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At AtTask, I have the opportunity to work with a lot of intelligent people. One of those is Ted Boren who is our Lead UX Researcher. Today he gave a presentation to our product team and others about the many tools we can use to better understand our users. Some of which we do and others we need to do better at or start doing. Here are some of my notes on the subject of UX research.

Why UX research? We need to;

  • Discover – Understand users, their needs and goals
  • Validate and deliver – Improve designs
  • Measure – Effectiveness, satisfaction and impact

Understand Users

Here are some tools we can use to better understand out users.

Contextual Inquiry

Visit the users in their own space. Discover what the users actually DO (not just what they say they do). Watching the user do what they do with the tool. What are the pain points, breakdowns and opportunities.

Affinity Diagram

Organize qualitative data into categories and naming them, usually with three levels of headings. The benefit is that you create areas you can work on and improve from the bottom up. You are creating the areas based off customer feedback and real data.

Affinity diagram

Flow Modal

Creating a flow chart to represent the data and processes You can indicate problem areas to help you focus on better solutions

True Intent

  • Intercept live visitors
  • Ask them why they came to your site
  • Ask them to go do that
  • Track where they go and how long it tacks
  • Let them tell you when they succeed—or give up
  • Ask satisfaction and profile questions

Improve Designs

RITE (Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation) Usability Testing


This has the advantage of making changes quick and having a design or firm direction and the end of the testing that you can easily move forward with.

Tree Testing

  • Test information architecture  and hierarchy
  • Can be done without any design
  • Also helps testing labels

This isn’t a complete list but it is a start to help you focus on the users of the tool and making decisions based off real data and issues.

Be sure to check out Ted as he presents at the UXPA Conference in London