User Experience Research (UXR)
Design Thinking

For creating better UX

On the basis of an elaboration of a case, I try to show what my thinking process looks like while doing research.

The elaboration of this case is therefore more focused on the research stage and not so much on the design stage. It is therefore a UXR elaboration and not a UX Design elaboration of a case.

There are many more methods that can be applied for doing research and the Design Thinking process than the methods I have used in this case.

The methods that are used depend on many factors, but always aim to achieve a good UX in which the user is put in the center of the proces.

The elaboration of the case

The the challenge

People from the target group indicate that they want to exercise more to improve their general condition. They also clearly indicate that for various reasons they cannot always bring themselves to actually exercise.

The (possible) solution

Thinking of Creating an app that makes it possible for a broad age group to start exercising in an accessible way. An app that is easy and simple to use, which encourages people to keep moving.

My role

In this case I mainly took on the role of researcher.

The steps throughout the process


An interview consisted of 12 open questions. Ten people from the age group of 24 to 68 took part. The group of interviewees consisted of 5 men and 5 women. Duration per interview: 10 to 15 minutes.

Keeping a diary (Cultural Probe)

In addition to the interviews, I also asked the participants to keep a diary for a period of one week. I asked them to write down their feelings every day. It involved both positive and negative feelings, including why they felt that way.

Affinity Diagram

After the research stage, I brought all the data together with digital post-its. These are pasted on a board and divided into categories, in order to get a good overview of the collected data. And thus to gain more affinity with the participants in the research and their input.

Empathy mapping

In this step I have worked out the results of the conversations and diaries in a map form in which the following topics are approached. What the user says, does, thinks and feels. This helps to get a better feel for and understanding of the people you are designing the app for.

Point of view

Then the definition of the problem was formulated. It's nice to have this handy as a mnemonic (work definition). It helps to keep the focus (even if you are further along in the whole process, you can fall back on this and get a clear picture of what you are doing).

'How might we'-questioning

I have used this way of asking questions to get to the initial idea of solutions for the challenge. I have also written down ideas that are “out of the box”.


Clear presentation of the collected ideas and notation of newly emerged ideas as a result of the inventory.

Challenge assumptions

Thinking that you already have a solution to the problem is an assumption that is easily made. But staying sharp and challenging yourself by asking critical questions yields other solutions, possibly better solutions.

Six thinking hats

Before you actually start sketching your first designs, you need to look carefully from different points of view at the problem that has to be solved. For this I applied the Six Thinking Hats method. It provides a critical look at all data and ideas and possibilities, you will sort out ideas even more. An educational moment!


To create a more human feel and image of the data collected so far, characters are created based on this data. These are supported by a so-called madlib: a short story in which the characteristics of the characters are written and what their motivation is.


To empower the characters and to empathize with their ways of thinking, I have put them in a storyboard. This is a story in the format of a comic that shows their future experiences with the app.


The time has finally come, now the first ideas of design can be put on paper. Making sketches is a great way to do this quickly and if it doesn't work, a new sketch is created in no time!

Paper prototyping + Testing

In order to be able to shape initial ideas into something that goes towards the final app, I made paper prototypes. These are relatively quick to make, easy to adjust and also easy to use for testing (in this case, the same group of people with whom the interviews were conducted).


After testing the paper prototypes, you may find that not everything meets the initial expectations. You then go back a step. You will apply a number of other possibilities in a 'new' modified paper prototype and then test it again.

It is also possible that the expectations are achieved immediately with a first paper prototype. Then the next step can be taken: making an interactive prototype that will then be tested again. If the tests with the interactive prototype have a positive outcome, the design will be handed over to the developers who will turn it into a fully working app. This will of course also take time and the digital app will be in a test phase


Again for clarification, this case elaboration is an elaboration based on a UX Research role and not a UX Design role for that, no designs can be seen here, but only the way of thinking / the step-by-step plan in this case is emphasized.

A Design Thinking process is never over and the steps in the entire process are generally repeated several times in order to achieve a good result.

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