UX/UI Design

Helping designers create better usability tests with Maze

User Research, Product Strategy, UX/UI Design, Prototyping
5 weeks
Helping designers create better usability tests with Maze

The Problem

When using Maze for the first time, users are confused by the language in the platform, which results in misunderstanding and frustration when trying to use Maze. In addition, when creating usability tasks, users are unsure how to structure or ask their questions, which results in sub-optimal tests with unclear, misleading questions that don't help designers obtain the insights they are searching for.

We believe that improving the understandability of Maze's mission block and supporting designers in formulating their usability tasks will improve the test creation experience, leading to better written usability tests and increased user satisfaction.

The Solution

Our final solution was a redesign of Maze's test builder experience with a simplified layout and updated language more familiar to designers and researchers. There were three main elements that we added to improve the question-writing and test-building experience:

  1. An onboarding tour that explains to new users how to use the Maze interface
  2. Tooltips and example placeholder text to help support researchers and designers when formulating their usability tasks
  3. Usability task templates that include test scenarios and follow-up questions to provide a clear question hierarchy and test structure.

Questions, Observations & Assumptions

To help me better frame any problems with the product, I began by conducting a quick audit of the product, documenting any initial pain points or observations I had using the product for the first time. To capture these thoughts, I followed the structure [situation], [response], [problem to business or experience], keeping in mind both users and business needs.

Insight 1: A new market of quarantine DIYers
Insight 2: Manual Operations and Disjointed touchpoints
Insight 3: Tool users of all levels require more support

When creating a mission, users are presented with a blank mission template without any onboarding or instructions, which causes confusion about what a mission is, why they are creating it and how to structure their mission for their usability test.

Based on our initial observations, we believed that improving the onboarding and first mission creation experience for first-time users will help improve user understanding of the mission block feature, resulting in a better test creation experience and an increased user retention. To further explore this we, created a research goal:

Our research goal is to understand how designers and researchers conduct and structure unmoderated online usability tests using Maze's mission block feature.

Digging deeper with user research

To confirm my observations and begin forming a hypothesis backed by data, I created a user survey to uncover the core problems designers experience creating usability tests and using Maze.

User Survey Questions

1. What is your role?
Designer | Researcher | Product Manager | Business/Marketing | Other (please specify)
2. Have you ever conducted a usability test before?
3. What type of usability tests do you usually conduct?
Surveys | User interviews | Prototype testing | Other (please specify)
4. Select the usability testing platforms you have used before:
I haven't used any usability testing platform before
User Feel
Other (please specify)
5. Do you use follow-up questions in your usability test?
6. If you use follow up questions, how do you structure them?
7. What do you find difficult or frustrating when creating a usability test?
8. If you have used Maze before, how was your experience creating a test in Maze?
1 - Very difficulty to use / 5 - Very easy to use
9. Why did you give that rating?


Having shared my survey with users of the product, the next stage of my case study was focused on synthesizing the data to recognize trends and form a hypothesis. During the synthesis I segmented user responses and used an affinity map to prioritize the problems of users inline with business needs.

Check out our full synthesis.

Video of kiln prototype burn test
Project Process Work

Based on this synthesis we prioritized 2 main problems to tackle which also helped us craft the How Might We question we would use to frame our ideation:

  1. Users are confused on how to use the mission block to structure their questions and tests
  2. Users have trouble formulating their usability tasks–including how to word questions in a non-leading way, structuring test scenarios and adding follow-up questions.

Ideating improvements and additions

We used a combination of thumbnail sketches and mind mapping to brainstorm ideas around things we can improve and things we can add to Maze to improve the test creation process. Check out the figjam file of our brainstorming.

How might we help researchers formulate better usability tasks using Maze's mission blocks?
Project Process Work

Mapping out the test creation user flow

Following Ideation I created user flows of the existing experience and improved the flow based on the idea that fit with business and user goals. To inform the user flows I created a user story to ensure each user flow I created had a goal.

As a researcher, I want to formulate better usability tasks using Maze's mission block so I can get more insightful results about my designs.

Check out the figjam file of the annotated existing user flow and the proposed user flow.

OTL App Screenshots

Wireframing and prototyping the new test builder

I first did a black and white mid-fidelity wireframe to get a quick overview of how the interface and interactions would look like. I used a neutral color palette to avoid any decision bias and would use this prototype to get feedback internally. I used Autoflow in Figma to help me easily map the user flow between each page ahead of converting the pages into a prototype.

Steel Oil Drum
30,000 TSH
$17.47 CAD

1" Round Steel Tubing (54" long)
2,750 TSH
$1.60 CAD

Nuts and Bolts (x2)
2,000 TSH
$1.17 CAD

Rebar (86")

Sheet Steel
15,000 TSH
$8.74 CAD

Project Process Work

Styles and Components

To create the high fidelity prototype I inspected the products style and followed the 8pt rule to effectively and easily create a prototype that was consistent with the product styling. Before creating the prototype I defined styles and components to easily and quickly help me design consistently.

Check out the full styles and components library.

Airflow control of kilnbottom airflow control on kilnchimney cover on kilnAirflow control of kiln
Project Process Work

Hi-fidelity Prototype

Below is the final version of the prototype that I created. I included interactions and transitions from Figma to match the products flow.

Check out some of my other work: