As a designer, what's your design research process?

9 years ago from , UX & UI Designer at yugenelee.com

I am still a very new in doing design research, would like to ask how did you all do your design research before you start to execute the design.

I am currently working on a project to revamp a hand-picked freelance portal. It requires me to do some research before I start my execution.

My current way is Skype and face to face chat with friends who are a PM / freelancer.

Thank you.


  • Dan SherrattDan Sherratt, 9 years ago

    I'd say from the looks of things you'd need to do some in depth competitor analysis, take a look at what else is in the market, and perhaps some interviews to find out what people use and why they use it. Perhaps combine this research with some personas as to why these people think these things matter, such as 'Mike needs to [x] and therefore uses [y] because it means he can [z]'

    This way you can then map out why the refresh includes the UX choices you have made, you need to be able to justify your decisions, it's a key weapon when put under pressure in client reviews.

    Then I'd probably move into information architecture, mapping out all the possible avenues of the navigation, perfect user journeys and best possible outcomes, this would help make decisions as to ideal layouts, button placements and how the nav will look and feel across devices (ideally looking primarily at mobile, but taking into account where the traffic is likely to come from)

    This would lead me into creating some mood boards from a UI perspective, so more competitor analysis but with a much broader scope, so looking at things that are only semi-related, such as message boards (even DN) and News sites (the recent influx of refreshes across the board here, from The Guardian to TIME are good examples)

    This should give me a good amount of UX and UI research to make a decent enough start putting together some hi-res wireframes to get a prototype together and do some user testing to see if my decisions make sense to others.

    Then I guess I'd start designing proper.

    Hope this helps!

    8 points
  • Bjarke DaugaardBjarke Daugaard, 9 years ago

    I'm an interaction designer, so my focus is mostly on doing prototyping and qualitative user research. I can recommend this free book/toolkit http://d1r3w4d5z5a88i.cloudfront.net/assets/toolkit/IDEO.org_HCD_ToolKit_English-5fef26ba5fa5761a3b021057d1d4a851.pdf

    6 points
  • Jonathan NemargutJonathan Nemargut, 9 years ago (edited 9 years ago )

    Here's some good resources if you want to look up established research.

    Pew Research Center - http://www.pewresearch.org/

    Gallup - http://www.gallup.com/

    Data.gov - http://www.data.gov/

    Yougov - https://today.yougov.com/

    Nielsen Norman Group - http://www.nngroup.com/

    2 points
  • Robert GrazioliRobert Grazioli, 9 years ago

    I'd check out the following:

    Just Enough Research - $9 (more than worth it) http://www.abookapart.com/products/just-enough-research

    I'm not sure how big your team is, but generally you're going to want to focus on:

    1. Internal Interviews
    2. User Interviews
    3. User Testing
    4. Competitive analysis

    Those are the core tasks we stick to as a small shop. The goal is to develop a process that you can repeat to improve your product. It should be tailored to your particular problem.

    1 point
    • Yugene Lee, 9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing, I have purchase the book! =)

      Only a small team with 2 persons.

      Currently still learning how to make it more practical.

      0 points
  • Jan DJan D, 9 years ago

    I mainly do qualitative research to identify user needs: I do interviews and observations, analyze the data and summarize my findings to project specific design principles.

    The already mentioned "Just Enough Research" and "HCD Toolkit" are nice resources. Since I taught design reserach with focus on small teams with a design or programming background I have written some instructions myself – take a look at http://jdittrich.github.io/userNeedResearchBook/

    0 points
  • Emily SaforrianEmily Saforrian, 9 years ago

    As a consultant my process always starts with a round of stakeholder interviews to understand the space and what their expectations are. Once I've gone through the interviews I'll pull the team together and put together a project overview that defines what success looks like and identify assumptions that need to be researched.

    From there you can begin to define what research methods would be appropriate to answer the questions. Usually, user interviews are a great way to go. Without knowing TOO much it sounds like usability testing competitors products would be a great way to learn how people feel about these portals.

    Lastly, be sure to put pressure on the product management/marketing stakeholders to identify what the market consists of and what needs to be done to capture that market. At SOME point UX/Design research turns into product/marketing research. In other fields it's much more clearly delineated but not so much when it comes to web products.

    0 points
  • Taulant SulkoTaulant Sulko, 9 years ago

    Filling up the Business Model Canvas helps.

    Even though it is a methodology for creating a new business model it also helps getting to know the business that you are working for.

    0 points
    • Yugene Lee, 9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing.

      Great idea, I haven't thought of applying that to my project.

      0 points
  • Mike A.Mike A., 9 years ago

    Hello Yugene, this dependes on what are you trying to find out. Every project is unique and there is a ton of research methods in UX designer's toolkit. So you should know what fits best for your case. Maybe if you can share what you want to find out, we can help.


    0 points
  • Nathan LongNathan Long, 9 years ago

    Maybe explain what you mean by research? Are you talking about usability findings (like over at nngroup.com) or are you talking about finding best practices and design patterns for existing solutions? Or something else entirely?

    0 points
    • Yugene Lee, 9 years ago

      Research on how to make design decision. Like preparing the recipe and ingredients before the cooking start.

      I am researching on how to design a more practical website that could help to improve the sign up rate and communicate the value of the business.

      0 points