fortune 500 client: rejuvenating research



A changing corporate environment called for research on a rolling basis, but a broad collection of products lacked up-to-date research support.


To clarify and rejuvenate generative and evaluative research process and provide actionable foundations for design and product moving forward.


phase 1: project brief & kick-off meeting


  1. The designer created a shared working page dedicated to the project at hand.
  2. The product manager or product owner filled out a project brief, specifying current state and needs to the best of their ability.
  3. The researcher interviewed the product team with the designer present in order to flesh out the brief.
  4. The researcher filled out a section on the shared working page describing what product wanted to learn.
  5. Product uploaded any previous research or documentation that might assist research and design in their process.
  6. Product-specific weekly or bi-weekly meetings were scheduled in order to support the ongoing development of the product.


Phase 2: Stakeholder Interviews


  • Participants: Depending upon the project, various stakeholders were interviewed from product, management, and technical. Typically 3-5 stakeholders were interviewed per product.
  • Content: Each interviewee addressed product vision, project goals, user types, pain points, ideal features, precedents, competition, key challenges, and anticipated markers of success.
  • Documentation: The researcher transcribed the interview in real time and produced a summary of results to product.


phase 3: personas and user story backlog


  • Based on the information gathered during the stakeholder interviews, research created personas that specified age, gender, technical capability, income, profession, goals, motivations, and limitations.
  • User story backlogs were created in order to organize user types into categories that housed exemplary statements according to the structure, "User wants to be able to______ so that they can ______.
  • Design refers to user story backlog to improve interface methodically according to user needs
  • Research refers to personas to guide recruiting.


phase 4:expert review and screenshot markups


  • Expert Review: Researcher examines existing product and highlights usability issues in list format with screenshots, citing correlation to heuristics and defining severity on a scale from 1-3 or 1-4.
  • Screenshot Markups: Screenshots of the interface are marked up with arrows and text boxes, citing usability issues and possible solutions in context.
  • The prioritized usability issues and suggested improvements that result from these deliverables support workshops, guide research efforts, assist designers during iteration, and support product planning.