- Challenge: Create an end-to-end solution for companies to respond to Data Subject Access Requests in compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law.
- Company: Veritas Technologies LLC
- My Role: UX Research Intern
- Duration: May 2017 – August 2017
- Survey Screener
- Phone Interviews
- Qualitative Data Analysis
- Design Sprint
- Moderated Remote and In-Person Usability Tests
- Pen & Paper
- Adobe XD
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law that will take effect on May 25, 2018. All companies across the globe; as long as they process data on EU residents; have to comply with the stringent requirements, or risk facing a penalty of €20 million or 4$ of worldwide turnover, whichever is higher.
In an intern pod of 4, we were tasked with one slice of the pie – creating an enterprise solution to help companies comply with Subject Access Rights (SARs) under the GDPR. SAR is a process where individuals can request access to their personal data and exercise rights such as “The Right to be Forgotten“.
Understand the Domain. Align Goals.
What is GDPR? What is the SAR process? Who’s affected? These were the questions that immediately sprung into my mind upon receiving our project charter. Online research and informal conversations with GDPR experts and stakeholders helped me to understand the problem space within the context of UX.
This understanding was later augmented with input from our PM intern to consider Veritas’ GDPR strategy, technical challenges, competitors and partners. We then aligned our goals to come up with a research plan
Conducting Lean Research
Leveraging Veritas’ internal customer database, I recruited external enterprise customers and screened them through a Qualtrics survey. I then gathered user requirements from participants who qualified via phone interviews.
Being in a fast-paced Agile environment meant that I didn’t have the luxury of weeks or months for discovery with plenty of time to design just the right study and include 20 participants. I was investigating smaller research questions and frequently adjusting my interview guide according to findings from 2-3 participants. The key was getting enough information without losing the integrity of my research efforts.
Synthesizing Findings as a Team
Learning a New Tool for Sharing Findings
To expedite the “finding to implementation” process, the entire pod was encouraged to observe the interviews in real time using a web conferencing. They were mostly there to listen and develop an understanding of the users but they could message questions to me. To facilitate note-taking and sharing, I decided to use a new tool – Trello. I set up a structure for members to type up observations as cards at their convenience.
Going Back to Affinity Maps
Unfortunately, some Trello relies on online participation from everyone. Some were better at taking paper notes and ended up wasting precious time digitalizing them on Trello. Also, it was hard to see grouping patterns so I led an affinity mapping session for everyone to understand raw data and synthesize results together. User stories, personas and journey maps were also born from our research and qualitative analysis
Borrowing from Jake Knapp’s process, we modified our process to be completed in 1-2 weeks and used some of the resources to plan for our sprint.
After prioritizing the problem and aligning our schedules, we decided to combine the Sketch and Decide phase into one. Our UX mentors were also invited to participate and give us feedback on how to improve the process. I participated in the entire sprint and enjoyed sketching crazy 8s and presenting them!
As the UX designers moved to storyboarding and prototyping, I was also preparing for testing – participant criteria, recruitment, testing guide. I was collaborating with the PM to incorporate testing goals from a business perspective, while communicating with the designers to keep updated about design decisions and prioritize aspects for testing.
My internship came to an end after 2 rounds of design sprints, testing and debriefs. However, product development was still continuing and 1 of the design interns volunteered to learn user testing. Mentoring her was a great experience and it also made me reflect on my own processes. Moment of triumph: when we sat in other interns’ user tests and she realized “I can write a lot less leading tasks than them”
A foreign collaboration with PMs
In all our school projects, I’ve never had the chance to collaborate with a Product Manager so this was a very new experience. I realized how important it was to discuss and align our goals to drive our project in the right direction.
Moving from Q&A to conversations
It was awesome having a network of senior researchers that could give feedback on my surveys and interviews and expose me to better ways of asking follow-up questions. A huge thank you to my mentor, Marie-Blanche, for taking the time to scrutinize my guides, sit in on research sessions, and push me to greater heights! 🙂
Owning the research process
Ownership is more than just independently conducting research. Designers, PMs, and engineers are very much included in research activities. Taking responsibility for research also means taking the lead in explaining research plans, setting up team environments, and sharing insights. Thank you Veritas for the WOW employee award and a very abundant summer!