planning your research

by Luke Farrugia • 20 November 2020


Providing positive experiences for people is the core goal of User Experience (UX) design. To make this happen, it's imperative that we, as UX professionals, understand our users'. When taking a user-centred approach, we draw upon UX Research principles to identify focus areas based on the goals, motivations and needs of people. 

Through these research methods, we validate assumptions, find commonalities across personas, and recognise users as people. Overall, UX Research informs our work, improves our understanding, and raises confidence as we set out to solve a problem. 

the research canvas

When beginning a piece of research, sometimes it is hard to know where to start, especially when we don't know how long this investigation will take and what we want to learn. 

These can be challenging questions to answer, and defining the research approach can be an effective way to align goals and set expectations. Often, if research is not planned, we tend to deviate from the scope and try and learn all of the things, taking additional time and effort. To ensure that the research scope is manageable, we have found that starting with a research canvas to be a game-changer. 

Similar to a project brief, this canvas is used to capture all of the upfront information anchoring the effort. In starting with this canvas, we are encouraged to think about the problem space, note down what we know, what we assume, and decide on who we would like to learn from. With this information out in the open, it then becomes easy to determine the fundamental assumptions which need to be validated.

when should this canvas be used?

  • Anytime you are about to start a piece of research about something that you don't know.
  • Anytime that you need to validate an assumption that you don't know.
  • Anytime that you need to validate your design work in testing.
  • Anytime you need to show a stakeholder a high-level plan of your work.

Gain access to our research canvas here and if you have any questions, comments or would like to chat, feel free to reach out via our duel of doves community.

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