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I'm currently writing up a User Research Report for an online web app. The report is roughly divided as follows:

  • Introduction (Executive Summary)
  • Methodology (User Interviews, User Surveys, User Personas, User Journey Maps)
  • Results
  • Conclusion

Although the User Personas and User Journey Maps are UR methods that help inform your results, i found they qualify as Results of the research themselves. For example the User Journey Maps contain an "Opportunities" block which in a way or another mirror our results and findings.

So my question is, do the User Personas and User Journey Maps belong under the Results section, are they fine where they are now, or can they stay in Methodology and maybe sub-sectioned under "Analysis"? What are the best practices?

Hope i was clear enough. Thanks in advance.

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It just depends on your research objective.

Sometimes a persona is a research input, and the learning is scoped around a specific problem and user audience. A usability testing protocol usually (and surveys sometimes) in this case can be written with a specific persona in mind so it is reflective of their needs. In such a case I'd make mention of this up front in the executive summary and cite the relevant identified persona(s).

Some of the time I consider personas and journey maps more of a research output from qualitative research and analysis. E.g., if the research effort is meant to produce 1 or more journey maps, I'd focus each map on one distinct person, and then the journey map is the output in your results section. In this case the personas are input and the map of opportunities is an output.

Alternately, if the research is meant to inform the creation or identification of user personas, then the executive summary would have a research question like "Who are the different people in our user audience, and how are their needs distinct?" Etc. Then your proto-persona or sketches or whatnot artifacts could appear as output in the results area of the research deck, contrasted against that original question. And of course with supporting bullet points and observations from the methods used to inform them (interviews, surveys, etc.)

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If your personas and final journey maps are based on UR, they should be included in the Results section. If you're saying that there are opportunities to create better personas and journey maps based on gaps identified in the UR, then that's something you can bring up in your Conclusion section as opportunities for further insight.

What else are you including in your Results section, and what was the purpose of the research in the first place?

  • Thanks for the fast reply. I meant the User Journey map illustration contains an "Opportunities" section for each step in the map (e.g.: Better Filters, Reorganizing this and that). It might be valid as you said to have them in the results. The results section contains a top level analysis of the website, then sub-sections for each of its modules, and for each module a "Findings & Recommendations" matrix. We then list User Recommendations and At the end of the section we discuss what a potential mobile version should look like. Hope that gives a clearer image :) – Mathiew Feb 20 '18 at 7:47
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Depends on who your audience is. The more senior, the more they want brevity "what did you find out and what do you propose we do to fix things?"

Your structure seems to be the scientific method which is what I started out doing. Didn't work in a corporate world.

Here's what does:

Put main findings at the very top with high level recommendations. Discuss methodology very briefly then expand more on each of the key findings with their recommendations.

A format might look like:

  • Executive summary
  • Key findings
  • Key recommendations
  • Brief explanation of method
  • More detailed explanation of key findings + key recommendations
  • More detailed explanation of method
  • Appendices

User journeys and personas do not generally sit inside findings reports but are an important output in their own right; include them as appendices if you like but try and ensure they are distinct, living, documents.

Generally go from low detail to high detail as you go through the document.

  • Thanks for the reply @colmcq. I'll definitely try this in my next report. I was amazed by how much of my report doesn't matter for the corporate world. I see what you tried to do there: Present the most important butter to the seniors as soon as possible and allow them to dig deeper only if they are curious to continue, all while leaving the gritty scientific details in the Appendices. I think it's exactly what i was trying to aim for, and your model provides a good ground for that. – Mathiew Aug 23 '18 at 9:43

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