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Fast and Budget-Friendly User Research and Testing

Paul Boag
Your instructor
Paul Boag
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Workshop includes:

  • 🔖  Examples to take away
  • 🗣  Interactive sessions
  • 📺  Workshop recordings
  • 🎤  Dedicated Q&A time
  • 🏅  Smashing Certificate

Workshop, 5×1h + Q&A Thu & Fri, July 11–25 2024
09:00 – 10:30 AM PT 18:00 – 19:30 CET Check your time zone

We don’t live in an ideal world. Most of us have too much work, too little time, and too small a budget. When it comes to digital projects, it seems like our clients or bosses always prioritize speed over quality.

To make matters worse, we read countless articles telling us how we should do things. These articles emphasize research and testing but do nothing more than leave us disillusioned and add to our imposter syndrome.

In this workshop, we want to try a different approach. Instead of telling you the best practices, we will explore practical approaches to user research that we can fit into our existing projects.

This workshop is one hour of teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A, instead of the usual 2 hours and 30 minutes of discussion.


Here’s What You Should Be Expecting:

  • Interactive live sessions

    5 × 1h live sessions

  • Practical insights

    Elevate your user research game

  • Real-life examples

    Practical examples and action points

  • Life-time access

    To all video recordings and examples

  • Dedicated Q&A time

    To ask all your questions

  • Smashing Certificate

    A well-deserved reward for your work


$250.00 $300.00Register for this workshop →5 × 2h live sessions + Q&A. July 11–25.
With all video recordings & slides. Get a ticket.

🎪  Save up to 25% on this workshop with a Smashing Membership.

What will you learn?

Attending this workshop will give you practical knowledge and skills in user research and testing that you can apply to your digital projects. Specifically, you will learn:

  • The principles of lean user research and testing and how to make a case.
  • When research and testing can be avoided, and how to determine if you need them.
  • Different approaches to user research and testing and why you should favor certain ones.
  • How to conduct upfront user research efficiently, including leveraging existing sources of information and using surveys.
  • Techniques for planning effective information architecture, including top task analysis and card sorting.
  • Methods for testing design concepts include surveys, first-click, and 5-second tests.
  • Best practices for testing prototypes, including remote vs. in-person usability testing and the importance of sample size.
  • Strategies for testing existing websites or apps through analytics, heatmaps, AB testing, and adapting testing for low-traffic sites.

By the end of the workshop, you will have a comprehensive toolkit of user research and testing techniques that can help you improve the quality and efficiency of your projects. You will also be equipped to navigate stakeholder discussions and avoid getting stuck in endless iterations.

Who is it for?

This workshop is for anybody who works on a website or app’s front end and wants to improve it. It is also the ideal course for those who find themselves stuck in endless discussions with stakeholders about the right approach or mired in iteration hell.


About Paul

Paul has experience working with government bodies, such as the European Commission, where he gained expertise in managing vast amounts of intricate information. He excels in organizing and streamlining content, even on sites with extensive page counts. Additionally, Paul’s background includes handling multiple domains for organizations, optimizing each site for maximum effectiveness.

He has a strong track record in working with university websites, known for their intricate content requirements, and pays meticulous attention to information architecture and content optimization to ensure user-friendly and engaging content.

Paul has written several books on web design and content strategy, proving his expertise in the field. Paul is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, meaning he is always up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Time & Schedule

This workshop is split over five days. Our virtual doors open at 8:45, we start at 9 AM PT.

The workshop sessions will run on the following days:

  • Thu, July 11, 09:00 – 10:30 AM PT (18:00 – 19:30 CET)
  • Fri, July 12, 09:00 – 10:30 AM PT (18:00 – 19:30 CET)
  • Thu, July 18, 09:00 – 10:30 AM PT (18:00 – 19:30 CET)
  • Fri, July 19, 09:00 – 10:30 AM PT (18:00 – 10:30 CET)
  • Thu, July 25, 09:00 – 10:30 AM PT (18:00 – 19:30 CET)

Day 1 — Principles of Lean User Research and Testing

8:45 am PT
Virtual doors open, registration, chat and introductions.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

We will start by covering some of the fundamentals of a lean user research and testing approach. In particular, we will cover:

  • How to make the case for lean research and testing.
  • When you can avoid doing research and testing.
  • How do you know if you need to do research or testing?
  • Which approaches to research and testing should you favor and why?

Getting to know your users before you start is fundamental to success. However, the amount of research you can do will depend on time and budget. To help you work out what you need to do, we will explore the following:

  • What you absolutely need to know about users and what is a luxury.
  • How can you use existing sources of information about users without doing extensive research from scratch?
  • How to use surveys as a quick and easy way to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.
  • Journey mapping vs. personas vs. empathy maps.

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Q&A with Paul on the day’s material. Networking!

Day 2 — Working With Information Architecture

8:45 am PT
Virtual doors open, registration, chat and introductions.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

A lot of the success of an app or website comes down to ensuring content and functionality are as easy to find as possible. That is why in this section we will cover:

  • How to use top task analysis to identify and prioritize user needs.
  • How to use open and closed card sorting to organize content and functionality around user needs.
  • How to ensure your information architecture is working for users.

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Q&A with Paul on the day’s material. Networking!

Day 3 — Testing Your Design Concepts

8:45 am PT
Virtual doors open, registration, chat and introductions.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Getting approval for design mockups can be painful and involve endless debates and countless iterations. Fortunately, you can use testing to cut through this noise and identify precisely what will work best for your audience. In this section, we will:

  • Use a simple survey to understand if your design aesthetics create the desired response in users.
  • Use a first-click test to see if users understand how to use a site based on nothing but a static mockup.
  • Use a 5-second test to establish if users can quickly see critical calls to action and messaging.
  • Adopt a quick and dirty alternative to eye-tracking studies to ensure the design puts the proper emphasis in the right place.

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Q&A with Paul on the day’s material. Networking!

Day 4 — Testing Your Prototypes

8:45 am PT
Virtual doors open, registration, chat and introductions.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Whether you decide to build a greyscale wireframe or a high-fidelity prototype, it provides an excellent opportunity to test and validate your approach. In this section, we will cover:

  • The pros and cons of remote vs. in-person usability testing.
  • The differences between facilitated and unfacilitated testing.
  • Who and how many people do you need to test with?
  • What you should test.
  • How to run effective usability testing.
  • Tools that can make usability testing considerably more straightforward.

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Q&A with Paul on the day’s material. Networking!

Day 5 — Testing Existing Websites or Apps

8:45 am PT
Virtual doors open, registration, chat and introductions.

9:00 am – 10:00 am

Finally, we will explore how you can identify improvements in an existing website or app by monitoring user behavior. In this section, we will dive into:

  • What to look for in Google Analytics.
  • How to use Hotjar or free alternatives to uncover failings in your UI and content.
  • How and when to run AB testing.
  • How to adapt AB testing for a low-trafficked website.
  • What to do when AB testing is not appropriate.

And finally, Paul will bring everything you have learned over the various sessions together

10:00 am – 10:30 am
Q&A with Paul on the day’s material. Networking & Goodbye’s!

$250.00 $300.00Register for this workshop →5 × 2h live sessions + Q&A. July 11–25.
With all video recordings & slides. Get a ticket.

🎪  Save up to 25% on this workshop with a Smashing Membership.