Last year, I was part of a team of researchers interested in understanding the experience behind using the Loft, an online platform created to help user-centered designers work more quickly and efficiently by scaffolding out the design process.

We investigated how user-centered design teams worked, how they understood Loft and its role, and what we could to do better scaffold their own processes and help them work more efficiently.

The Loft has a lot of parts, since it’s meant to provide structure for the user-centered design process in a supportive, non-intrusive way. A few features include:

Our process for research was something like:

  1. Determine what our research questions were and form our hypotheses. This usually came from previous work (e.g. we now know that __ happens, could we use __ to help fix that?) or from the software team who were building out features to be tested.
  2. Create a testing procedure. This included a list of questions to ask or tasks we would ask users to perform, depending on what we were investigating. This also included information on what data/information to collect and how to do it.
  3. Combine our data and synthesize a report.
  4. Hand off our findings and start over again.