User Research

Get the Best Results with the UX Research Plan Template and Build User-Centered Products

Manoj Rana
July 4, 2024
min read
Get the Best Results with the UX Research Plan Template and Build User-Centered Products
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Just as a doctor cannot prescribe medicine without first knowing the patient’s issues, you cannot build a design without knowing what ails your target audience. User experience research is about understanding your end users to extract actionable insights and make the right design decisions. 

In my 10+ years of experience in UX design, I've seen firsthand the power of well-defined research plans. A UX research plan will outline what designers and developers ought to follow to create a product. A well-executed plan to understand user experience is essential for smooth project development. In this article, we will talk about;

  • Importance of UX Research Plan
  • Structure of a UX Research Project
  • Components of a UX Research Plan 
  • Successful UX Research-Led Development Stories
  • Process to Create a Research Plan
Table of contents
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Why Should UX Research be Integral to Every Product Development Process?

Effective research reduces the design uncertainty at every stage of developing a product. It eliminates all ambiguity, leaving no room for error, and helps you build a product according to the user's requirements, aspirations, and needs. 

Using the results, you can set your priorities for design process, ideas and features. It can help you set the design for higher usability and ensure that the solution you build is accessible, credible, and valuable. 

Here are a few reasons why UX research is essential;

  1. User Centricity 

A UX research plan protects you from falling into an internal assumptions trap. The research delves deeper into the unspoken needs and desires of the target audience through user interviews, card sorting, and surveys. This lets you build a user-centered design, catering to the user's real needs and not perceived ones. 

Card Sorting Technique
  1. Informed Decision Making

Guesswork is the biggest enemy of a UX researcher. Good research guides decision-making, with assistance from A/B testing, to choose the most intuitive and user-friendly elements. It reveals critical pain points and bases the design roadmap on actual behavior and feedback. 

A/B Testing
  1. Better Product Usability

When following a UX research process, the designs you craft are not just aesthetically pleasing, they also function. In your research plan include UX research tools like eye-tracking, emotional response testing to create a smooth user journey. Pinpoint areas of frustration and address them while building your product design. 

  1. Competitive Advantage

Everyone wants the largest share of the market pie, and it's a UX researcher who uses different methods to discover the white space of unmet needs. Taking these gaps into design and development, and addressing them in innovative ways, you attract a larger user base. 

  1. Creates Empathy

An efficient user research process lets you walk into your end-user’s shoes. You should get the feeling “I have been there” and then work on the creation part. An empathy map will be handy to conduct effective user research. 

Empathy Map

Every type of research you implement shall have an empathic approach, allowing you to include your user’s life into the product and make it an indispensable tool for them. 

Constituents of a UX Research Plan

User research is a process. The exact method you use to complete the process depends on what sort of research is required. It also depends on;

  • Insights you wish to uncover
  • Time and resources available
  • Product goals
  • Analytical methods
  • Type of audience

At Qwary, we believe in the transformative power of UX research. It's the secret sauce we use to build functional, flawless, and customer-centric products. 

  1. Plan Components

A robust user experience research plan is based on a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. I like to determine the goals through the SMART framework. 

Having set the objectives, you can be laser-focused on the information you want to build a user-centric product. 

Don’t set ambiguous objectives like Improve User Experience. Instead, dive deeper and work with something like increasing the CTA click rate by 30% by the next quarter.

  1. Methodology Used

Whoever said gathering user data is easy may have never done it. Effective user experience research requires a suite of methodologies and gathering rich user data. These tools increase the value of UX research, and here’s how;

  • Qualitative Research

Interviews and Focus Groups help uncover user needs, pain points, and motivations. Through these, we delve into in-depth conversions with the target audience and reveal hidden frustrations, aspirations, etc. 

  • Quantitative Research

Surveys and Analytics share valuable user data, including behavior, preferences, etc., to determine the key aspects of user engagement. Using the results, it will be easier to identify designs that will improve user experience. 

  • Behavioral

Behavioral research encompasses eye tracking and clickstream analysis to understand how users interact with the product. We have been using eye tracking to identify overlooked areas on our website and transfer the information we want our users to see to other areas that get better attention. 

  • Attitudinal

It's about uncovering your user’s perceptions and emotional responses towards your product or concept. 

  1. Data Analysis

With the data collected, it's time to analyze it. Data analysis is completed via three methods;

  • Thematic Analysis

Identify recurring themes and patterns in the collected data. Using this, you can identify customers' desires and perceptions about using a tool, product, or service, fueling the development of additional features and functions. 

Thematic Analysis Steps
  • Affinity Diagrams

Taking a visual approach to data analysis, affinity diagrams let you organize and categorize vast amounts of data into meaningful themes. We have been using the strategy to brainstorm ideas and identify user’s needs. 

Affinity Diagram
  • Statistical Analysis

Here, you can use different methods for statistical analysis;

  • Regression
  • Correlation
  • Sampling
  • Inferential Analysis
  • Standard Deviation
  • Hypothesis Testing

Using these, you can identify trends and correlations between data and find areas of improvement. Speaking from personal experience, ensure that you have an expert working with all the numbers or outsource this part of the job because it's time-consuming. 

  1. Considerations

We have learned the hard way the importance of consent when collecting user data. When you are building a product that has the potential to change how things are done, bypassing the small things feels like a sacrifice for the common good. However, that should not be the case. When working on building Qwary, we took care of two things;

  • Informed Consent

Obtain consent from all the survey, interview, focus group, and research participants. Explain the purpose of collecting research data and how the data they provide will be used. 

  • Data Privacy

Adhere to all the privacy regulations pertaining to user data collection amidst all the required security measures. 

Key Components of a UX Research Templates

The components of a UX research plan can vary according to the business goals and research. Before discussing the components, I would recommend that you build a one-page research plan, something I learned from the Interaction Design Foundation. 

A one-page plan will be easier to track, understand, and implement while involving all the required stakeholders when you conduct your research.

UX Research Study Template
  1. Title: It's a simple requirement but will prove helpful when organizing and sorting the research plans. The title should be informative (clear definition) and make it specific. Include the product or area of research and the methods used. 

Example: Mobile App Onboarding: Usability Testing Plan

  1. Author: Share details of the person in charge of the research’s execution. Plus add names of the people whom the participant and stakeholders can connect with or send their feedback. 
  1. Stakeholder Information: All the people involved in the research with whom you will share the results. Share their roles and contact details in the plan document. The key stakeholders are designers, product managers, executives, etc. 
  1. Date: Setting the data lets you track every version of the research plan and compare results. Also, set the revision dates connecting to the initial plan
  1. Project’s Background: Give a short summary of the project, talking about the motivation along with the reason for conducting the research. Mention the problems being faced that must be resolved and additional important information depending on the type of research. 
  1. Main Goal: Talk about the main goal in one line. Mention what you are trying to achieve with your research. The research objectives should be concise, clear, and talk about the single most important thing of a good UX research plan.

Example: Improve the checkout process for a better user experience. 

  1. Research Questions: Add 4-5 questions about goals from the overall research that you will ask from the participants and collect data. The questions you formulate should be clear, concise, and relate to the research methods. 

This means that you cannot ask open-ended questions and use the quantitative research method for analysis. 

  1. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): The KPIs define the success metrics and measure the effectiveness of the research you are conducting. It helps measure the impact of a feature, service, product, etc., on the participants. 

Go for measurable KPIs and quantifiable metrics related to the main research session goals. For example, task completion rate and time spent on checkout are quantifiable metrics. However, the level of frustration and ease of user experience are non-quantifiable metrics as they are subjective and individual to every user. 

  1. Research Methods: You will have a wide range of UX research methods to choose from, but select the ones that are relevant to your plan goal, types of questions asked, and target audience. 

Also, specify whether the research method will be moderated or unmoderated and how long it will take to complete the analysis. 

  1. Participant Information: Share details about the target users, defining their age and gender, whether they are existing or potential customers, location, etc. 

Also mention how many participants you need to recruit for conducting the research and segment them into groups. Also mention the recruitment strategy you will opt to hire research participants. 

  1. Schedule: Create a schedule for each study, mentioning its time frame and how much time it will take to complete. If possible, add milestones in the plan, indicating its progress and check when every activity is due. 

You can set milestones like Recruitment, Data Collection, Analysis, etc. 

Process to Create a UX Research Plan Template

Before I share the creation process, understand this;

“This template is not absolute and infallible. You can always and should make changes according to your requirements, research goals, participants, etc. 

I have supervised the creation and execution of several UX research plans and can assure you that we have not repeated the same template once. Changes are made to the basic structure. 


Here are the steps you need to complete to create the basic structure;

  1. Project Introduction

Share an outline of the project, talking about its goals and target audience. To share a better overview, mention any existing analysis from the UX research repository. A good introduction ensures everyone on the research team has a common understanding and knows the “WHY” behind the research strategy. 

  1. Define The User Problem

Jot down the challenges and pain points of your users. Be as specific as you can. You cannot solve a problem you don’t understand, hence to have a laser-focus research plan, dive deep down. A clear understanding of the problem will facilitate the creation of specific questions and research methods. 

  1. Define The Research Goals

A research plan should include research goals that will kickstart the plan. Any amount of information you can collect on your users is good, but unless you are specific and work with some goals, you will risk obtaining unsatisfactory results. 

Hence, take some time to define the research goals. Again, I use the SMART framework for setting the goals, but you can choose other methods. Just be sure that your priorities, needs, and expectations are set straight before identifying the goals. 

  1. Write Questions-Based Research Process

Write a series of specific questions related to the main goal. Through these UX research questions, you can determine the right research methods and ensure that you address the user problem. 

Here are a few questions to ask for the research goal: Reduce Checkout Time by 15 Seconds.

  • What steps do you take to complete the checkout process?
  • At what point in the checkout process do you feel stuck or spending a lot of time?
  • What information is unclear in the checkout process?
  • Do you find certain forms, fields, or buttons difficult to access?

These are a few sample questions. You can figure out the rest according to the research goals. 

  1. Define Participant Profiles

Create detailed participant profiles, highlighting;

  • Demographics
  • Behavior
  • Psychographics
  • User group


The right participants are equally important when you conduct UX research as are the questions, setting a goal, among other aspects. Well-defined user profiles will ensure that you are taking insights from those who can directly impact your product’s success. 

  1. Identify The Research Analysis Methods

Pick the relevant research methodologies relevant to the research questions, goal, and participant profiles. In addition to this, account for the time required, the number of participants, and the research team’s capacity. These are the basic guidelines for research. 

The right methods will unlock crucial data you need and bring valuable insights. 

  1. Create A Research Timeline

Create a realistic timeline for each phase;

  • Goal setting
  • Recruitment 
  • Data collection 
  • Analysis
  • Report generation

A clear timeline will keep your research on the right track and ensure all deliverables are completed on time. With a timeline, you can also manage stakeholder expectations and create a roadmap to avoid last-minute preparations. 

  1. Conduct Research And Present Results

Believe me when I say that “Collecting and analyzing data are two totally different things.” Execute the research plan according to all the steps we have discussed above. 

The analysis will depend on how you have collected data and the research methods you will use. When interpreting research findings, ensure that you are identifying patterns in user behavior and choices. 

Using these insights, make changes in the required features, design, etc., and effectively communicate the results to stakeholders. 

What Does a Successful UX Research Plan Looks Like?

Here are a few UX research plans to check out for a better understanding: 

There have been several success stories of how a UX research plan can prove to be instrumental in a company’s success.

  1. Airbnb Unlocks the Power of User Behavior

Airbnb observed that their hosts (customers) were sending multiple emails and photos to the renters giving check in instructions. This created an inefficient system, but to find its solution, Airbnb ran a UX research, which led to the creation of a check-in tool. 

This allowed the hosts to create visual guides and instructions for the guests. As Airbnb relied on how people interact with their products in real-world scenarios, they could find hidden design opportunities. 

  1. Google for Education

COVID forced teachers and students to take their studies onlin,e adapting to remote learning. However, Google Meet was originally created for office meetings. But with a new user base now interacting with their product, Google, after interacting with teachers, implemented new features. 

This included attendance tracking, hand raising, waiting rooms, etc. With these, they were able to improve user experience and retain customers. 

To Sum it Up

UX research should be integral to every product development process. More importantly, it should be continuous with new requirements, features, functions, and services in the product. 

With the UX research ready to be implemented following the templated plan I have shared, rest assured that you will end up building a customer-centric product. 

Even though the process is complex, the guide I have created for your reference will prove to be instrumental in taking the right steps. Where you can use the guide, leverage Qwary to conduct surveys, build questionnaires, and gather user data. 

Our suite of user experience analysis tools collects customer experience and product experience. Use Qwary to get product feedback and make effective changes, leading to favorable results. 

Book a Free 30-minute Demo Today. 


  1. How do you write a UX research plan template?

Start building a UX research plan with different sections or parts pertaining to problem introduction, author, stakeholder information, project background, goal, research questions, and methods. Conduct effective research and analyze the results. 

  1. What’s the structure of effective UX research?

A good UX research structure facilitates clarity, with all the components clearly defined. Following this structure, you will have to clearly define the problem and goals and craft research questions while recruiting participants based on the requirements. It has a set timeline and predetermined analytical methods.  

  1. What are the main parts or stages of a UX research plan?

The main parts are problem identification, user introduction, research questions, and research methods. The rest of the parts, such as participant profiles, timeline, author, date, etc., are connected to these primary parts. 

  1. How do I recruit users for UX research?

You can recruit participants for the UX research through screener surveys, online platforms, networking, and existing customer databases. 

  1. What is the UX research plan summary?

A UX research plan summary provides a concise overview of the research plan, focusing on the initial problem, participants, research goals, KPIs, and research methodology. Within this, you might also share the timeline and the results, depending on when you want to share the summary. 

  1. What role does stakeholder involvement play in the creation of a UX research plan?

Stakeholders are as invested in UX research as the owners. Their involvement is crucial to designing a research plan that aligns with the end goals and helps define the key metrics.