In the Spring of 2017 I applied and was chosen for an internship within the UX/Product Design department of my current company, Favor Delivery. It was a unique opportunity in which I split my time between my everyday role in Content and a UX Designer role under the guidance of our own in-house UX Designer at the time. Throughout the duration of this internship, I was fortunate enough to learn about all aspects of user-centered design, however, my  big project was in in-depth usability study.
My first task was to plan out the study by creating a planning document. This outlined everything from the participants, to the various prototypes and their features, to the objectives, to the scenarios, and finally to the questions/script. I already knew our ideal participants based on our existing user base (primarily young women, iOS users). Our prototypes were created by our Product Designer and focused on some new concepts we wanted to test out based on app feedback and supporting data we'd been receiving. Our objectives sought out to determine the success of these new concepts and if they would be well received by the majority of users. I  planned out two scenarios, which, combined, would take the user through all of the features. Lastly, our UX Designer and myself worked together to create a script, walking each participant through the scenario and following up with questions, being careful as to not influence participants with leading questions. 
Now that I had a plan for the study, it was time to recruit some participants! Being that we were on a bit of a budget for this study, we weren't in any place to use outside agencies for this part of the process. Through a bit of guerrilla marketing, we were able to curate a list of potential participants, including their contact information, age, gender, and frequency when it comes to using the Favor app. 
Each potential participant was sent a screener survey to gather more information and determine if they would be an ideal fit for the study. This survey was crafted by myself and our UX Designer, keeping in mind the attributes that make up a frequent Favor user, without getting too personal or taking up too much of the surveyor's time. 
After receiving our survey results and confirming our six participants (and backups, of course), we were ready to schedule our study. Our UX Designer was able to find a space to rent offsite, which provided a neutral environment for our participants to voice their opinions without feeling pressured or biased. We had the space for a full day, which allotted for an hour per participant, plus a break for lunch. We spent 45 minutes with each person, with 15 minutes in between to set up for the next "user". The equipment we used included a phone for displaying the prototypes, a secondary phone and overhead tripod for filming the user's interactions, and a traditional video camera and tripod for filming the overall study. Our UX Designer introduced the scenarios, while I took notes. We alternated asking questions as they came up. 

Aside from a faulty rental video camera, resulting in some quick thinking and impromptu laptop-as-camera use, the study went really well. All of the participants gave helpful feedback and answered the questions without bias, extending on ideas and giving reasons for thoughts and opinions when prompted. 
Wrapping up the actual study wasn't the end of my work when it came to this monster project. In fact, there was still quite a bit to do! We had gathered some great information, but I was tasked with taking this information and transcribing it into a digestible format for our Product Designer and team. Between my observations, notes and video, I created a document highlighting successes and problem areas in each scenario, along with common answers to some of our questions. Myself, our UX Designer, and all of the stakeholders involved met following the study to go over the results. This discussion was held as close as possible to the date of study, while it was all still fresh in our minds. Overall the study helped us make some major decisions when it came to what concepts we wanted to move forward with implementing. This experience as a whole helped to remind me how important it is to perform usability tests. As employees of the company, who are heavily invested in many features and have a deep understanding of the product, we often forget what our typical user's experience is like. As much as I believed I was huge supporter of user research before, this study propelled my advocacy even further. I'm not sure what the future holds for Favor, but I'm sure there will plenty more usability studies!
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