Not sure how to write a UX research plan that will meet all your design goals? Read our article to see a step-by-step manual on devising a sound research plan and to see its significance in the design process.
UX research plan – table of contents:
- What is a UX research plan?
- How to write a UX research plan?
- Why the need to create a research plan for UX
What is a UX research plan?
A UX research plan is a drafted document to collect and organize all key data related to the planned UX research – its purpose, methods, and research organization together with all terms. It should describe and define the research objectives in as much detail as possible. A sound plan will boost efficiency and hold our team on its road to the main objectives. It is also a tool to conduct the entire UX study of the target group in an organized, and efficient manner.
How to write a UX research plan?
There is no single rigid formula for what a UX research plan should look like. As in other aspects related to UX/UI – it depends on the industry, the company, the stakeholders, the organization’s capabilities, the budget or the deadline for implementation. However, several standard elements should be included in such a plan:
- Description of the research problem – in this part, we’ll devote all efforts to describe, explain as well as present to stakeholders the reasons for conducting the research, the expected results together with the main research question. Thus, it contains the essence of the project, explaining what it consists of.
- Research objective – that section of the plan establishes our motivations, and problems we aim to solve as well as reasons behind researching. Additionally, indicate the designation of research results and how they will affect the product and its users.
- Stakeholders – bear in mind that UX research is not only for researchers/designers and product users. Its findings may come in handy for employees of other departments as well. therefore identify all stakeholders of the study – not just the obvious and direct ones.
- Description of the research method – the purpose of the study, as defined in section 2, determines the research method. Research methods should, of course, also be tailored to the capabilities, resources, stage of the project, and organization. The research method should make it possible to achieve the research objectives in the most efficient way possible and provide useful results that will facilitate later decision-making.
- Analysis of data already in place – includes existing internal or external surveys of their results and conclusions. They can come from Google Analytics, HotJar, satisfaction surveys, or Net Promoter Score-type metrics conducted by the organization. External data is any publicly available research, statistics, academic articles, or data shared by competitors. This allows researchers to familiarize themselves with a given issue, problem, and current information on the subject, get research inspiration and save time on research that someone has already done for them and shared the results.
- Research questions – this is the part of the UX study plan in which we write down all the research questions that concern us, it allows us to assess the gaps in our knowledge.
- Profile of survey participants – the UX survey plan has to answer not only the question of what we want to survey but also whom (and how many respondents) we want to survey. Correct profiling of respondents is crucial to the usefulness of the results obtained from the research. It is necessary to select representatives of the model group, matching the actual users of the product
- Description of the methodology of a given study – Methodology is a description of how to proceed and how to conduct the study. It should lead to the most reliable, credible research results. It should be at the same time written concisely (so that you can refer to it efficiently and quickly if necessary), but also detailed – so that there is no doubt about what to do and how to do it.
- Tools used in the study – the choice of which will be conditioned by the research objectives, research methods, and research questions defined earlier. When selecting tools, it is also important, of course, to keep in mind the availability of the people surveyed and the planned use of the results.
- Criteria for success – simply conducting a UX study and bringing it to completion does not equal success for the project. To do so, it is necessary to define in advance certain criteria that will allow the results of the research and the information obtained to be considered valuable.
- Project schedule – that is, defining the timeframe of the project: start and end dates, the time needed to conduct the study, to perform the various stages, to analyze and present the results.The way of presenting the results of the study – the results should be presented not only in the form of raw data, conclusions, and interpretations but also presented as formal documentation of the entire research process (including all problems, challenges, and failures that occurred during the project). In this way, we will not only present the results obtained during the study but also discuss important problems and issues that need to be improved in the future.
Why the need to create a research plan for UX
The research plan is the key component of the entire UX research and design process. Systematizing the knowledge, goals, tools as well as research methods the determine the most optimal timeframe, guide the research in the long term, increase the involvement of all stakeholders, set the direction of development for our product, as well as develop a compromise on the goals and expectations of team members and other stakeholders, and establish indicators of success.
A UX research plan also allows you to clearly define expectations, organize and document all the most important information, argue the need for research, determine the budget needed and prioritize goals. A reliably created plan also allows you to anticipate challenges at an early stage and be prepared for them. A very important role of the research plan is also to define roles and clearly define who does what, when, and why in the project.
All in all, we hope that now you know why and how UX research can improve your digital product and make it more competitive in the market. Therefore, properly prepare for the research and thoughtfully devise its plan. It organizes the entire research in methodological, substantive as well as organizational terms, rendering the team control over its course according to the previously adopted assumptions. In this article, we have tried to collect and describe the key elements to include in the plan. Still, remember that there’s no single formula – everything depends on the organization, the team, the individual situation, the stage of the project, the needs of the stakeholders and the available resources (budget, time, human or technological).
- What is UX research?
- Types of UX research
- What are research questions and how to write them?
- Requirements gathering process for UI/UX projects
- Why are stakeholder interviews crucial for the design process?
- How to leverage our gathered customer data?
- How to create a good UX research plan?
- How to choose a research method?
- How can pilot testing improve UX research?
- UX study participant recruitment
- Channels and tools for finding UX research participants
- Screener survey for UX Research
- UX Research Incentives
- UX research with children
- Discovery research methods
- What is desk research?
- How to conduct user interviews?
- How to conduct a diary studies?
- What are focus groups in research?
- What is ethnographic research?
- Survey research
- What is card sorting in UX?
- What is evaluative research?
- How to conduct usability testing?
- When and how to run preference testing?
- What is A/B testing in UX?