UX Research

I am currently freelancing as a user experience researcher, recently working on projects for leading technology companies (including Fortune 500) through 3 local agencies, Omedia Interactive, Particle Design (formerly Empirical) and Thug Design. The projects have ranged in scale from small, iterative usability tests to longitudinal experience studies. I have managed and supported the entire user study process including participant recruitment, study design and implementation as well as data analysis and design reviews.

 

UX Research Case Study

Role: Agency Project Manager and Lead Researcher
Contributions:

  • Led implementation of longitudinal (4 week) study.
  • Designed and implemented pre and post study interviews.
  • Designed and implemented online surveys.
  • Recruited participants, in collaboration with Omedia Interactive.
  • Managed participant activities.
  • Led qualitative and quantitative analysis of study data (in collaboration with a statistician).
  • Presented final study results and recommendations to stakeholders.

Dates:  January – April 2016

(Client name and project details have been removed in accordance with NDAs.)

 

Backstory

A leading technology client approached Omedia to implement a four-week longitudinal study for one of their products in order to better understand long-term usability as well as identify compelling use cases. The client had some starting ideas for target demographics, research questions and performance metrics.  Working with Omedia, we recruited for and implemented a user study to meet the client’s business and research goals that culminated in providing design recommendations.


Problem

The client had a new product that was nearing delivery date, but they wanted to better clarify who their target audience might be and as a result how to market the product.  In addition, the client also wanted to assess usability of the product along specific metrics.

The client had a hypothesis that three different categories of users would benefit from the product, but were unsure how specifically each group might use the product or which features they might find most beneficial.  Their idea was to assess experience with the product over four weeks. The client had a general research plan that included pre-interviews, specific study tasks and an exit interview but looked to Omedia and I to implement the study in accordance with their goals.

 

Process

My first goal was to embed myself in contextual research. I wanted to understand the client’s context for product. (For example: What do you know so far?  What have you tested? Where does this user study fit within your larger timelines and development cycles?) I also got hands on with the product to better understand its capabilities and features in order to begin thinking first hand about the user experience. 

I also wanted to understand where this research study fit within contexts outside of the client (For example: What secondary research has already been completed that may answer some of the client's questions, or at least refine their questions?). With this information, I was able to approach the client with plans to build upon their initial ideas for ideal participants as well as optimize their research questions, thus ensuring we were using participant time efficiently.

My next task was to organize the client’s goals and questions with the secondary research into questions that were purposefully asked at each stage of the study. In addition, since the client had three distinct user groups in mind, unique study plans needed to be created for each group.

This resulted in the design of the following deliverables:

  • Pre-study interview
  • Twice-weekly and weekly online questionnaires
  • Post-study interview

Throughout the design process, I iterated my designs with the client, including running mock interviews with stakeholders, so I could ensure their key questions were being addressed.

As study deliverables were taking shape, I was actively recruiting participants, ensuring they met necessary criteria and would be able to provide critical feedback. 30 users in total were recruited for the study, divided into 3 usage groups.

The study commenced with 30 on-site interviews at the participants’ homes to talk about their existing experiences and how new interventions might improve those experiences.

During the study, I synthesized incoming survey data with interview results to provide progress reports to the client.  I also followed up with participants to ensure active participation.

As the study concluded, I conducted exit interviews with the participants to recap on their experience as well as identify improvements that would be critical for future use.


Outcome

I synthesized all of the qualitative and quantitative data (collaborating with a statistician) from four weeks of surveys and interviews in order to identify key aspects of:

  • Existing user behavior and preferences
  • Usability strengths and issues
  • Desirable and undesirable features
  • Likelihood to purchase

Through the final presentation, I was able to clarify to stakeholders the representative stories of the three usage groups as well as identify prioritized directions for future improvement. The final report provided evidence for which usage groups represented the strongest candidates to market to, which features they valued the most and how to improve the experience for other potential users.