Relevant Research



So I’ve started this project for a publishing company.

They originally came to us to help them integrate a subscription based publishing model into their site with no such functionality. Although, as the conversation progressed, they’re not feeling their site overall and noted numerous issues. The hope of those in the company who found us, is that we’ll help them build the next steps, but also help build a sort of “case” for these next steps. That is, help convince the executives, and the executives won’t argue with “hard data”

This type of project is quite new for me. A couple thoughts:
(1) I tend to find myself in the Interaction Design space, less in the Research space. If I approach this like a IxD project, i feel like I won’t have much hard data.
(2) I want to make this project as useful for them as possible, and I highly suspect that defining some ‘ideal’ state in a number of materials and leaving them to it, will not benefit them.

So I am wondering, how should I go about this project?
or, what studies might I look for to help me ground some decisions? i don’t exactly know where to find these, outside of product mini-sites (vox, nyt have them) which present variably useful material.


Hey there,
Can you clarify what it is that you’re supposed to be gathering data on? Is it to demonstrate to stakeholders that the site isn’t currently doing something?


Apologies @HAWK, I’ve thought through this a bit and am thinking about it differently.
I realized explicitly that I believe they came to us requesting the wrong thing.

In basic terms they want to ‘redesign’ their site, and are asking me to design something for them and to base it in hard data.

The hard data I would use in this case would be on-site analytics, eg something like hotjar, or watching people use the site.

But it seems they’re expecting me to find this data elsewhere. So my question above was along those lines: where can I find any kind of data regarding the effectiveness of certain design patterns, or on the design experiences of publishing companies as they moved online.

At this point, I’ve agreed to organize a map of all the requirements, build a few wireframes, and make a list of changes they should make to the website which would include the multiple issues they’ve found as constant users.

however i am not sure this is right, it seems rather to be an artifact of the agreement we had. i partly think i should get some analytics software on their site and start measuring usage, and draw attention to the certain issues people in the company will point out.


I agree with you – they need to be gathering data about their own audience, otherwise you’ll be designing to assumptions.

Have you floated this idea?


Yes, and they decided to install Hotjar on their websites at the mere mention, without my knowing. I have to figure out how to use these properly, and in general what I’m doing. This is new space. :sweat_smile: :joy:


hotjar is good at a high level, but you will have to make a lot of assumptions. And it sounds like you need more qualitative data i.e. usability testing. Have you observed any users yet and noted their pain points?


No I haven’t… to be sure, you’re referring to users that are not employees of their company, or people where I work, yeah?


the problem with requirements coming from employee users is that they are already expert users and wont necessarily see things from your target audience’s point of view.

Can you recruit some non expert users - i.e. users who haven’t seen your product before or know very little about it? Maybe staff from other teams or can you reach out to some existing customers?


@lykc - i probably can recruit some people … i’ve never conducted this type of research though. any input on how to go about this?
eg: from what to test, to structuring the session.


Do some research on usability testing, loads of free resources available.

At a basic level, just observe users perform certain tasks and go from there. If u have the resources then u can either record the sessions for future analysis, or just facilitate the test whilst another person makes notes.

The important thing is to just start testing. The more u test, the more you’ll learn, and then the more insight you can inject into your redesign.