My team and I are designing an online service that hosts learning material in the form of articles with various sections that take maybe 10 minutes to read.

While we can't change the content, we can change how the content is presented/chunked up etc to make it more digestible for the user.

Is it potentially better to do user research retrospectively (ie. a survey) to understand feedback about presentation of the articles? Or is there a better option?

  • What is UR? What is your problem exactly?
    – Nash
    May 12, 2021 at 13:25
  • 1
    @Nash UR=User Research. (I assume).
    – JonW
    May 12, 2021 at 14:26
  • Yeah UR is widely used an as abbreviation for User Research and my post is about UR methodology.. May 13, 2021 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


I'd suggest observing users. There is always something new that you learn from this. You can ask a few questions towards the end of a session to further understand why they did certain things. This type of qualitative research helps you to understand the space and allows you to write better survey questions for quantitative research.

Secondly I would advise using your own product. Take it seriously and do a few courses. You'll get first hand experience with where the issues are.


If the goal is to change the presentation, then the research needs to lean towards Qualitative analysis instead of Quantitative. Since we do need more information to decide the research method. Let's create an hypothesis around it.

In such a perspective and availability of users, time and schedule will decide course of action -

a. Diary studies - if users can be diligent and self-governed will provide insights after a week or two on set of questions put-up on questionnaire

b. Contextual Inquiry - Allow users to work on master-apprentice model with the designer or research. This partnership will provide to unearth key concepts and expectations from users to derive the method to present the learning section

c. Card sorting exercise - Though you will need to structure labels for the sections - there needs to be a logic to derive those 'labels'. Either these labels should be uniform across all sections helping users mental model or need to note the variation within the labels by building themes. Themes are derived in an affinity mapping exercise post collection of all labels and phrases.

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