UX design, research & writing

Legal E-Discovery User Research Program

FTI Technology (2014–2018)

I saw an opportunity at FTI to do more user research, and specifically to involve external users and users of competitive products. I started with pilot sessions and coworkers saw the value and began seeking more user observations and testing for their projects. This resulted in improvements across the product.

I interviewed and observed participants in addition to conducting think-aloud usability testing, in order to gain insight into how and why people use e-discovery software (not just our product) and to expose the entire development team to first-hand accounts and experiences. I sought out both experienced and novice users to gain a broad perspective.

Coworkers in design, development, quality assurance, and product management have attended user testing sessions and research presentations. Attending these sessions helped the whole team think about their biases and gaps in understanding, leading to more reflection on our product and the desire to continue learning about our users.


  • Recruiting representative and varied participants
  • NDA and compensation logistics
  • Study design including:
    • formalizing study goals
    • writing tasks
    • defining interview protocol
  • Prototyping
  • Running studies (site visits or remote via screen sharing and phone)
  • Creating reports and a shared archive
  • Presenting results to the entire development team

User Research Influences

I studied user research methods and cognitive psychology as part of the design master's program at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, there are many practitioners whose work I admire and have learned from. One researcher whose work I've found especially helpful is Steve Portigal, specifically his book Interviewing Users and his podcast Dollars to Donuts, which consists of interviews with user research leaders.