The Research Process in 5 Inspiring UX Case Studies

I have been on a journey of rapid growth in User-Centered Design. To prepare for User Research interviews, I have been studying inspiring case studies.

At Twitter, they ask you to present case studies, addressing project context, research questions, methods, participant sampling, insights, and impact.

Studying projects with this perspective has enabled me to better understand other researchers’ process and has increased my appreciation for the craft.

Here are a few case studies that I enjoyed with process breakdowns. I have included a mix of discovery and evaluative-focused projects. Enjoy :)

I. Promoting Connection: Designing Social Media Experiences to Support People with Eating Disorders @Facebook Research

The result of rigorous user research.
  • Secondary Research
  • Subject Matter Expert Focus Groups
  • 1:1 User Interviews

Ambitious User Researchers at Facebook wanted to to support users with eating disorders.

First, they used secondary research to better understand the topic and to develop a list of questions for topic experts.

Next, they conducted focus groups with topic experts to understand the themes and knowledge of the disorder.

Then, they used 1:1 interviews with participants with a current or previous eating disorder. From there, the researchers constructed design principles and work with other UX team members to craft a user flow that would provide support options, meeting users where they are at.

The researchers included several design team members throughout this process, which helped them move the research to design implementation. Check out this study for more statistics, takeaways, and the resulting screens.

II. Sidelines increases landing page conversion from 5% to 55% @UsabilityTesting

  • A/B Testing
  • Iteration
  • More A/B Testing
  • Iteration
  • More A/B Testing

The iterations in this case study are fun to follow. Through six rounds of A/B Testing, they learned several important insights about their users. With each tweak they watched conversions grow!

III. Fitbit: The UX behind the habit of exercise @Stacey Wang

  • Proto-Persona, Job Stories, Usability Testing
  • Identify & Prioritize Needs
  • Task Flows, Lo-Fi Sketches
  • Hi-Fi Mockups, Clickable Prototype
  • Test Prototype, Iterate

I love the simplified graphics that Stacey uses throughout this case study. This story was very well-done and easy-to-follow.

After selecting pain points that were important to users and the business, Stacey takes works through the whole design thinking process and ends with a before and after success rates chart.

She even includes a prototype link and key takeaways! Definitely check out this case study to improve your design process and presentation.

IV. Evernote increases user retention 15% across multiple devices @UserTesting

  • Expanded Usability Testing
  • Browser-Based Participant Segmentation

Evernote asked UserTesting to help increase regular usability testing and gain fresh insight for multiple device uses. Instead of focusing only on their large current user base, they solicited feedback from potential users for fresh eyes.

The Evernote case study provides a great example for screening participants and choosing different target audiences based on key project goals.

V. Zara: A Usability Case Study @William Ng

  • User Personas, Job Stories
  • Usability Testing
  • Affinity Map, 2x2 Analysis
  • Lo-FI UI Sketch, Hi-Fi Mockups
  • Prototype, follow-up Usability Testing

Outside of the office, product designers are eager to improve other products. This product designer focused on the online shopping experience for Zara.

William started with light user research to create proto-personas and user stories. The stories helped him to craft scenarios for usability testing.

William used guerilla usability testing to measure initial success rates. After identifying key user pain points (that coordinate with business goals), he focused on redesigning for a smoother flow.

After the redesign, William conducted another round of usability testing and compared success rates side by side to demonstrate the improvements.

Check out his detailed case study for sampling, participant recruiting, hi fidelity deliverables, and more :)

In Conclusion

At an early stage in my career, this exercise has been enormously helpful to better understand the cycles of user research and product development.

❤️ Writing on psychology, feminism, and relationships. Words in: The Ascent, Better Advice, Fearless She Wrote, CYMCYL, An Injustice, and The Virago. (she/her)

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