Dell: Product research planning and execution


Create and implement a lean research plan to support five products and user groups.


As a single researcher working on five programs I needed to find a way to implement a lean research program.

Previously the programs had only done usability tests to identify problems required a costly bug fix process. Often times these usability problems could not addressed in the next implementation.

I created a plan to test the interaction design wireframes and prototypes before the deliverables were handed off to developers. By testing the speculative designs the costly code changes were eliminated and the designers became more iterative in their design process.

To plan the process and get designer/developer buy in we created a Gantt chart of the upcoming releases and identified testing opportunities. This allowed them to visually see where testing could be fit into the process. This process change also enabled the interaction designers to be active in the testing process and built more genuine user empathy.

I mentored each interaction designer on how to build a lightweight participant screener, test protocol, and moderate user sessions. By structuring each user session with a moderator and note taker the often times long reporting process was shortened to a few days.


I was responsible for design, implementing and driving the design research plan.


Reduced the cost of implementing the wrong thing by ensuring what was implemented was usable and useful. Increased user understanding and empathy that affected the teams’ decision-making.


Design Research Plan, Testing Protocol, Screener, Training Program and Leadership


Lean Design Research


The final report was a living document that was built as part of the team's wikis.

The team mapped out their design process and we identified where we could incorporate testing and iterative designs.

Turning the high level calendar into a detailed gantt chart ensured that nothing was forgotten.