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I was asked to work on UI and UX part of an existing IOT web-based application which is related to the database.

It is a very vast product and I can't try and test this product due to some confidential things. The product database is very huge and company has provided me with read-only credentials. In short, I am unable to understand how the functionality works.

I need to do user research (I am new in user research) and find pain points. On basis of this, I have to provide ideas of improvement.

In order to do the improvements in current UI/UX, I have to understand the product first. But I am unable to understand it because I don't have full access of this product.

So, in this case, how should I start my work? How do I start in this condition?

Please help.

Thank you in advance!

  • If I understand your question correctly, you are supposed to perform user research on the product, but can't use the product itself. Is the problem the product itself or the fact that the database is huge? – Mike Apr 24 '18 at 6:51
  • But you can use it yourself, you just can't show it to potential users? – locationunknown Apr 24 '18 at 7:11
  • @Mike: Yes, product database is very huge and company has provided credential in which I can only see but can't change anything to test. In short I am unable to understand how functionality works. – User1427 Apr 24 '18 at 9:21
  • It's still not clear to me what is your role in the whole project - customer satisfaction? System performance improvement? Database structure optimisation? Please, provide us with some more information as right now your question is very broad. – Mike Apr 24 '18 at 9:59
  • I am here to work on UI and UX part. So I have to do improvements in current UI/UX but to do this I have to understand the product but I am unable to understand because I don't have full access of this product. So in this case how should I start my work? – User1427 Apr 24 '18 at 10:16
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  1. In the most ideal situation you would need to set up 4 environments:

    • development
    • test
    • acceptance
    • production

where "production" is the environment for which you've got the credentials. Usually the developers in cooperation with DBA take care of it.

  1. You get to know the requirements of the system.

  2. You spend some time with the developers and DBA to know more about the technical aspects of the system. You find out what the decoupling level between the front-end and the back-end is (i.e. how closely the current UI is connected with the database, where the business logic resides, are there any APIs, etc.)

  3. You come up with some user stories (typical user actions) and check their ease and performance in the current system.

  4. At this moment you should have some idea whether the bottlenecks are the front-end or the back-end, the UI itself or the database performance, UX that was not immune to scaling. You also get the feeling if it is reasonable to fix the current UI or design the new one from scratch.

  5. You decide what the next step is, work closely with the Product Owner, team of developers, DBA. Having those 4 environments you (in fact all the parties that I just mentioned) can easily develop without ruining the production. You can than test, again without touching the production. If all is up to your expectation you can let your customers (your bosses or test customers) accept your work. Once it is accepted, it goes to production.

Of course it is not that quick and depends on the current architecture of the system (layers decoupling). But anyway this is how I would approach a similar task.

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  • Thank you Mike... You helped me lot :). Now I know from where I should start and whom to ask questions. – User1427 Apr 25 '18 at 6:25
  • I'm glad to hear that. Please, don't forget to mark my answer accordingly. – Mike Apr 25 '18 at 7:25
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First, you'll need to learn how to use the system. They can't very well expect you to test something you can't use yourself. Have one of their customer-facing people (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service) give you a tutorial. Find the manual and help files.

Then I'd suggest you do a heuristic evaluation. (It's an old, reliable method.) That's where you, the UX expert, walk through typical tasks and see how each screen complies with the heuristics. It's quick and easy to do, and helps you gain a better understanding of the basic problems with the system. You'll probably find a bunch of them. These should be addressed before you spend more time and effort on usability studies with users. (There's not much sense having users find problems you already know about.)

That's where I'd start if I were in your situation. Based on what you find out, you can perform other testing methods to fine-tune your inquiry.

Good luck. It sounds like they're putting you in a very difficult position.

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  • Thank you for guidance.... It would help me for sure. :) – User1427 Apr 25 '18 at 6:23

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