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UX Research 
The most powerful tool in your kit? 
Mary Wharmby 
UX Design Director, Spring Studio 
! 
@marywharmby 
www.ma...
You must 
UNDERSTAND 
a problem before 
you can solve it.
Who are we designing for? 
What do they 
want? 
What do they love? 
What do they they hate? 
Who are they with? 
When, whe...
How do we know?
Research.
Top three goals of 
research 
understanding 
empathy 
insight
On that foundation 
generate opportunities 
prioritize features 
inform strategy and tactics
But it doesn’t have to be 
really big or expensive
Research can be as simple as “people watching” 
Listening 
Having a meaningful conversation
Two major purposes 
Generative 
Conducted before 
beginning design. Helps 
identify user goals, 
needs, behaviors, 
attitu...
Ideas 
Generative Prototype Evaluative 
Insights 
Opportunities 
Effectiveness 
Improvements 
Usefulness 
Understanding Us...
Two broad approaches 
Qualitative 
Gain an understanding 
of underlying reasons 
and motivations. 
Provide insights into 
...
Mix and match 
Qualitative Quantitative 
Evaluative Generative 
Interviews 
Usability 
Testing 
Surveys 
Analytics
Regardless of purpose 
or approach, research 
usually has three 
phases
Before, during and after 
Planning Execution Analysis 
Strategize 
Hypothesize 
Script 
Prepare 
Facilitate 
Observe 
List...
Time budgeting 
Time for planning and analysis is usually 
underestimated 
Loose rule of thumb 
Planning : Execution : Ana...
PLANNING
Start broad 
! 
What problem are you 
trying to solve?
Then go narrow 
! 
What specific questions 
will provide insights?
What triggered the journey/encounter? 
What were the expectations? 
What did he or she think, feel, do at different 
point...
How can we find out?
Choose a method 
Stakeholder/SME 
Interviews 
Competitor Reviews 
Observation 
Contextual Inquiry 
Usability Testing 
Focu...
But which method when? 
Focus Groups 
Interviews 
Surveys 
Card Sorting 
Cognitive Walkthrough 
Usability Testing 
User Ne...
Choose participants 
Who are you designing for? 
Choose participants that closely match your target audience. 
Where can y...
Formulate a plan 
Research goal 
Schedule and budget 
Problem / hypotheses 
Recruitment profile/screener (persona hypothes...
Prepare your materials 
Discussion guide 
Post-Its or index cards 
Sharpies 
Prototype 
Visual aids 
Camera 
Recorder 
Not...
EXECUTION
Be ready and nimble 
The better your research is planned and executed, 
the more valid and useful the results. 
Let partic...
Warm it up 
Put your participant at ease - make them welcome and relaxed 
Establish rapport 
Thank them for participating!...
Lead and follow 
Start wide and narrow as you go 
Ask open questions 
Articulate a scenario so the user can orient themsel...
React smoothly 
Answer a question with a question (what do YOU think that 
button should do?) 
Be patient! 
Their are no w...
Capture everything 
Video the interview/encounter 
Sketchnote the interview 
Use sticky notes to record observations and i...
ANALYSIS
What does it mean? 
! 
How can you make the information most 
accessible and actionable to team 
members, stakeholders and...
Create tools 
(design research artifacts) 
! 
Mind maps, personas and 
journey maps are my top three
Discover connections 
with mind maps 
Start with one story then build out 
Group ideas and draw connections 
Look for surp...
References 
Issues 
Link to Source/ 
File & Inline/ 
URL 
Description 
of problem, how 
to fix and 
examples 
Correlated 
...
Understand users 
with personas 
Capture: 
Attitudes and mindsets 
Goals 
Behaviors 
Opportunities 
Who is the user? 
What...
Model context 
with journey maps 
Illuminate the complete experience a person may have with 
your product or service. 
Vis...
Customer STAGES 
Journey 
Research & Planning Shopping Booking Post-Booking, Pre-Travel Travel Post Travel 
EUROPE 
THINKI...
OK, BUT THEN WHAT?
Make use of your artifacts 
Define and rank opportunities 
Inform strategy and tactics 
Share understanding 
within and ac...
And keep using them 
Create living documents that are continuously 
updated 
Gut check designs along the way 
Maintain the...
DON’T FORGET
You must 
UNDERSTAND 
a problem before 
you can solve it.
Research can be the 
MOST POWERFUL TOOL 
in your kit!
Methods will vary from 
project-to-project 
! 
Scope and cost 
will vary (widely)
But, some research 
is always better than 
none.
Thank you! 
Mary Wharmby 
UX Design Director, Spring Studio 
! 
@marywharmby 
www.marywharmby.com
Photo Credits 
Men talking: https://flic.kr/p/zkGwh 
Chess: https://flic.kr/p/e62U9Z 
Lab: https://flic.kr/p/cW3F6C 
Journ...
UX Research - The Most Powerful Tool in Your Kit
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UX Research - The Most Powerful Tool in Your Kit

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Even a small amount of design research has the power to transform your project and lay a foundation for success. This quick primer will give you the tools and understanding needed to get started today.

UX Research - The Most Powerful Tool in Your Kit

  1. 1. UX Research The most powerful tool in your kit? Mary Wharmby UX Design Director, Spring Studio ! @marywharmby www.marywharmby.com Presented to Tradecraft September 30, 2014
  2. 2. You must UNDERSTAND a problem before you can solve it.
  3. 3. Who are we designing for? What do they want? What do they love? What do they they hate? Who are they with? When, where, how do they engage? Where are the hand offs? What is the scenario? How can we help?
  4. 4. How do we know?
  5. 5. Research.
  6. 6. Top three goals of research understanding empathy insight
  7. 7. On that foundation generate opportunities prioritize features inform strategy and tactics
  8. 8. But it doesn’t have to be really big or expensive
  9. 9. Research can be as simple as “people watching” Listening Having a meaningful conversation
  10. 10. Two major purposes Generative Conducted before beginning design. Helps identify user goals, needs, behaviors, attitudes,and mental models. Used to generate ideas for design solutions. Evaluative Conducted once there are designs to test with users. This can be a completed design, wireframes or even concept sketches. Used to determine the success of the design.
  11. 11. Ideas Generative Prototype Evaluative Insights Opportunities Effectiveness Improvements Usefulness Understanding Usability
  12. 12. Two broad approaches Qualitative Gain an understanding of underlying reasons and motivations. Provide insights into setting, touch points and relationships. Quantitative Quantify data and generalize results from a sample. Measure the incidence of various views and opinions in a chosen sample.
  13. 13. Mix and match Qualitative Quantitative Evaluative Generative Interviews Usability Testing Surveys Analytics
  14. 14. Regardless of purpose or approach, research usually has three phases
  15. 15. Before, during and after Planning Execution Analysis Strategize Hypothesize Script Prepare Facilitate Observe Listen Collect Group Synthesize Map Understand
  16. 16. Time budgeting Time for planning and analysis is usually underestimated Loose rule of thumb Planning : Execution : Analysis 1 : 1 : 1 (at least)
  17. 17. PLANNING
  18. 18. Start broad ! What problem are you trying to solve?
  19. 19. Then go narrow ! What specific questions will provide insights?
  20. 20. What triggered the journey/encounter? What were the expectations? What did he or she think, feel, do at different points in time? What touch points did he or she interact with? What people were involved? What tech (screens, devices, etc.) were involved? How was the experience?
  21. 21. How can we find out?
  22. 22. Choose a method Stakeholder/SME Interviews Competitor Reviews Observation Contextual Inquiry Usability Testing Focus Groups Surveys Remote Testing Card Sorting Diary Studies
  23. 23. But which method when? Focus Groups Interviews Surveys Card Sorting Cognitive Walkthrough Usability Testing User Needs Concept x x x Validation Usability ! x ! x x ! x ! ! x x
  24. 24. Choose participants Who are you designing for? Choose participants that closely match your target audience. Where can you find them? Its usually best to observe them in the wild. How can you get them to participate? Many people are interested in helping. Or, compensate.
  25. 25. Formulate a plan Research goal Schedule and budget Problem / hypotheses Recruitment profile/screener (persona hypotheses) Research method Task list Testing environment and/or equipment Facilitator script / discussion guide Evaluation criteria
  26. 26. Prepare your materials Discussion guide Post-Its or index cards Sharpies Prototype Visual aids Camera Recorder Notetaker/observer
  27. 27. EXECUTION
  28. 28. Be ready and nimble The better your research is planned and executed, the more valid and useful the results. Let participants react to your designs and not to the test itself. Pivot when necessary.
  29. 29. Warm it up Put your participant at ease - make them welcome and relaxed Establish rapport Thank them for participating! Give them their overall objective Give them an idea what to expect Make sure they understand we are NOT testing them Explain that you may not be able to answer questions Ask them to think out-loud as they go through tasks
  30. 30. Lead and follow Start wide and narrow as you go Ask open questions Articulate a scenario so the user can orient themselves Don’t ask leading questions Keep the wording of tasks simple Don’t give away the answer in the task description Ask what they are thinking and feeling as well as doing Observe what they do (not necessarily what they say)
  31. 31. React smoothly Answer a question with a question (what do YOU think that button should do?) Be patient! Their are no wrong answers Take criticism with grace At the end answer any questions that came up Thank the participant
  32. 32. Capture everything Video the interview/encounter Sketchnote the interview Use sticky notes to record observations and ideas Take photos of setting and artifacts
  33. 33. ANALYSIS
  34. 34. What does it mean? ! How can you make the information most accessible and actionable to team members, stakeholders and yourself?
  35. 35. Create tools (design research artifacts) ! Mind maps, personas and journey maps are my top three
  36. 36. Discover connections with mind maps Start with one story then build out Group ideas and draw connections Look for surprises, trends and opportunities
  37. 37. References Issues Link to Source/ File & Inline/ URL Description of problem, how to fix and examples Correlated Issues Advice/ Recommend ations Comment History Explanation/ Examples Status (Issue Age) Not Fixed History Fixed (gone) No Attempts Attempt Fail Maps HP Defined Priority Kingdoms PCI OWASP Other Other Other 15 Others High Critical Medium Low First Appearance (new) Which scans has it show in Category (~550)
  38. 38. Understand users with personas Capture: Attitudes and mindsets Goals Behaviors Opportunities Who is the user? What do they care about? What do they love/hate? How do they interact? How can we help?
  39. 39. Model context with journey maps Illuminate the complete experience a person may have with your product or service. Visually describe how an experience unfolds over a period of time and through different touch points and channels. Enable deep understanding of the user’s entire experience. Highlight design opportunities.
  40. 40. Customer STAGES Journey Research & Planning Shopping Booking Post-Booking, Pre-Travel Travel Post Travel EUROPE THINKING EXPERIENCE Enter trips Confirm Wait for paper tickets to arrive Research destinations, routes and products Kayak, compare airfare Google searches Research hotels Talk with friends Enjoyability Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Paper tickets arrive in mail • I’m excited to go to Europe! • Will I be able to see everything I can? • What if I can’t afford this? • I don’t want to make the wrong choice. • It’s hard to trust Trip Advisor. Everyone is so negative. • Keeping track of all the different products is confusing. • Am I sure this is the trip I want to take? • Website experience is easy and friendly! • Frustrated to not know sooner about which tickets are eTickets and which are paper tickets. Not sure my tickets will arrive in time. • Stressed that I’m about to leave the country and Rail Europe won’t answer the phone. • Frustrated that Rail Europe won’t ship tickets to Europe. • Happy to receive my tickets in the mail! • I am feeling vulnerable to be in an unknown place in the middle of the night. • Stressed that the train won’t arrive on time for my connection. • Meeting people who want to show us around is fun, serendipitous, and special. Follow-up on refunds for booking changes • Excited to share my vacation story with my friends. • A bit annoyed to be dealing with ticket issues when I just got home. View maps Arrange travel Blogs & Travel sites Plan with interactive map Review fares Select pass(es) itinerary Delivery options Payment options Review & confirm Map itinerary (finding pass) Destination pages May call if difficulties occur E-ticket Print at Station Web raileurope.com Live chat for questions Activities, unexpected changes Change plans Check ticket status Print e-tickets at home web/apps Look up timetables Plan/ confirm activities Web Share photos Share experience (reviews) Request refunds Share experience Buy additional tickets Look up time tables Opportunities • What is the easiest way to get around Europe? • Where do I want to go? • How much time should I/we spend in each place for site seeing and activities? • I want to get the best price, but I’m willing to pay a little more for first class. • How much will my whole trip cost me? What are my trade-offs? • Are there other activities I can add to my plan? • Do I have all the tickets, passes and reservations I need in this booking so I don’t pay more shipping? • Rail Europe is not answering the phone. How else can I get my question answered? • Do I have everything I need? • Rail Europe website was easy and friendly, but when an issue came up, I couldn’t get help. • What will I do if my tickets don’t arrive in time? • I just figured we could grab a train but there are not more trains. What can we do now? • Am I on the right train? If not, what next? • I want to make more travel plans. How do I do that? • Trying to return ticket I was not able to sure if I’ll get a refund or not. • People are going to love these photos! • Next time, we will explore routes and availability more carefully. Communicate a clear value proposition. visit Arm Enjoyability customers with information for making decisions. STAGES: Shopping, Booking Enjoyability Improve the paper ticket experience. STAGES: Post-Booking, Travel, Post-Travel Enjoyability Support people in creating their own solutions. STAGES: Global Enjoyability Visualize the trip for planning and booking. STAGES: Planning, Shopping Enjoyability Enable people to plan over time. STAGES: Planning, Shopping Accommodate planning and booking in Europe too. STAGE: Traveling Help people get the help they need. STAGES: Global PLANNING, SHOPPING, BOOKING POST-BOOK, TRAVEL, POST-TRAVEL Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Relevance of Rail Europe Helpfulness of Rail Europe Mail tickets for refund Get stamp for refund
  41. 41. OK, BUT THEN WHAT?
  42. 42. Make use of your artifacts Define and rank opportunities Inform strategy and tactics Share understanding within and across teams
  43. 43. And keep using them Create living documents that are continuously updated Gut check designs along the way Maintain the overall vision Keep your audience at the center of your thinking
  44. 44. DON’T FORGET
  45. 45. You must UNDERSTAND a problem before you can solve it.
  46. 46. Research can be the MOST POWERFUL TOOL in your kit!
  47. 47. Methods will vary from project-to-project ! Scope and cost will vary (widely)
  48. 48. But, some research is always better than none.
  49. 49. Thank you! Mary Wharmby UX Design Director, Spring Studio ! @marywharmby www.marywharmby.com
  50. 50. Photo Credits Men talking: https://flic.kr/p/zkGwh Chess: https://flic.kr/p/e62U9Z Lab: https://flic.kr/p/cW3F6C Journey Map: Adaptive Path Road: https://flic.kr/p/4Bo5g Brain: https://flic.kr/p/5kpAF6
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Even a small amount of design research has the power to transform your project and lay a foundation for success. This quick primer will give you the tools and understanding needed to get started today.

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