UX Research: Phases of the research process

Torresburriel Estudio
3 min readJun 14, 2022


Research investigation activities take up over 80% of our activity as professional UX Researchers, so it is obvious that we need to assure that we continuously improve and professionalise. This means that we need to keep on learning and perfecting our knowledge and practices.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Research is a process within the UX process. Let’s dive into each four of its phases:

  • Discover
  • Explore
  • Test
  • Listen

Discovery phase

The discovery phase is where we have the first contact with the project. At this stage we have the objective of trying to know the unknown and better understand users’ needs. Before our product is started up it is key that we go through this stage, since it will clear up if it is really necessary that we implement it or not. The main objective is to validate and delete suppositions that were stated prior to the project.

In this stage there are different methodologies that can be carried out with the objective of developing a product or service that will be based on the user or redesign an already existing one. Some of these methodologies are: ethnographic field studies, one on one user interviews, competitive usability evaluations and diary studies.

Exploratory phase

In this research phase, the corresponding techniques are faced towards understanding the user’s needs in an appropriate way and approaching design and its complexity from a global perspective. We will try to understand the problem and design’s reach.

Activities carried out during this stage must be specifically faced to establish guidelines or patterns based on evidence, give control to the user on task execution, verify if there is any inconsistency, aligning functionalities with user needs…

Testing phase

At this point, testing methods try to validate if the developed designs work appropriately and correctly for users to which the digital product is oriented to.

This means that different methods are used to test and validate designs during its development and the rest of the product’s life to check and ensure that its systems are working properly for its users.

Listening phase

Listening is the action that allows us to understand the existing users’ problems and find new problems to tackle. Furthermore, if we analyse the compiled data and we track new information we will be able to establish patterns and preferences.

Even if this phase is at the end of the process, referring to its evaluative character, listening must be done all along the design and research cycle so we can better understand the existing user’s problems and find new ones, as we stated earlier.

Each of these phases, other than knowing them deeply in the theoretical spectrum we need to know exactly when to put them into practice, how to put them into practice and know how to draw needed conclusions so we can replicate them in future research.



Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance