User Research

I begin every research project with the same four questions

  1. Is the research outcome a specific design solution? A product? A theory of our user’s motivations?
  2. Is the audience a UX Designer? A company? A research community?
  3. What are the constraints for our budget, schedule, staffing and recruitment?
  4. Should this be a one-off study, or part of a Research Ops process?

The methods, scope and deliverables of each research project are determined by the answers to these questions.

RideAmigos Admin Redesign
Lead ResearcherInterviewsFocus groups
  • Led evaluative research with Admin users
  • Conducted structured interviews and a focus group to understand user needs and usability issues
  • Used results guide changes to the Rideamigos desktop application by the Product and Dev teams
  • Stakeholders to convince: Product leadership, dev team
See the full case study
RideAmigos Commute Tracker Mobile Trip Planning
Lead ResearcherCognitive walkthroughs
  • Led team in evaluative research with commuters
  • Conducted cognitive walkthroughs to understand user needs and usability issues
  • Used results to guide design of mobile application user flow for Product, Leadership and Dev teams
See the full case study
Choir Product Research
Lead ResearcherCognitive walkthroughsParticipatory Design
  • Led team in generative and evaluative research with hundreds of learners
  • Conducted surveys with learners to understand user experience on Choir platform
  • Used Google Analytics to understand user flow patterns
  • Used results to persuade investors, experts, learners and guide changes in Choir product design and development
Choir Expert Interviews
Lead ResearcherStructured InterviewsResearch Ops
  • Led team in generative and evaluative research with 50+ experts
  • 100+ hours of structured interviews (including novel drawing exercise) to uncover expert practices
  • Used the results to convince investors, experts, learners and guide changes in Choir product design and development
  • Also used results as material for TEDx talk and other presentations
Bricks and Clicks: Participatory Organizational Design through Microparticipation
Lead ResearcherParticipatory DesignWorkshops
  • Led team in generative and evaluative research with 10+ small businesses
  • Conducted workshops and onsite prototype testing of hypothesis that customers and employees could collaborate on business strategy
  • Presented findings to participants to business participants and at Social Informatics conference
Download the published research
Digital Fluency Book Research
Lead ResearcherField Research
  • Led team in field research with 10+ organizations
  • Conducted field research and structured interviews to understand digital fluency in digital collaboration
  • Used the results as the basis for presentations and a book
Digital Fluency: Building Success in the Digital Age
Age-related Differences in Online Social Networking
Co-ResearcherNetwork Analysis
  • Worked with a researcher to investigate age-related differences in 35,000 MySpace users
  • Developed a custom web crawler and performed analysis on dataset
  • Used the results as the basis for an academic paper
Download the published research
IU Communications Digital Fluency Project
Lead ResearcherStructured InterviewsWorkshopsSurveysSurvey Tool Design/Dev
  • Led team in evaluative research and training with all parts of IU’s Communications staff and leadership
  • Conducted structured interviews, surveys and reports to identify the organization's Digital Fluency strengths/weaknesses
  • Results were shared with the entire organization and used to design a digital fluency workshops
Zappos Digital Reflective Practice Research
Lead ResearcherSurveys
  • Led team in evaluative research with 200+ Zappos employees
  • Conducted surveys to understand Zappos employees use of social media as reflective practice
  • Statistical analysis was conducted and presented to Zappos HR department
BigTreeTop Product Research
Lead ResearcherStructured interviewsWorkshops
  • Led team in generative and evaluative research with 50+ small business owners
  • Conducted structured interviews and group workshops with small business owners to discover needs for connecting with customers
  • Cognitive walkthroughs to understand to understand user flow patterns
  • Used Google Analytics
  • Results were used by Dev team to inform the design and redesign of BigTreeTop platform
Ahold Global/Stop&Shop KPI Dashboard Research
ResearcherWorkshopsBusiness Analysis
  • Conducted generative research with General Managers of the top 10 performing Stop&Shop supermarkets in New England and Ahold Global leadership
  • Conducted structured interviews and workshops to identify critical KPI’s for inclusion on Business Intelligence dashboards
  • Results were used to build business intelligence dashboards for stakeholders at Stop&Shop and Ahold Global
Walmart Mobile Executive Dashboards
ResearcherStructured InterviewsBusiness Analysis
  • Conducted structured interviews with managers responsible for national executive visits
  • Identified KPI’s that would be deliverable via mobile interface to Walmart executives on weekly onsite store visits
  • Dashboard delivered to team and used by executives
SociaLens Digital Fluency Assessment Tool Research
Lead ResearcherSurveysSurvey Tool Design/Dev
  • Led team in generative and Evaluative research with 100+ employees across several organizations
  • Developed and tested a survey-based tool for assessing Digital Fluency-related organizational factors
  • Results were presented back to all organizational participants
5/3 Bank Loan Officer Research
Usability ResearcherStructured InterviewsHeuristic Evaluation
  • Conducted structured interviews with fifteen Loan Officers for 5/3 Bank
  • Interviews and Heuristic Evaluation used to inform platform usability improvements