©2018 by Paige Nuzzolillo, Wix.com


User Research and Operations

Project Overview
Delta Dental of WA wanted to increase membership in a specific customer segment of the business. In order to do this, they needed a clearer understanding of how customers viewed dental benefits, health care, and oral health. They needed to emphasize with and better understand the motivations, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of their customers. 
  • MailChimp
  • TypeForm
  • DeDoose
  • UserZoom
  • Calendly
  • Otter
Research Process


I entered this project at Delta Dental of WA during the data collection phase, but had a clear understanding of stakeholders involved, discovery and the RFP that had been developed before I started helping the team collect data from customers. 

Discovery included: 

  • Contextual understanding of the problem

  • Detailing broader company goals

  • Brainstorming study goals

  • Request for Research details 

    • Objectives​

    • Implications for marketing improvements

Research Overview

A study plan was developed based on the stakeholder request for research. I typically like to present study plans to stakeholders that are 1 page in length and contain the following sections: 

  • Stakeholders

  • Goals

  • Background

  • Research Questions

  • Methodology - interviews 

  • Participants

  • Scheduling details and timeline

Recruiting participants for this study involved using boosted Facebook posts and leveraging existing resources and connections within DDWA. In another study involving additional customer groups at DDWA, we used Craigslist to find users.  

I started at DDWA in August 2018 and entered into this particular project during the data collection phase. We ended up conducting 31 in-depth, hour-long interviews with current and potential customers. 

I owned the bulk of data analysis and used affinity mapping techniques to uncover patterns and themes in the data. 

Since this project, DDWA has now adopted DeDoose for qualitative data analysis (QDA) software, allowing for a more consistent, less manual analysis process. Data analysis is ongoing with data collection. I follow Grounded Theory approaches as I have a background in anthropology. Grounded Theory is based on the following principles of analysis: 

  • Line by line coding 

  • Consolidation of codes into higher level categories as themes and patterns emerge 

  • Reduction of codes as more data is gathered

  • Memoing as new ideas emerge in the data 

  • Iteration of discussion guides as new information is uncovered, the understanding of the problem evolves and new questions are posed 

  • Data collection continues until "saturation" is reached, or time and money runs out 

Findings and results were presented to stakeholders, recommendations on new products and services and improvements to existing products and services were made. 

Successful research does not sit on a shelf, or in a Google Drive. It is used to build new products, improve current ones, and overall better serve customers. Research in context should be made widely available to stakeholders. 

Currently, we are developing personas based on the. interview data and structuring an empathy-building workshop for stakeholders. This workshop includes interactive components to encourage stakeholders to walk in their customers shoes and better understand the situations that impact dental and health care decisions. 

I also actively work with our product and development teams on a new software product. I conduct sprint by sprint validation testing and feature and functionality-based user interviews as part of my role.