the full article, it makes the case that demographics alone aren’t adequate in brand positioning. Kyle’s thoughts on it, and on user research in general, are below.

Demographics, psychographics, behaviographics… pretty graphic

In the social sciences, a special technique called “triangulation” is used to ensure the insights obtained are valid. In the context of user research, this means looking at three things — what users say, what they think, and what they actually do. Putting these together allows for a more holistic understanding of the user.

  • “Demographics” segments users according to pre-defined categories that can apply across sites. Demographics are definitely useful in segmenting users, but they’re pretty high-level indicators that don’t necessarily give a ton of insight beyond the basics.
  • “Psychographics” takes things one step further and segments users based on their attitudes and interests. This is naturally much more insightful in terms of the underlying motivations behind user action/inaction.
  • “Behaviographics” segments users behaviorally. Demographics and psychographics are nice, but behaviographics really get down to the meat of what users actually do on sites.

The end goal of user research is to find and account for the differences between what users say, think, and do. Taking the model one step further, we can even look at what people “make,” which has been pioneered by Liz Sanders and explored in her book Convivial Design.
Demographics Psychographics Behaviographics

Research as a precursor to UX design

User experience designers need information about the people they’re designing for, which comes through demographics to an extent. But designers also need deeper inspiration that stems from empathy into the users’ attitudes and behaviors (i.e., psychographics and behaviographics). User research allows for “informed intuition” that feeds innovative experiences that delight customers. So ultimately, delighted customers must begin with deep user research.

Michael Braun
Michael Braun
Affectionately referred to around the office as the "Silver Fox," Michael's silvery sheen reflects his UX wisdom and design knowledge. He's also a big Brewers fan. Feel free to email him with any questions related to UX design.