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What Does Good Information Synthesis in UX Research Look Like?

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You must have heard of the term “information synthesis” in the User Experience (UX) research world, but what does that term even mean?

Information synthesis is an art; it consists of picking out the right data and stringing them into coherent insights for the product design team.

If you don’t do it well, you would have wasted time, money, and effort on the UX research.

So, how do you choose which data is suitable for generating insights? And how do you communicate your findings with the core product team?

We’ve spoken to Koh Jia En, a UX researcher and strategist from Tripadvisor, and extracted key insights from her. For the full webinar of her view on conducting research in global markets, click here.

What does a UX researcher do?

A UX researcher plans the research direction for a project. He or she brainstorms with other researchers, works closely with key stakeholders like the core product team, product designers, and product managers. Knowing their needs is the first step to crafting the project’s requirements. This ensures that all data collected is relevant and actionable.

Depending on the project phase, he or she would be carrying out different duties. At the exploratory phase, researchers would be brainstorming new features through concept testing, surveying, or prototype testing. Concept testing involves asking how receptive users would be to a new product in the market. Prototype testing, conversely, consists of asking users to use a prototype for identifying pain points.

Collaborating with others to get data is crucial too. A UX researcher gets existing data from the data research team, speaks with those previously working on the project, and finds out what they have and what they lack.

This is then followed by analysing the results of the research and speaking to stakeholders. A UX researcher communicates these findings back to them for actionable steps to be taken.

How to synthesise information from UX research?

Jia En shared that good information synthesis takes practice. Sniffing out the relevant information requires an acumen that must be honed over time – but we all have to start somewhere.

Based on Nielsen Norman’s research saturation graph, Jia En said reaching the saturation point is the first step. The saturation point is when you attain little new insights in your research to the point that there are overlaps in your findings.

When a UX researcher has done enough research, the state of findings becomes crystal clear. Jia En describes it as an ‘Ah-Ha!’ state. You may now breathe a sigh of relief and not stay up worrying about it until 2am.

To put it more concretely, Jia En mentions that research is done when a UX researcher reaches a powerful insight that can drive direction for subsequent steps.

What does good synthesis look like?

Synthesised information capable of driving direction in research and design looks like this:

  1. Patterned information and data points that you can make a mental framework of
  2. Replicable; can be used in various situations
  3. Knowledge-driving; able to offer insights that can spur more findings
  4. Users identify with the behavioural segments located

It is unlike poorly synthesised information which looks like:

  1. Data points that are uncategorised and unactionable – incapable of pointing you to the next steps for research or design
  2. Sometimes seen as bulleted points of note-takings and brief summaries

Should you aim to cover every corner of UX research in a short time span?

No. With limited time and resources, being intentional about what you are testing is critical. Rather than aiming to cover all the grounds, Jia En tells us that she has a couple of things that must be prioritised:

1. Aims, areas to cover, and important questions

Firstly, formulate a research brief containing the research aims, the initial findings that support those aims, open questions and findings that support it, and lastly, a discussion guide with key topics that must be discussed.

Knowing the aims of the research, areas that demand coverage, and important questions help ensure that the information needed by the project is covered.

2. Being intentional about what you are trying to cover

It is vital to know the distinction between testing desirability and usability:

  • Desirability – are you testing whether your users want a product or feature?
  • Usability – are you testing whether a product or feature can be used smoothly?

Keeping this distinction in mind and being aware of what you are gunning for helps you streamline the research. Remembering this order of information collection is also necessary because desirability comes before usability.

To achieve this, you must bear in mind exactly which stage your product is at and what your product team needs.

But if you are at your wit’s end trying to determine this, the last resort would be to ask yourself: What is something that I cannot walk away from this study without?

How does a UX researcher communicate their findings to the UX designer?

Research findings are typically conveyed in two forms: a written report or an excel sheet. Key features of each medium include:

  • Written report – executive summary, key findings, recommendations.
  • Excel sheet – the severity of pain point, the volume of people who felt it was a pain point, whether people successfully achieved a task.

Jia En, however, stresses that ultimately it depends on the data collected. Usability tests are best presented in an excel sheet with the aforementioned labels. In contrast, initial findings might suit written reports better.

However, having documented mediums is hardly enough. Jia En advises that discussions should take place with the core product team to generate better immediate ideas and solutions.


Good information synthesis involves a comprehensive understanding of your product stage, core product team’s needs, and clarity of research goals and findings. Ultimately, knowing your key stakeholders’ needs and understanding the product will drive good information synthesis.

If you want to know more about user research and the UX industry, do check out our other resources available on our websites, such as our blog articles, weekly webinars, and podcasts.

CuriousCore also offers both a 2-day UX course and an intensive 4-month career accelerator course for those interested in embarking upon UX programmes with a structured learning approach. Students will learn from established industry professionals and work on real client projects. Click the buttons below to find out more.

Jia En’s Background

Jia En (JE) identifies as a UX Researcher & Strategist. She sees her role as making sense of the unknowns to provide perspectives, clarity, and direction.

She is mixed-methods at heart, with a fondness for qualitative and exploratory research, and has done fieldwork across 7 markets in APAC. Her roles include Design Thinking trainer and facilitator, a Strategic Planner in advertising, and an Ethnographer leading overseas pop-up studios. She has worked at DDB, Procter & Gamble, DBS, Standard Chartered Bank and is now working at Tripadvisor. She’s interested in applying research for consumer tech, communities, and social impact.