Tara Suan - UX Researcher

These samples are my latest work in user experience research. I provide user research, synthesis, and presentation of user-centered design insights. 

Previously as a Head of Marketing and product Director, I brought user research to dozens of additional projects.



USER RESEARCH, USAbility testing and Design recommendations

Project: Let New York Vote

LetNYVote.org is a coalition of good government and civic action groups who lobby for statewide voting reforms in New York. My goal is to bring user-centered design thinking to the redeployment of the website for 2018. My tasks include user research, usability testing, design ideation, and website analytics.


Phase 1 - Usability Research

To build more user empathy, I conducted usability testing with the 2017 version of the site. To reach beyond the design team’s Manhattan roots, I selected participants from rural and upstate New York to participate. I used Lookback screen and audio recording software to conduct the interviews, gathered their feedback and recording their interaction with the website. Participants engaged in a set of usability tasks so that I could assess how they navigate through the site, what actions they were successful in completing, what their impressions are of the site, and what questions they have.


Phase 2 - Redesign

I prepared key design recommendations for hand off to the project manager, visual designer, and developer. These items were to streamline existing content, hierarchy and navigation, while retaining the winning aspects of the site’s look and feel. We gave people fewer options by moving copy into downloadable one-pagers to read offline, and simplified navigation.

Phase 3 - Testing

Currently underway is a plan to measure key site metrics, and run experimental AB tests to optimize for goal states. I will also conduct additional usability testing within the target audience. My goal is to optimize the user experience for quantitative measures such conversions and actions, and also for qualitative and subjective improvements, such as visitor comprehension of the issues.

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Pictured above: A video still from recordings made of the member interviews

Pictured above: A video still from recordings made of the member interviews

Pictured above: Sticky note organization for user personas

Pictured above: Sticky note organization for user personas

User Research, Synthesis and Presentation

Project: Common Cause

Common Cause is an advocacy group that works to ensure accountability and transparency in government. This year, they created opportunities for members to participate more directly in democracy through legislative advocacy at the state capitol, and public awareness events such as rallies and voter registration tabling.


The UX project comprised user research to document and understand the volunteer experiences of members. My goal was to aid the organization in understanding their volunteers’ wants and needs, and help them to design better volunteer experiences in 2018.


Phase 1 - Research

The primary research methodology was interviewing members one-on-one. I designed a script to delve into the motivations and expectations of user participation in civic action, through the participants’ own stories. I observed and recorded their behaviors and thoughts while engaged in a usability task. Participants were drawn from a list of 10,000 general members. I was also responsible for analyzing the user database and selecting an appropriate recruiting pool.


Phase 2 - Synthesis

Upon completion of the interviews, I analyzed the findings for themes and explored the commonalities and differences in the experiences. I transcribed the interviews onto sticky notes so that I could move the notes around and regroup them as I looked for key insights. From the groupings I worked out how I would present the insights: in written summary, as persona attributes, and as user journey elements.


Phase 3 - Presentation

The final 20-page report consisted of 12 themes with interview excerpts for context. In addition, I developed three user personas and three user journeys to illustrate shared volunteer experiences, and draw some conclusions as to why those experiences vary.


Persona and Journey: The 'Nancy' persona has a different experience in a similar situation than do the other two personas. She is more motivated by extrinsic measures (“Did we win yet?”) than with intrinsic experiences (“I am part of the solution”).

Nancy’s user journey is a year of ups and downs that resulted in her mixed experience. As part of the journey, I incorporated opportunities where Common Cause could better understand Nancy’s needs, thus providing her with more support during her journey.

Click an image below to see the detailed journey and persona:


Project: Databetes

Databetes is a diabetes data and software consultancy. I was engaged on a user research project for a large client in the medical device field. The research was undertaken to aid product exploration into diabetes intervention software for the Type 2 patient population. I was the user researcher on a four-person team that included the founder and chief strategist, a designer, and a prototyping expert.


Phase 1 - Research

I worked closely with the founder to plan and conduct the research. I co-wrote the interview script and recruiting screener, and helped determine the demographic and user data points to gather across the set of participant interviews. I also managed the transcription of the interviews and supported the founder on interview days. In total, we interviewed ~75 patients and clinicians in Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston.


Phase 2 - Synthesis

The scope of the research was both wide and deep. We generated summaries of pain points, wants and needs, key themes and insights. I was responsible for the distillation of interviews into key personas, where came together based on attitudinal responses and behavioral data, patient histories and A1c scores.


Phase 3 - Presentation

To the right is one of four personas constructed for this project. 'Sheila' is an example of a patient living with diabetes who has found a balance between her condition management and the rest of her busy life. Sheila’s persona demonstrates the areas where a medical device company can focus it’s design attention to enable Sheila to better manage her medical condition, but not at the cost of taking up more of her precious free time, caring for loved ones, and enjoyment of life. 

Pictured above: Satisfied Engager Persona, "Sheila"

Pictured above: Satisfied Engager Persona, "Sheila"

Pictured above: A “satisfied engager” user journey, organized by day

Pictured above: A “satisfied engager” user journey, organized by day




Please let me know how I can assist you in your next project.



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