User research transformed

I teamed up with a user researcher, product developer, and software engineer to create “Literally”, a platform for brands to connect with their customers organically.


Discovery, User Interviews, Wireframing, Prototyping, User Testing, High-Fidelity Design, Branding


UX Designer working with user researcher, product manager and software engineer


10-weeks UX GA course – personal project ongoing


Researcher teams need a cost efficient and reliable way to seamlessly recruit and engage with users so that they can build the most relevant product.

How might we connect users and research team in an innovative way?

1/ Research and discovery


Recruiting participants is one of the biggest research headaches, no matter how long you’ve been in the industry.  


The market is crowded but none of these platforms put the participant at the center of the experience. 25% researchers used social media to recruit outside their user base. 48% use Zoom and 25% Google Hangout to conduct their sessions.

The user research tools map

Source: The State of User Research Report 2020

User interview

We conducted 8 interviews to get more context and validate our assumptions.

What are researchers main frustrations?
How do people connect with brands?

We categorised their thoughts and saw a pattern emerging. On the customer side, we interviewed people from different backgrounds. Not one liked interacting with brands through social media, even though they had time to give feedback on products. But they had time to give feedbacks on products, some of them already did it in the past. On the business side, we interviewed people from companies of varying sizes, from user researchers, user experience designers to founders of startups. Many were frustrated about the process and struggled to find users without spending a lot of time or money. All mentioned that human interaction is essential to really unpack their audiences thoughts.


From my research, I created two personas to understand our users’ needs, experiences, behaviours and goals.  Elisa, a product manager, would love to connect with her users in a better way. She thinks research can be overwhelming sometimes. Josh, a data scientist, loves giving feedbacks on the products he likes, especially when things go wrong. He hates filling in a survey and feels used when there is no reward for his effort. Elisa and Josh helped me step away from preconceived notions and guide my ideation process.

Elisa, 38, product manager

"I would love to connect 
with users in a better way.
Research can be overwhelming sometimes.”

Stories and Scenarios

Elisa is product manager for a newly start-up. She is responsible for setting a vision and strategy for their product. She needs to report to the team on how users interact and where changes need to be made. She is a beginner in user research. She works in a fast-paced environment and has to juggle multiple duties. She needs to act fast and have user feedbacks frequently as she works within the agile methodology.


Sometimes she doesn’t know where to start. It’s expensive to get recruitment agency. They are a lot of tools and it’s overwhelming for her.

Needs and Goals

She would like a more organic way to connect with her users. She would like to have one tool where she can manage all her research rather than using different ones.

Tech skills

Confident, Desktop first at work

Josh, 32, data scientist

"I love giving feedbacks on my favourite products. Especially when things go wrong.”

Stories and Scenarios

Josh just purchased his new Garmin watch. He is a big fan of the product and is very excited to receive it. Now, he has to wait until the delivery. He follows the brand on social media and has their newsletter subscription. He loves talking about it with his friends at his cycling club. They exchange their experience on the watch or other accessories. He would love secretly to give his feedbacks or have a chat with the Garmin designers.


He hates answering surveys or random phone calls from companies. He thinks the way the search are done are quite boring. He answered some surveys and never got rewarded. He felt used.

Needs and Goals

He enjoys knowing the latest on cycling and outdoor activities. If he was giving feedbacks on a product, he would love freebies or money in return. He values company caring about the environment.

Tech skills

Expert, Mobile first, Owns a smartwatch

2/ Product and 
design decisions

First solution sketches

I sketched different solutions for the platform. As reward was hugely important within our user testing, I introduced a badging/starring system for them to feel recognised. To help brands communicate with the right users, I created a profile where people could tag their interests and communication preference.
I also included a feed where he can see studies tailored to his tastes. E.g. Josh likes ethical companies, so his feed will focus on businesses related to this interest. The platform will both help users discover new products, while also feel like their voice is being heard and they are adding value to young businesses.
The platform will both help users discover new products, while offering valuable advice to the brands they love.

Information Architecture (IA) and hi-fi wireframes

I created the information architecture of the platform. For the MVP version, it will be a webapp. I organised, structured, and labelled content in an effective and sustainable way.

Preview IA from customer side
First hi-fi wireframes, on customer side (Josh)

User flows

I also created a user flow to identify pain point in the user experience. The path below illustrates how Josh’s persona would follow the path from sign up through to participation. This way I could ensure the flow was not time consuming and intuitive for the user. It allowed us to know how many screens were need, what the journey look like and what components were needed.

User flow: Josh wants to sign up and give feedbacks to a product

3/ Refining

Usability testing

We conducted 5 usability tests. The aim was to determine if the user could navigate through the platform easily and if they understand the concept.

How users navigate through the platform?
How do user join a study?
How do they find their profile?

We got positive results. Users who already did studies with competitors' platforms liked the human side of the platform. Some parts needed to be reviewed, such as the vocabulary used on the pages.

Visual identity

I also created a visual identity for the platform. Influenced by the film, “Her”, I wanted the branding to move away from the traditional lab or gaming style that many competitors had. I created a style guide which included all the design components, so future designers can support the design system and help evolve the product. The design system will grow and evolve with the product.

Literally as a person: curious / mission driven / caring / responsible / hard working / honest.

4/ Iterate

Usability testing

Following another round of usability testing, we completed it unmoderated with Maze.

How do they navigate with the new changes?
How do they edit their profile?
What do they understand from the feed?

Take away

The results following the testing was incredibly useful. It highlighted some areas in the platform that needed to be reviewed.

Eg. We added pictures to the feed and a quick way to give feedback. Elisa, the product manager, could do quick A/B testings through just one post and Josh could give a thumb up if he prefers one design compared to the other.

"Very clean design, looks really nice.” Tanya

"The categories Wishlist and To Do on the Studies menu were a bit confusing on the first task. I thought it would have been under Studies but it was under Profile.” Mathew

Feed review after usability testing

Next steps

The next steps are to launch and try the platform on a real use case. From there, I will be able to collect feedback and improve the experience further.

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