User Research & Usability Testing

There are two kinds of user feedback sessions in the design sprint: User Research, and Usability Testing.

User Research

User research gives us an opportunity to validate whether we’re on the right track, or if we’re designing something that wouldn’t address user needs.

  • When conducting user research it’s important to keep an open mind and to be unafraid of readdressing our approach.
  • Critical feedback is incredibly useful to us so we want to encourage our users to be open and honest.
  • You’ll be asking the participant questions from a script prepared ahead of time, and taking notes of their answers.
  • It is important that you help the user feel comfortable and ask open questions as well as giving the user space to share their own thoughts.
  • Users might not have participated in research before so there often is a tendency to tell us what we’re expecting to hear. But critical feedback is incredibly useful to us so we want to encourage our users to be open and honest.
  • Wherever possible, we want to avoid including our own biases in questions and conversations as part of user research.
  • Always be mindful of the participants right to privacy.
  • Once the interviews are all conducted you will synthesise the feedback in your project groups during the Analysis workshop.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is a process for getting feedback from real people in order to inform the decisions we make on designing and building a digital product.

  • ‘User Testing’ and ‘Usability Testing’ refer to the same thing. The phrase ‘usability’ encourages us to remember it is not the user who we’re testing but the usability of our app or product. Do take the opportunity to rethink your app, and take all criticism constructively!
  • You will be conducting an interview where you will ask the user to navigate through your Figma prototype.
  • Keep your explanation brief. Introduce them to the project idea in one or two sentences and explain how usability testing works.
  • Giving them a few tasks to complete and observing how they interact with the prototype will give you an idea of how intuitive it is to interact with the product you’re creating.
  • Feedback from testing will help inform your decisions on which features to prioritise when building.


During the In-House project design sprint (week 7) you will be conducting both user research and usability testing.

The Tech for Better Product Owners will conduct their own user research, but you will be conducting a usability testing session with their user group.

For the In-House project, you will need 1-2 volunteers per person to participate:

  • User research (1-2 volunteers each, 6 per team)

  • Usability testing (1-2 volunteers each, 6 per team)

  • Each research session will last 90 minutes, whereby each interview will take around 20-30 minutes to conduct.

  • They will be 2-1 interviews over zoom (2 developers interview one participant) , or face to face wherever possible.

  • You will conduct the research in pairs, where one person will be taking the lead and asking questions, whereas the other person will be taking notes on the volunteers answers.

  • Please swap roles between interviews so that everyone gets a chance to ask questions.