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I am a rookie. As the only UX designer on my team I have been assigned to create the research strategy. The product is an existing Learning Management System (LMS) and the vision is to revamp and add new features. I need guidance on how to create a plan and how long it takes to prepare.

I have been given 3 days and I couldn't negotiate as I haven't created one in the past.

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Start by thinking about what you want to discover. It sounds like you've already been tasked with improving an lms (whatever that is) and adding features to it.

So you'll need to discover what improvements need to be made. I'd start with a Heuristic Evaluation or Cognitive Walkthrough, quick and cheap methods you can do yourself. Then consider a round of usability tests to discover the problems that users have with the existing system.

I'm going to assume you weren't told to just "add some features" to the thing, though it wouldn't surprise me if you were. One of the "UX 101" principles is that features shouldn't be added unless there's a provable need that it will fill. So you could do some shadowing sessions to discover how potential users use your current system. From there you'll see what shortcuts they use, what other systems they refer to, etc. These will help you determine what additions are needed.

I'm making assumptions about what you need and what kind of system you're working on, so modify my thought process here for your own purposes.

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  • Just to add on the stakeholders for LMS are usually not the end users. Please try to include the end users if you’re doing shadowing sessions. – Eric Chia Nov 12 '20 at 15:07
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In addition to the other comments:

An existing system might also mean wealth of usage data you have access to. Dig through analytics, search terms, customer service logs, previous marketing studies, talk to customer service reps / help desk people, etc. All this already existing data will give you a head start and paint an initial picture of what people are using the system for (primary tasks) and what pain points / bottlenecks there are.

Also, keep in mind that revamping is not necessarily the best route for many products. As users are already familiar with the product, revamping will force them to relearn everything again. If feasible, consider a plan of continuous minor improvements and measuring impacts.

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Before jumping into the methods and approaches of research, it is important to spend some time discussing where research started and its evolution into the processes and methodologies that user experience (UX) practitioners use today.

You might want to take a look at the users of your product/services, and find out the parameters affecting them. Time to complete an operation for example. Or pick up a log or complaint database.

  1. One of the first steps you’ll need to master as you start getting into UX research is figuring out what questions you need to answer.

  2. Qualitative or Quantitative

  3. Logistics: In-person or remote (given the pandemic condition you are not left with other option)

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