How to Persuade Your Leaders to Invest in UX

What can you do when your boss or your organization’s leaders say “no” to design?

An ongoing challenge shared by many UX professionals is getting the green light to move forward on a solution to improve the user experience.

Believing UX is the right thing to do isn’t enough. As UX strategists, we must categorically demonstrate the business value, too.

Continue reading “How to Persuade Your Leaders to Invest in UX”

8 Ways to Share User Research Findings & Customer Insights

Now that your UX research has been synthesized and shaped into a compelling story backed by data — what’s the best way to get it into the hands of decision-makers (and the rest of the team)?

1. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

What’s the saying about repeating something 7 times before it sinks in? True or not, I find repetition is the best method for implanting research findings into others’ brains.

Bring past researching findings forward into new research reports. Never assume older insights are old news.

In cognitive neuroscientist Carmen Simon‘s studies, she found people forget up to 90% of what you communicate.

2. Research Sound Bites

Repackage research insights as infographics or PPT slides that can be used by others throughout the organization in their own deliverables and reports.

3. Research Library

For one of my clients, I uploaded every research report and interview recording into a network directory that was accessible to everyone in their marketing department.

Every research report followed the same naming convention, so that others could easily find relevant findings:


4. Communication Tools

Get research findings out of PowerPoint and into more hands-on communication tools and activities, such as:

  • Customer journey maps
  • Storyboards / comic strips
  • Empathy maps
  • Personas
  • Role-playing exercises
  • Activation workshops

5. Museum

You may have seen the lengths some organizations go to create immersive experiences. Videos, artifacts, and placards detail the insights uncovered about their target audience in a museum-like setting.

You can do something similar for a lot less expense and formality…

Take over an empty office or a blank wall by taping up print-outs of your research findings. Post print-outs of your mock-ups and then write insights directly on them or tag areas with sticky notes.

One time, I created a little vignette about each diary study participant — using their photo, demographics, and diary entries. Using different color markers, I highlighted parts of the diary entries to help casual observers quickly focus on key information and themes.

6. Slack

Slack, or other internal online communities, is a great use for your research sound bites. Create and share infographics to help reinforce insights about your customers.

Another idea: create a channel devoted entirely to research insights.

7. Google Sheets

Using Google Sheets and Docs is a fast way to update data in real-time. Keep the whole team informed by uploading interview notes or recaps at the end of each work day.

Use Google Sheets to track usability issues. Over time, the team can see which usability issues fade away or continue to bedevil users.

Caution: I’ve tried typing my interview notes directly into Google during a session, but have gotten burned. Translation: lost interview notes.

8. Private YouTube

MP3 files are often too big to email, which makes sharing usability sessions difficult, if not impossible. To get around this, I upload the videos to YouTube — set to “private.”

Other storage options: Google Drive, Vimeo, Dropbox.

Bonus Tips

9. Posters

Among my colleagues, I’m well-known for my love of posters. Choose topics that require a highly visual story, then go big! I love printing giant posters for customer journey maps, site maps, complex user flows, and competitive analyses.

At Staples, you can print black and white 3×4-foot posters (called blueprints) for around $4. Color posters also are very reasonably priced.

10. TV Show

Develop your own reality TV show based on your target audience. Whether monthly or quarterly, create episodes that showcase how customers interact with your products in their everyday lives.

UK grocer, Asda has produced a monthly TV show called “Our Home” for the past 2 years. The episodes are storyboarded in advance and are built around themes, such as “Halloween.” The show’s “stars” are 9 real families who were intercepted while shopping in their grocery stores (then vetted via follow-up IDIs).

11. Insights Database

Individual insights quickly become forgotten when they’re trapped in research reports. Ensure research insights remain accessible by inputting and tagging them individually in a searchable database.

Build your own database, or try companies like Airtable, Trello, or Asana.

12. Podcast

For teams on the go, create a podcast series. Interview a UX researcher or product manager about their most recent study, and ask them to share their insights.

If you’re conducting a longer diary study, share IDIs or read aloud participants’ written diary entries. Or, intercut IDI clips with a discussion about what the research participant just talked about.

13. Story Book

Collect photos and stories from real customers, and then publish them in a hardbound, four-color book. The goal of this book is to strengthen the empathy the team has for their users.

Tip: Ensure the team doesn’t mistake these stories for personas—they are significantly different.

Related Articles

24 Best Practices for Optimizing a Customer Lifecycle Communication Program

Your organization is supported by talented and passionate people who want to deliver the best possible customer communication.

There’s a lot to say. You want customers to renew their subscription or buy more stuff. You’re responding to customer service and tech support questions. There are statuses, receipts, and acknowledgments to send. Satisfaction survey results to gather.

A/B testing helps you improve open-rates and click-throughs, but there’s more to think about when creating a holistic communication strategy that nurtures, engages, and motivates customers to take action throughout the entire lifecycle.

Here are 24 principles to consider as you continue to build out your customer lifecycle communication program:

1. Tracking & Measurement

Understand how communications perform in order to provide a better overall customer experience. Consider how even one-to-one communications could be tracked and measured.

2. User Experience

Deliver clear, concise information. Provide self-service tools. Use a consistent design and voice across all communication. Consider the entire user experience — from email to landing page to action to confirmation and  on and on.

3. Personalization & Segmentation

Only send communication that is relevant and personalized. No email blasts.

4. Awareness & Engagement

Promote and engage customers with support services and tools. Help customers help themselves.

5. Communication Tools

Find the best ways to communicate with customers — email isn’t the only channel.

6. Automation

Automate communication based on timing and customer behaviors.

7. Quality Assurance

Ensure all data and information is 100% accurate before it’s communicated to customers. Make sure all links work, images load, and layouts respond down to mobile as expected.

8. Customer Success

Create content that educates and informs customers about how to be successful using your product.

9. Communication Timing

Send the right communication at the right time.

10. Collaboration

Collaborate with other teams to ensure all communication is aligned (and not redundant or contradictory).

11. Visibility

Give customer-facing teams access to every communication sent to customers so they can better serve them.

12. Content Management

Update, share, and organize existing content for other internal teams to leverage.

13. Customer Service

Ensure support teams are a visible, accessible, and approachable support system to customers.

14. Advocacy

Teach and provide tools to raving fans so they understand how to champion your product. Tell them what else they can do to support you besides referring a friend or retweeting.

15. Staffing

Hire enough staff, and then train them with the right skills to most effectively support your customers.

16. Program Management

Use a formal process to develop and manage communication strategy and execution.

17. Automated Risk Detection

Flag at-risk customers for human intervention to prevent them from falling through the cracks.

18. Profile Management

Update customer contact information in real time, across all systems.

19. Preference Center

Customers can opt-in to only the communications they want and in the channel they want.

20. System Integration

Maintain and support integration between technologies and data.

21. Compliance

Ensure all communication adheres to ADA requirements, and email adheres to the CAN-SPAM Act.

22. Coaching

Provide ongoing coaching to customer-facing teams so they can better communicate with customers.

23. Customer Insights

Fill in knowledge gaps about customers to better support and communicate to them.

24. Community Development

Help customers connect and support each other.

Related Articles

UX Case Study: New Customer Onboarding Journey Map
Redesign Your Web Analytics Dashboard for Better Insights
UX-First Transactional Emails

4 Ways to Analyze Qualitative UX Research

After conducting 8 or more customer interviews, themes will start to bubble up.

But often, there are many more smaller nuances — or even surprises — that remain hidden and need to be unlocked.

To mine these gold nuggets, there can be an enormous amount of effort that goes into prepping qualitative, or unstructured, data. In most cases, I will spend a solid day (or more) getting the data ready for more careful scrutiny.

Unstructured data can come from:

  • Open-ended questions in a survey
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Diary studies
  • Field studies
  • Usability studies
  • Stakeholder workshops
  • Brainstorm sessions
  • Focus groups
  • Customer service logs

Here are 4 ways I analyze unstructured data:

1. Put data into a spreadsheet

When I’m conducting lots of interviews or workshops, I paste the verbatim participant quotes into a spreadsheet. Each participant gets a row. Each interview question gets its own column.

To save myself a step, I sometimes type my interview notes directly into a spreadsheet (rather than in a Word document).

Now, I can easily sort, filter, and code the data.

2. Create word clouds

word cloud

Before hand coding unstructured data, it can be enlightening to first use a word cloud tool. It’s easy to see which words pop using this tool and figure out which keywords to focus on when I return to my spreadsheet.

Prior to using the word cloud tool, I usually do additional data cleaning. For example, I will change supported, supportive, and support to all say “supportive,” and then run the raw text through the word cloud tool. Now, instead of splitting the vote 3 ways, the concept of “supportive” gets the attention it deserves.

A note of caution… a word cloud is an analysis tool, not analysis output. Creating a word cloud isn’t the end of the analysis. Why do people feel anxious? Amazing? Confused? Deeper work is needed to understand what’s really going on.

3. Create affinity maps using sticky notes

Sometimes the number of themes is too overwhelming to report in a meaningful way. Who wants to look at a bullet point list of 50 themes? No one.

When this happens, I’ll write each theme or idea onto a separate sticky note. Next, I arrange the stickies on a wall, and then group similar ideas together.

Now, I can roll up dozens of themes into 3 to 5 key takeaways and create a findings report with more impact.

4. Create a mind map

This is exactly the same method as No. 3, just digitized.

When I’m collecting hundreds of insights over a long period of time or across multiple studies for the same project, then this is my go-to method. As I go through my notes or participant verbatims, I add and organize new insights to a mind map.

My preferred mind mapping tool is MindMeister. What’s yours?

In Conclusion

When interviewing customers, be sure to build in extra time after each session to:

  • Reflect.
  • Clean up your notes.
  • Conduct recap sessions with other observers.
  • Capture your overall impressions about the participant.
  • Take a photo of the participant (to keep all of them straight in your head).

These extra steps will help make analysis easier AND help create richer, more vibrant customer stories for the findings report.

Related Articles

How I Plan User Research
28 User Research Methods
Inside My Toolkit: UX Research Apps & Tools

Inside My Toolkit: UX Research Apps & Tools

Here are the apps and digital tools that I most frequently use to communicate, conduct, and analyze UX research.


For online surveys and screening, I prefer to use Qualtrics for its powerful branching capabilities and analysis capabilities. I’ve also used SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, and Google Forms.

Microsoft Suite

I use Word mostly for creating research plans and discussion guides.

Excel is used for managing research participants, tracking gratuity payments, research analysis, taking or organizing research notes, calculating project costs, and auditing content.

 I use PowerPoint to create research reports.

Google Drive

Includes: Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. It’s hard to remember life before Google Drive. I use Google Drive for collaborating on blog posts, diary studies, documenting usability issues in real time with clients, and keeping track of ideas.


Used for diagramming user flows, process flows, use cases, and clickable prototypes. 


Used for diagramming customer journey maps and other UX deliverables.


I primarily use Skype for remote mobile usability tests — using the laptop hug method. 


I use Zoom for remote studies such as usability testing and contextual inquiries. Previously, I used Join.Me until they canceled their monthly subscription option. I’ve also used Adobe Connect, WebEx, and GoToMeeting.


 The jigsaw puzzle of scheduling 30 research participants across multiple time zones is now a piece of cake: Participants schedule themselves.


I’m pretty sure I use SnagIt almost every day to screen grab something for a presentation. With SnagIt, I’m able to easily screen capture long scrolling pages. I also use it to record video walk-throughs.


RealTimeBoard and Mural are both excellent remote collaboration tools. 


My favorite way to use this mindmapping tool is to collect and organize insights from a research study. It’s so much easier to see patterns here than in Excel or on a wall of 1,000 Post-Its (that keep falling off).


I use Treejack for tree testing and OptimalSort for open or closed card sorts.


I use dscout for diary studies.

For B2B qualitative research studies, Respondent uses verified LinkedIn accounts to allow me to target specific professions or job titles. They have an incredible interface to manage participants.

Mental Notes

I was one of the lucky ones to snag a deck of “Mental Notes.” The deck includes 50 cognitive psychology tactics to persuade users to take actions — such as social proof, curiosity, and complete the set.

IDEO Method Cards

This deck of cards includes activities for internal stakeholders to collaborate and look at problems from a different perspective.


At Staples, you can print giant posters (called engineering prints) for just $4. FedEx also prints giant posters, but for considerably more money.

Related Articles

My Favorite UX & Non-UX Resources

An evolving list of my favorite books, videos, and podcasts that I have found helpful in my career:


“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

A little book of small ways to build momentum. One of my favorites: Don’t break the chain. Buy a giant calendar, then set out to complete the same challenge every day. Cross off each day you complete the activity, and soon there’s no going back… otherwise you will break the chain.

“Show & Tell” by Dan Roam

This book has some really nice, illustrative frameworks for how to get better at storytelling.

“Give & Take” by Adam Grant

I stumbled on this book by accident when I was researching the art of collaboration. Wow. It’s not about collaboration, but I’ve been recommending it to everyone since. Read it.

“Group Genius: The Power of Collaboration” by Keith Sawyer

Name any great artist, writer, inventor, or scientist, and you will discover that they were not a lone genius. Some of the most famous people from history would have remained unknown if it had not been for collaborating with others on their break-through projects.

“Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message” by Michael Masterson & John Forde

The ideas in this book are so common sense and yet so brilliant.

“Managing Enterprise Content” by Ann Rockley & Charles Cooper

I recommend this book to anyone who is about to buy an enterprise-level content management system or who thinks a web CMS is the only type of CMS.

“Measuring the User Experience” by Thomas Tullis & William Albert

If you like both user research AND numbers, this book is for you. Or, if you’re teaching a UX measurement class, this makes a perfect textbook.

“Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras

Also read “Good to Great.”

“Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using Data You Already Have” by Dimitri Maex & Paul B. Brown

This is one of my favorite books about big data because it was one of the few I could understand—Ha. Their gold nugget, jackpot, and acorn metaphors makes this book worth reading.

“The Tipping Point” by Malcom Gladwell

All of Gladwell’s books are lined up on my bookcase. I love this one because it perfectly illustrates how to turn data into captivating stories.

“Content Rules” by Ann Handley & CC Chapman

Every best practice for every content format.

“1oo Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” by Susan M. Weinschenk

Psychology concepts written by a UX designer.

“Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton

This is a book you need to own, not borrow — as there is a one-time use code inside you can use to discover your strengths. Also, purchase this version, not “StrengthsFinder 2.0.” This one is much better.

“On Writing Well” by William Zinsser

One of the intimidating parts about writing a blog is the fear of not being original. But then William reminded me: “It was my book about baseball and my book about jazz. Other writers would write their book.” 


“The 4 Ways Sound Affects Us” TedTalk by Julian Treasure

UX isn’t just what we can see. It’s what we cannot see and all the spaces in-between. Watch Julian’s TedTalk if you need more convincing. You won’t walk into any public space without taking note of the sounds again.

“Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce” by Malcom Gladwell

I believe this was the very first TedTalk I ever watched. Still one of the best.

“Is Design Metrically Opposed?” by Jared Spool

If you think bounce rates and website visits are dumb KPIs, you will really like this video. Jared explains why you are 100% right.


“I ♥ CX” – Forrester Research

This podcast is all about experiences that include and go beyond digital. How an experience feels, sounds, and looks — whether on a computer screen (digital) or boarding process onto a plane (real-life) — is all UX. Er, CX.

“Online Marketing Made Easy” – Amy Porterfield

I avoided this podcast for a very long time because the name of it was so ridiculous. I finally relented, and OMG. So much practical, how to information about Facebook marketing, email list building, running webinars, and more.

“99% Invisible” – Roman Mars

This is an incredible example of exceptional storytelling. Steal this format for your podcast.

3 Tips for More Successful Prototype Testing

One of the best uses of limited development dollars is to usability test a prototype as early as possible.

Test too early in the design process — and participants may not fully understand what they’re looking at.

Test too late — and you likely will trash quite a bit of work (and money).

Here are 3 tips when prototype testing to ensure maximum return on investment:

1. Test the right level of fidelity

You want to usability test somewhere between “a bunch of doodles” and polished design.

Don’t wait for a 100% finished product or site to begin usability testing.

As soon as a concept has been validated as an awesome idea by your target audience, next create a prototype. It saves tons of money and cuts down on internal disagreements (and meetings!).

Answer key questions about the user experience ASAP:

  • Does the overall experience meet expectations?
  • Is wayfinding and navigation easy to use?
  • Is the content strategy right?
  • Is labeling intuitive and jargon-free?
  • Are CTAs clear?
  • Is the information hierarchy clear?
  • Are UI controls easily understood?

2. Use almost real (or real) copy

If there’s dummy text (also known as “Lorem Ipsum”) anywhere on the page — it’s not ready for usability testing.

Using “Lorem Ipsum” in headlines, calls-to-action, buttons, instructions, error messages, and other critical places will be extremely confusing and frustrating for most people.

Copy in the prototype doesn’t need to be the final copy, but the text should capture the essence of what the user will actually read.

For example, here’s real copy taken from

“In addition to the Genius Bar for hardware repairs, you have more immediate support options. Get your questions answered by an expert via phone, chat, email, or even Twitter. From setting up your device to recovering your Apple ID to replacing the screen, Apple Support has you covered.”

And here’s what a designer or developer might have written to use in the prototype (and is suitable for testing):

“Get help with Apple products or other support, such as replacing a cracked screen.”

Be careful with faux copy. Tone of voice can impact the test in unexpected ways. Unless it’s “on brand,” passive-aggressive, sarcastic, or error-laden copy can be off-putting and overshadow your research objectives.

3. Mock up a sample prototype

For some users, it can be beneficial to see an example of a well-known site at the same level of fidelity as your prototype (prior to seeing your prototype).

This extra step can help ensure participant focus on the right things (e.g., content, scrolling), rather than the lack of color or unfinished feel of the prototype.

Related Articles

What to Usability Test First
10 Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting a Usability Study
The 5-Step Process I Use to Plan & Conduct Usability Studies

UX Case Study: New Customer Onboarding Journey Map

My challenge: What types of support do new customers need in the first 90 days?

My client wanted to understand their new customers’ frustrations, moments of delight, and overall experience in order to improve product adoption and self-service.

My role in this project was lead researcher. The subsequent implementation phase was led by the client’s internal teams.

Pre-research activities:

  • Conduct workshops with subject matter experts to develop journey map hypotheses and identify knowledge gaps
  • Review existing customer research
  • Receive product demos from product owners

Customer research activities:

  • Conduct 3-month-long diary study with new customers, including multiple phone interviews with each participant
  • Communicate research findings to the project team throughout study
  • Analyze diaries and phone interview findings

Journey map activities:

  • Organize research insights into themes
  • Develop customer journey map, including key themes, opportunities, touchpoints, and customer sentiment
  • Socialize final journey map throughout organization
  • Consult on new customer communication strategy and tactical plans

During this project, I worked with a wide cross-section of the organization: sales representatives, customer service representatives, marketing communication specialists, product designers, product owners, marketing researchers, executive leadership, and other business stakeholders.

My primary client (and research partner) was the new customer marketing communication manager.

The entire planning, research, and mapping phase took approx. 10 months to complete.

Step 1: Discovery

Duration: 1 month

Prior to this project, I had a limited understanding of the current state customer onboarding experience.

My first step for this project was to learn everything the organization already knew. To do this, I assembled multiple workshops with customer-facing groups to create empathy maps (i.e., think, feel, do).

Next, I tracked down prior research and thinking to help me assemble a clearer picture of the current experience.

Step 2: Journey Map Draft

Duration: 2 months

To sort out everything I had gathered so far, I created a draft of the journey map. I did this prior to conducting any customer research because I wanted a visual to help me:

  • Identify knowledge gaps
  • Identify assumptions to validate

I socialized this early draft with key stakeholders to find more gaps and develop additional hypotheses.

Step 3: Diary Study

Duration: 4 months

In my customer research plan, I outlined my research approach, target audience, recruiting methodology, and overall research objectives.

Once the research plan was approved, next I created a screener and discussion guides. I recruited 26 new customers via an email invitation prior to them using the product the first time.

The diary study included 2 components:

  • Written diary
  • Phone interviews at key points in the journey (i.e., before using product the first time, while using product, study wrap-up)

I used Google Docs for the customer diaries, which allowed me to observe diary entries in real time and add questions or comments along the way.

Participants documented every time they used the product (what they did and when), their experience using it, and how each experience made them feel (sentiment).

To bring along business stakeholders and help them stay connected to the research, I led bi-weekly status meetings to share the raw findings.

Over the 3-month study, I collected more than 2,000 diary entries.

Step 4: Research Analysis

Duration: 2 months

At the conclusion of the study, I exported all diary entries into a spreadsheet.

I hand-coded each entry for:

  • Activity
  • Touchpoints
  • Sentiment (positive, neutral, negative)
  • Emotion (e.g., happy, frustrated)
  • Theme
  • Sub-theme
  • Journey stage (e.g., beginning, middle)

If more than half of the participants documented the same theme (e.g., frustration about a particular topic), I included it as a key finding for the journey map.

Step 5: Journey Map + Strategy

Duration: 2 months

In examining dozens of themes and emotions, very clear patterns emerged. I used a lot of sticky notes to help me see higher-level insights and relationships.

Next, I charted the participants’ emotions, key activities, and communications during each stage of their journey.

I used Visio to create the journey map.

The final journey map measured 48”H x 42”W (printed in full-color on poster paper), and included several visuals to reinforce the themes, sub-themes, and journey stages.

Next, my client partner and I boiled down the research into a single key insight (a North Star everyone could rally behind), and then collaboratively developed a 3-prong communication strategy to better support and engage new customers going forward.

Step 6: Knowledge Transfer

Duration: Ongoing

The final step was transferring the knowledge gained during the study to rest of the organization. In many cases, the journey map validated information client stakeholders had heard anecdotally. Other times, stakeholders were surprised by certain customer behaviors or attitudes.

Since the completion of the journey map, this client has made dozens of significant changes to the new customer experience, plus prioritized several new initiatives for the coming year.

An early business outcome was the significant improvement in email open-rates and click-through rates as the direct result of more relevant, useful communication.

Related Articles

Customer Journey Mapping in 5 Steps
Digitizing the Output of a Customer Journey Map Workshop
The Pros + Cons of Using Google Docs for Diary Studies

Tackle UX Research Questions Using Triangulation

Outlier or gold nugget? To reduce risk, ensure two (or more) UX research methods derive the same results.

Tackle research questions using multiple perspectives and methods.

TYPE: Attitudinal or Behavioral

Attitudinal Research

Attitudinal research helps you understand how customers FEEL about a problem, solution, or experience.

Examples:Social Listening, Text Mining, Collage Study

Behavioral Research

Behavioral research helps you understand how customers ACT. What, where, when, and how do customers behave?

Examples:Tree Test, Usability Study, Scroll Map

ROLE: Self-Reported or Observational

Self-Reported Research

In self-reported research, customers report their own attitudes or behaviors. Use caution when choosing self-reported research methods — especially when a question relies on a customer’s (often faulty) memory.

Examples:Survey, Customer Interview

Observational Research

In observational research, researchers see customer behaviors and attitudes first-hand. During usability testing, I can observe a customer’s frustrations just by their facial expressions and don’t need to rely only on what they say.

Examples: Heat Map, Usability Study, Contextual Inquiry

SIZE: Quantitative or Qualitative

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research answers “how many” or “how often.”

Examples:Survey, Web Analytics, Card Sort

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is used to understand underlying reasons, opinions, or motivations. It answers “why” something happens.

Examples: Customer Interview, Diary Study

Related Articles

When to Use Which UX Research Method
28 User Research Methods

When to Use Which UX Research Method

With more than 50 UX research methods available, when or where in the design process is the best place to use them?

What does your organization or team want to learn more about? There are a several different methods to consider—depending on your research objective.

  • Discovery & problem exploration
  • User behaviors
  • Navigation
  • Content or labeling
  • Design
  • Usability or concept validation
  • UX metrics
  • Innovation

Discovery & Problem Exploration

Research goal: To discover unknown customer pain points or barriers that your product or organization might be able to solve.

Research goal: To gain a deeper understanding of a known customer pain point, barrier, current state experience, user preferences, etc.

UX research methods for discovering or exploring problems:

  • In-depth interviews (phone or face-to-face)
  • Diary study
  • Ethnography / field study
  • Contextual inquiry
  • Collage study
  • Survey

User Behaviors

Research goal: To better understand how your customers think and behave.

UX research methods for observing user behaviors:

  • Web analytics
  • Search log analysis
  • Customer listening
  • User session replay
  • Contextual inquiry
  • Ethnography / field study
  • Big data analysis
  • Text mining
  • Facial analysis
  • Social listening


Research goal: To discover user priorities.

Research goal: To determine the best design way to organize information.

Research goal: To evaluate current or proposed navigation structure.

UX research methods for designing or evaluating navigation:

  • Top task analysis
  • Open or closed card sort
  • Tree test
  • Usability study
  • Survey

Content or Labeling

Research goal: To evaluate the effectiveness of the content.

UX research methods for evaluating content:

  • Readability test
  • Cloze test
  • Usability study
  • Tone of voice pairs
  • Read against the grain
  • SUPR-Q

Research goal: To evaluate the effectiveness of labels.

UX research methods for evaluating labels:

  • Tree test
  • Closed card sort
  • Usability study


Research goal: To evaluate the aesthetics of the design.

Research goal: To evaluate the effectiveness of the design and layout.

UX research methods for evaluating design:

  • Desirability test
  • Usability study
  • 5-second memory test
  • A/B test
  • Heat map
  • Scroll map
  • Eye-tracking study
  • Facial analysis
  • SUPR-Q

Usability or Concept Validation

Research goal: To evaluate the user flow, usability, findability, or task completion rates.

UX research methods for evaluating usability:

  • Usability study
  • Closed card sort
  • Tree test
  • A/B test
  • First-click test

Research goal: To evaluate an idea or concept.

UX research methods for evaluating concepts:

  • Concept study
  • Kano analysis
  • A/B test
  • Wizard of oz test
  • Fake door test

UX Metrics

Research goal: To evaluate the effectiveness of the user experience.

Research goal: To benchmark performance over time or against competitors.

UX research methods & UX metrics:

  • CES
  • CSAT
  • SEQ
  • SUS
  • True intent
  • Mystery shopper
  • Web analytics
  • Heat map
  • Scroll map
  • SUPR-Q
  • Time on task
  • Task completion rate


Research goal: To identify the next big idea.

UX research methods for discovering innovative ideas:

  • Customer workshop / co-creation workshop
  • Diary study
  • Concept testing
  • Kano analysis
  • Private community
  • Ethnography / field study
  • In-depth interviews (IDIs)
  • Social listening
  • Speed dating

Related Articles