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UX Research Projects

In-depth Interviews: Understanding the needs of stuttering patients to design a VR app.

qualitative | generative | semi-structured discovery interviews

In-depth Interviews:  Understanding the needs of stuttering patients to design a VR app.

<My Role>
Teammate, instructional designer (cross-functional team of 5)
*Participated in the design (interview protocol), facilitation and analysis of 1:1 interviews.

<Background and Goals>
During the exploration phase of building a new public speaking VR training app, generative discovery interviews were conducted to uncover users’ past experiences, motivations, pain points and needs. The main purpose was to better understand the contexts of users’ lives related to speech difficulties.

Personas were created following this interview study.

<Research Questions>
(1) What are the major public speaking challenges stuttering patients experiences?
(2) How do stuttering patients prepare for public speaking? What works well? How can it be improved?
(3) In what context do stuttering patients stutter more? What are associated symptoms?

Interview Design
(1) Create interview protocol;
(2) Recruit participants;
*7 adults (stuttering patients)
(3) Conduct interviews (approximately 30-45 min session/ea.);
(4) Transcribe interview;
(5) Data analysis (thematic)

Example interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your definition of stuttering? What does it mean to you?
- Take me through an ordinary public speaking situation for you. What does it look like?
- In what situations have you had a hard time speaking (with/without stuttering)?
- What do you think most affects your stuttering?
- Please describe how you would normally prepare for public speaking.
- What aspects of public speaking do you like/dislike? How do you think that affects your stuttering symptoms?
- Is there anything else you would like to share with me?

<Crucial Insights>
(1) Anxiety is a major cause of stuttering, and stuttering symptoms intensify with increased social anxiety. But by practicing coping techniques, individuals are able to alleviate symptoms.

(2) Coping techniques through cognitive behavioral therapy is a way of practicing speech. However, it’s difficult for therapists to monitor patients outside of the clinical setting. Cost and availability is also a related concern.

(3) Question to consider: How to induce anxiety without therapist help? What affordances of VR can support this?

*For additional findings and learnings, please contact

(1) Consult with therapists and speech pathologists on anxiety coping techniques and other methods to embed into the instructional design of the app.
(2) Consider incorporating anxiety-related content into the app.
(3) Create user personas.

(1) Follow-up interviews with therapists and speech pathologists were conducted to inform instructional and experience design.
(2) Personas were created.

Persona examples:
- Archetype: First Time User
- Name: John
- Age: 19
- Occupation: College student
- Needs: Tool to help practice coping mechanisms for his severe social anxiety while he isn’t in therapy.
- Challenges: He just started going to therapy and he isn’t sure he can follow through with the exercises his therapist assigned to him. John is not yet confident he can apply the skills his therapist taught him in a real life situation so he needs some guidance with these exercises and would like a tool that can help him with that.
- Motivations: John wants to be more confident in social settings and has just started taking an active approach towards overcoming this fear.

- Archetype: Experienced User
- Name: Sarah
- Age: 25
- Occupation: Graphic Designer
- Needs: Tool to help practice coping mechanisms to enhance verbal communication when she isn’t in therapy.
- Challenges: Due to rising levels of stress at work and her workplace becoming louder due to construction outside, her stuttering has deteriorated. A physical environmental factor noise has started to negatively impact her daily anxiety level.
- Motivations: She wants to improve her communication skills to enhance work efficiency.

- Archetype: Power User
- Name: David
- Age: 23
- Occupation: Grad Student
- Needs: Tool to help practice coping mechanisms for his severe social anxiety while he isn’t in therapy.
- Challenges: Although he is rather comfortable with coping mechanisms in daily situations and small group settings, his anxiety levels increase dramatically when he is in bigger group environments.
- Motivations: He needs to make presentations to a variety of different audiences.

One of my favorite aspects of this study was gleaning users’ insights to inform the preliminary design of our VR app. Specifically, by understanding what the major struggles users experience in public speaking, my team was able to create design iterations that are tailored to the users’ needs. It was rewarding for me to be a part of the research process while the product was still in its early phases to make suggestions that were grounded in research. I was able to make an impact by creating user-centric instructional designs. This experience has taught me the importance of conducting user research at all stages of the product cycle and how working cross-functionally can lead to an impact on the business.

Sample deliverables

*The visuals below are for showcasing my general reporting ability.

*Final decks of this research project can be provided upon request.

Key findings from a generative interview study.

Key findings, interview highlights, and suggested user flow from a qualitative usability and interview study.

vrbal main points

Key findings

vrbal interviews
Vrbal user flow

Key findings and highlights from a survey study.

Principal Presentation 11-25 edits.pptx (2).jpg
Principal Presentation 11-25 edits.pptx (3).jpg
Principal Presentation 11-25 edits.pptx (4).jpg

Personas created from a generative interview study.

Data summary, key findings and suggested changes from a prototype usability study.

ARWords_Findings and Action Items.png

Positioning mapping from a competitor analysis study.

Pictures from past UX research studies.

*The pictures below are for showcasing my experience in diverse research settings.

*Some pictures have been blurred for confidentiality reasons.

New product prototype usability study.


Remote in-depth interview for product improvement of an existing product.

ARpedia usability_edited.jpg

Usability/accessibility studies of early-stage AR and VR prototypes for users with disabilities.

vrbal test 02

 An early-stage usability study for ideation of an educational game for children.

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