Research and Test Early Concepts

The fourth course in my certification is called “Conduct UX Research and Test Early Concepts.”

Grade: 83.75%

Here are a few highlights and notes from what I learned.

Key Takeaways

Research is a very methodical process. It once again highlights the need for a diverse group of participants in order to get the best possible results. Privacy and security practices are also important to think about ahead of time to respect all participants.

Research Study

A step-by-step examination of a group of users and their needs, which adds realistic context to the design process.

  1. Plan
  2. Research
  3. Synthesize (analyze)
  4. Share


  • Methods
  • Data
  • Conclusions
  • Recommendations

Language and Communication is UX Research

  • Be equitable
  • Be inclusive
  • Be honest
  • Be neutral
  • Be a team player

Elements of a UX Research Plan

  1. Project background
  2. Research goals
  3. Questions
  4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  5. Methodology
  6. Participants
  7. Script

Project Background


  • Gets the team on the same page at the beginning of the study
  • Shows you understand why you’re doing this research
  • Promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis/insights

How to Write A Project Background

  1. Identify the signals that indicated it was necessary
  2. Describe any previous research or solutions
  3. List insights the research will generate

Research Goals

  1. Foundational – help understand why of if you should build the product
  2. Design – understand how to build it
  3. Post-launch – if it works as expected

How to Write Research Questions

  1. Actionable
  2. Specific
  3. Avoid leading questions

Key Performance Indicators

Critical measures of progress towards a goal.

  • Time on task
  • Use of navigation vs. search
  • User error rates
  • Drop off rates
  • Conversion rates
  • System Usability Scale (SUS)


  • People selected for the study
  • Characteristics (have a good reason)
  • Screener survey
  • Incentive (includes a way to thank them)
  • Diver perspectives and abilities


  • Same for each person
  • Open-ended
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Ask same questions from a different angle
  • Don’t mention other users
  • Don’t ask leading questions

Keeping User Data Private

  • It’s the right thing to do
  • Privacy laws and ethics
  • Risk of hacking
  • Protecting your company’s brand

Privacy & Security Practices

  • Be transparent about data collection
  • Only collect essential data
  • Get active consent
  • Provide detail of how you’ll use their information and protect their privacy
  • All users to withdraw
  • Inform users who will have access to their data
  • Explain plan to store and delete user’s data

Privacy Concerns

  • Recording – document study and results to be consistent with UX standards
  • Storage – make sure data is held to be safe from hacking and damage
  • Retention – how long we hold onto research data
  • De-identification – remove identifying information from user’s data
  • NDA – contract that gives on party legal protection against another stealing their ideas

Moderated Usability Studies


  • Guide participant through study
  • Ask questions and follow up in real time
  • Rapport building


  • Moderator could influence or bias users
  • Less flexible
  • May not identify with moderator

Unmoderated Usability Studies


  • Use product in the real world
  • Complete task in their own time and space
  • More comfortable giving honest feedback


  • No guidance if there are issues
  • No real-time follow up
  • No control over environment

Best Practices

  • Get comfortable
  • Put people first
  • Don’t skip the paperwork
  • Communicate clearly
  • Ask the right questions

Strong Insights

  • Frounded in real data
  • Answers the research questions
  • Easy to understand
  • Increase empathy for the user experience

“Fall in love with the problem, not the solution itself.”