UX Researcher

Rolling Studies at Google


Rolling Studies at Google

My experience leading biweekly to triweekly usability & concept testing studies for the Hangouts Chat & Gmail teams at Google.


Duration: October 2018 - July 2019
Team: Hangouts Chat & Gmail
Position: UX Researcher

During my time as a contract UX Researcher at Google, I led almost 15 small-sample triweekly usability and concept testing studies for the enterprise Hangouts Chat and Gmail teams (with a focus on Hangouts Chat).

What did I study and test?

Usability Of the Product/Feature

  • What confuses users?

  • What makes sense to users?

  • How easy or difficult is it to accomplish certain tasks?

  • Does the product match user’s mental models & expectations?

  • What are risks that need to be resolved before we ship the feature?

Overall Usefulness Of the Product/Feature

  • Is there a need for this feature?

  • Have there been any past situations at work where this feature would have improved the user’s life?

  • Do participants use a similar feature in another product? For what?

The User Base

  • What chat products do people use? What do they like about these products? What do they dislike about these products?

  • Have we made any assumptions about users and how they use chat products?

  • How do classic Hangouts users feel about transitioning to Hangouts Chat?

The Process

Rolling studies were intended to be lightweight and rapid to allow for quick iterations and design changes. The process can be broken down into 3 distinct phases, all of which I was in charge of:


  • Determine research goals and questions with design and product management.

  • Determine the most effective way to answer research questions (eg. clickable prototype, storyboards).

  • Develop study plan and protocol.


  • Moderate in-person or remote sessions.

  • Encourage stakeholders to observe sessions.


  • Rapidly synthesize data into key, actionable insights.

  • Present results to stakeholders via reports or slides.

  • Discuss next steps and any questions or concerns stakeholders may have.

Examples of product features I tested

Note that many of the features are yet to be made public and cannot be talked about in detail.

  • Hangouts Chat in Gmail

  • Google Voice & Hangouts Meet Integration

  • Status & Availability in Chat

  • Emojis & GIFs

  • Privacy Settings

  • Classic Hangouts migration

  • ‘North Star’ Visions

Some of the Chat and Gmail features that went through the rolling studies were unveiled at Google Cloud Next ‘19 (see below for presentation screenshots). For more details, see a recording of the presentation here.