UX Research

Preparing and conducting one-on-one test sessions

Conduct end-to-end UX research process including stakeholders meetings, research planning, test sessions, analysis, and recommendations. Manage the whole process, organise recruitment, lab settings, and live streaming. Perform test sessions with users, record observations and inquire into issues. Cooperate with clients’ CX and UX teams. Deliver presentations to stakeholders.

Clients

At U1 Group with Westpac, St. George, Qantas.

Mobilited.com

Techniques

Stakeholder workshops, User research, User testing, Usability testing

Team

UI Designer, 2 Developers, Project manager, English teacher

Tools

Pen and pencil, Morae Studio, Invision App, Axure RP, Adobe Illustrator, MS Excel, PowerPoint

Recently I’ve been working as a UX Researcher focused on test sessions with participants. I present them sketches, working interfaces or observe them in their natural environment and investigate issues. Then I analyse and interpret findings to provide clear recommendations. I’ve worked with Australia's biggest brands like Westpac, St. George, Qantas, as well as for start-up ventures.

Research scope

I cooperate with a client to define a research scope. At this stage, I meet with crucial stakeholders and designers involved to understand what part of their product user experience need to be tested. Based on initial findings I recommend the best suitable research method, which can give answers to the most important questions.

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User classes

The appropriate selection of study participants is the key to getting valuable results and meaningful recommendations. Each time I try to find out who would be a real user. Usually, it leads to defining several user classes. It is common to present such class as an individual fictional person, kind of an archetype – a persona.

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Recruitment specification

With defined potential user classes, the next step is to find right participants. Usually, I cooperate in this matter with specialised agencies. I need to provide them with a detailed recruitment specification which expresses every important participant’s characteristic.

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Moderation guide

Moderation guide is a detailed description of each user test session plan. It often contains introductory information about test session in general, participant’s consent to be recorded, some imaginary scenario for the test session purposes and each task with key observation points and follow up questions. Usually, it ends with questionnaires about tested interface or function. Moderation guide helps the researcher to be consistent through test sessions.

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Test sessions

During each test session, I follow a moderation guide, but I am also open to improvising a little. Each test session is an excellent opportunity to talk to real users and listen to their feelings, motivations and expectations. As such sessions can be enhanced by quantitative measurements, it is important to keep in mind that the qualitative aspect of individual test sessions is the most important and the possibility to delve into the issue even with one participant is reasonable.

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Findings analysis and interpretation

The most important part of each user research comes after test sessions. Observations, recordings, session transcripts, participants’ verbatims, questionnaire answers need to be analysed. Sometimes post-it notes with categorised findings are sufficient. Another time sophisticated spreadsheet analysis of each screen or issue is needed. It depends on research scope. That’s why it is important to think about it at the first stage.

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Provide recommendations

One thing is to find and understand an issue; the other is to provide a reasonable solution. With my computer science background, it’s easier for me to understand technical limitations and possibilities available in used technology. I always try to find the easiest quick way to improve faulty aspect and also a comprehensive solution which usually need more time and work to be applied.

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Report

A report is a crucial deliverable from user research. Of course, it is usually backed with recordings from all test sessions and other documentation, but only a concise report have a chance to be viewed by key stakeholders. I always try to keep a reader in context by providing images, screens or comparison between presented versions. Usually, I also add some user quotes to back my findings with real-life examples.

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Cooperate with clients’ CX and UX teams

Even when I work as an independent UX consultant, real cooperation with internal Customer Experience or User Experience team is important at every stage. I encourage stakeholders, designers and other involved people to attend and watch user test sessions by themselves. After each test session, it’s good to have a quick chat with them about possible changes. Also, some findings are quite evident after few sessions and quick decisions can be made without time-consuming analysis and reports.

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Presentation to stakeholders

As a rule, each user research is completed by a presentation. This is a perfect opportunity for all people involved to be familiarised with research methodology, findings, analysis and recommendations. This leads to discussion and often decision-making. Visual presentation can also be shown later to other people or teams as an example. It is also a good idea to keep it as a reference point.

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