UX research tool

Creating a solution to help UX designers decide which research methods to use.


My role

This was a side project which I carried out on my own, under the supervision of my mentors. However, since the end users were my colleagues from the UX team, I collaborated with them frequently for brainstorming, testing sessions or whenever I needed any kind of feedback.

Context

At the time of my internship, there were 10 UX designers at Studyportals and not all of them had the same expertise in UX research. That's why the company decided to create a platform, so that all UX designers could become familiarised with the UX research methods that were taking place at the company (or that could be interesting to use in the future) and also to get inspiration and verification.

The process

Desk research

I started this project doing desk research, meaning reading a lot of UX research books and articles that my mentor and some coworkers suggested.

Once I had enough knowledge, I started editing and completing a Word document about a selection of research methods. I got feedback and iterated on it a total of 4 times. The content of this Word document would be the content of the tool.

The word document I worked on

The word document I worked on.

User research

To empathise with my users, I conducted five short interviews with the objective to:

I opted for interviewing my colleagues because it seemed the fastest way to empathise with them and also because I could clarify ambiguities with follow-up questions right away.

Define

From the interviews, I was able to define the requirements for the visualisation:

Have a categorisation that enables filtering the methods.

Follow the company’s brand style.

Be aesthetically pleasing.

Have as little text as possible.

Be interactive.

Be an easy-to-update tool.

Have an overview that helps comparing the methods.

Ideate

Once I had clarity on my users’ needs and requirements, I started ideating.

Brainstorming

For the ideation, I decided to do individual brainstorming, since this is a technique that always gave me good results, and I felt comfortable using it. After a discussion with a colleague, out of 12 ideas obtained during the brainstorming sessions, I selected 5.

Sticky-note voting session

To choose a final idea, I arranged a meeting to have a discussion with my colleagues, followed by a sticky-note voting session, which was the most convenient convergent method for my users. The ideas regarding "classic filtering" and "tags" were the most appealing for my users. In the end, I decided to use "classic filtering", because is the same system used in Studyportals’ website, and I wanted my tool to be as similar as possible to it.

Sticky-note voting session

Results of the sticky-note voting session.

Prototype

I decided to start prototyping the tool using Sublime and my basic programming skills, to deliver a working product. You can interact with the initial prototype here.

Screenshots of the initial prototype.

However, as my limited programming skills were narrowing my design capabilities, I eventually decided to redesign the platform in Sketch.

Icons

Prior to creating the icons for the research methods, I asked the UX designers which mental picture came to their minds when they thought about the different methods.

mentalpictures

Users’ mental pictures for each method.

Test

To test my prototype, I showed my colleagues the different versions for the visualisation and let them interact with it. I took their feedback and discussed which and how to integrate it in the tool.

The solution

The final design consists of an interactive, aesthetically pleasing and easy to use tool which meets the previously established requirements.

It has an overview in which users can filter the methods, it follows Studyportals' brand style, has only the necessary amount of text, so that users understand well the methods and it's easy to update.

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