User Experience Research Process

User Experience Research Process
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  • 0:03 User Experience…
  • 0:47 Interviews
  • 1:58 Card Sorting
  • 2:32 Prototype Testing
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Delony

David is a freelance writer specializing in technology. He holds a BA in communication.

In this article, you'll go over the steps of the user experience research process. We'll follow a health insurance company as they make their site more usable through the use of interviews, card sorting, and user testing.

User Experience Research Methods

More and more companies are moving to user-centered design when creating new websites. The reason they're doing this is that customers have to be able to find what they need from a company or they'll go elsewhere. To get a user-centered design, website designers will have to talk to potential users.

There are several methods that designers can use to get input from users. This lesson will highlight three of those methods: interviews, card sorting, and prototype reviews. To see user experience research in action, we'll follow a health insurance provider, ABC Healthcare, as they prepare to redesign their website. They're hoping to make it much easier for patients to navigate their insurance plan information and for doctors to submit claims.


One of the simplest ways to get information from users is to just talk to them which is where interviews come in. User experience (UX) designers can either interview participants individually or as part of a group.

The insurance company decides to invite some of its policy holders into a conference room for a focus group to discuss what they want in a website and the difficulties users are facing with the current site.

While designers can get a lot of valuable information this way, the downside is that the setting can be artificial. A contextual interview allows researchers to see how the site will be used in practice. In a contextual interview, a researcher comes to a user's workspace to see how they interact with the website. Users are asked to ''think out loud'' when working through tasks, describing their thought processes. This way, designers can see what hardware and software their customers are using and how their spaces are set up.

ABC Healthcare did this after the focus group and found that a number of users were using tablets which the current website has trouble dealing with. Based on the results of the structured interview, the web development team has decided to put more effort into supporting mobile devices.

Card Sorting

Card sorting is another important research method. Although it's often mentioned as part of information architecture, how a website is organized has a major effect on its usability.

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