UX & research in software development with access to no real users


I was brought an as a UX consultant to a company that has just shipped their MVP B2B software in an agile environment. I have created a number of research items and expressed that data into personas. As I have no access to our real users and I’m not sure if we will be able to test them in the future - because of this I can’t attempt to gain any research to move forward with iterations. So I’m a little stuck in my process and I feel i’m not doing the UX I set out to do.

Does anyone have any suggestions about what else I can do in regards to the product?

How about testing with employees?
It might be a bit more complicated to weight the findings and results, but it is better than not testing.

How about testing with users who are no customers?
Also better than not testing.

Try to test with anonymous wireframes if you are not alowed to show the software to public.


Hey WolfFlow, good to have you here. Welcome to the community. :slight_smile:

Are you able to share the reasons why you have no access to real users? Is it a problem getting permission from management? Privacy concerns? Or just no easy way to identify and contact them?

Getting the voice of the users into team conversations any way you can, even if tangentially, will help plant seeds for the future. Especially if you can start shining a light onto possible answers for the biggest questions or unknowns the agile team has.

A couple of ideas you might try:

  • Without being too critical of the work, a heuristic analysis that you can do yourself might help identify questions/issues enough to get a toehold towards consulting users for insights (as long as they don’t settle for heuristics as sufficient!).

  • Similarly, you might sketch out a user journey alongside your proto personas and chat with people in the team to see if the journey and its points make sense. This may help raise questions in cases where the team doesn’t think they have any, and is also squarely focused on the user (which is where you want to get to with the team).

  • What’s your relationship like with managers and people up the hierarchy from you? Can you start addressing their concerns and questions about the product with ways you can get insights from the users?

  • Is there any other software out their with something in common? A competitive analysis of other related or in some way similar tools in the marketplace may help get the team outside their own heads.

  • Or social media commentary from users of similar or competing products that might relate to your company’s approaches in this product?

  • Is there a support team you can grab a coffee with to jot down common frustrations they hear? The feedback is often their opinion, but will suggest where to look. Try and get objective data if you can.

  • Is there any secondary research on relevant UX or behavioural principles you can piggyback on?

Adapt the process where necessary, but keep hold of the principles!


The problem with the employees is that they are NOT the end-user and they may be bias to their interaction. I would continue to follow the personas. Did you create the personas or were they compiled from the company. If you created them then you are correct, you are create a “magical” scenario that may not be accurate and I would put a disclaimer on all of documentation to state that.

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Thanks Ole, Yes I’ve been doing this . for now.

Thanks Lukcha,

All helpful and some of your points are being covered to keep moving. Currently there are security reasons as its fintech, but it’s early days and we’re . hoping to get a stronger relationship with our client and hopefully work with them to improve the product as it’s in their best interests too. Competitive benchmarking is difficult as its B2B and this software is unaccessible to the public.

It’s all behind closed doors… for the time being.

Cheers Karen, I think it can be helpful to get a degree of opinion from an employee that isn’t close to the product. Provided one has the awareness to hold it at face value. I created the personas from extensive research from SME’s, BA’s and ‘ex real users’.