When the high-level scope and purpose has been defined, the UX designers begin their work. The research phase consists of multiple different methods, e.g. on-site research visits, user documentation, and online meetings with groups of end users.
On-site visit, learning about the workflows of the institution in question; discussing challenges and potential solutions.
Research trips are conducted to understand how staff users and patrons work with the institution’s systems. UX designers follow staff around and experience how and why they perform the various tasks through-out their working day. This gives designers a good insight into the needs that a software system needs to fulfil, but more importantly, it gives the UX designers a sense of the context in which the system is used, making it easier to create a system that works in practice.
Staff members from institutions around the world help in the research phase by providing walk-throughs of their processes, revealing a lot of information that one cannot efficiently discover by shadowing users in their daily work—oftentimes the processes stretch over months or even years, so letting end users themselves document their workflows is both an efficient and low-risk way of making sure no details get lost. The documentation can be in text, bullet-point, diagram or video format. When something is unclear to the UX team working with end users, meetings are simply set up online or in person to clear any misunderstandings.