My job is a small web agency and our boss negotiates and offers UX services. The job consists on producing research, analysis, user journey and personas sometimes in a week or two. I know this is very little time to do it, however due to budgets and timelines these is what is expected. What kind of ux can you do that is helpful? How would you do user journeys and personas without having the chance to make research with users.

I know some would say “no, you can’t” but some companies pay and ask for some helpful results with these kind of limitations.

  • What is the purpose of these user journeys and personas? Usually it's to help you design a better product but given they are deliverables, they take time to produce, which you don't have. Could you just do interviews and observations to aid your design and skip the documentation? The value is in what you learn, not in how you document it.
    – Martyn
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 12:28
  • @Martyn documentation is important because the knowledge gained from the research often can be reused and if not documented then it becomes lost and you have to do the research again. I would suggest to document as much as you need but no more.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 22:45
  • @MichaelLai OP works at an agency with different clients and projects all the time. Not sure what you want to reuse in those circumstances?
    – Martyn
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 6:22
  • @Martyn I would assume that this is documentation that the client will want since they are paying for the service?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


I am in this situation when I initially started my career as a UX researcher when the turn around time was 1-2 weeks. The best way to start will be do a secondary research and obtain as much insights as you can about the existing product. Request the client to provide with you their customers/ suppliers profile and ask them about the pain points and frustration depending on the service and product. You can develop a persona based on these insights although it might not be accurate to a future user. This is how I started and it did yield some results.


Often it takes days and weeks just to plan and organise the research, let alone execute the research plan. This is not even taking into consideration the time required to synthesize and analyse the result.

It is not impossible to do the work and produce artefacts without involving users extensively (or at all - UX without user research: How do I implement good UX principles when my resources are limited?), but it just means you have to state your assumptions when it comes to decisions being made for the users, and the potential risks if these assumptions are wrong.

Most importantly, you should articulate the value of the work that is produced without a lot of the critical input required. Just think about the value of the research being equal to the quality of the input to start with, and you might actually save the client time and money by extending the time allowed for research or just omit it from the scope of work instead of giving yourself little or no time to produce quality work.

  • +1 I agree with this and I'm also in the same boat as you Jiso. I often have to use comp analysis and basic desk research on similar products of what went well and didn't then pro/con them into an area where I can do basic qual research with a sample size of 5 (per NN/g) to "validate" those assumptions on-going and again with the high fidelity designs. It's not much but it's better than nothing and this usually takes me at least 4 weeks too.
    – DoPeT
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 4:03

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