Informed decisions require information (that word "informed" is there for a reason), and information is something we’re not short on around here. MailChimp research typically falls into two categories: primary research, which is new research tailored to answer specific questions; and secondary research, which is readily available and relevant research from past studies. Throughout the New MailChimp design process, the research team combined the powers of both our primary and secondary research.
During the redesign, we ran rapid-fire usability tests on commonly used and radically changing features to get immediate feedback. For instance, we wanted to test our Campaign Builder on as many eyes and on as many screens as possible in one day to keep our design schedule on track. We ran around our office with a testing laptop, recording a mix of friends and coworkers as they put the redesign through its paces on laptops and iPads. After several hours of 5-10 minute test sessions, we compiled a prioritized list of bugs, usability issues, and specific changes for our designers to improve. Our UI design performed pretty solidly on standard screen resolutions, but we did find room for workflow improvement on the iPad.
Then we combed our secondary data sources to gauge customer feedback, user behaviors, site analytics, and data from usability tests and surveys we had already conducted (and there were a lot of them). This allowed us to better understand the types of jobs our customers are trying to do, and what features and functions we could emphasize to better empower them.
To aggregate our secondary research data, we use an Evernote for Business account. This allows us to quickly and accurately look at user feedback and previous studies to answer design and development-related questions, like, "What are our customers doing on the subscriber activity profile pages?"