Case Study: User Experience (UX) Interviews for a Leading Media Agency

Nothing today stands as more important than providing a quality user experience (UX). When it comes to the success of a digital platform, a website must be easy to navigate, interactive, unique, and ultimately meets a visitor’s expectations for coming to the site. 

User experience (UX) research is essential for any organization directing traffic to a website, platform, e-commerce site, or app. For this reason, our full-service market research company recommended this methodology to one of the country’s largest media companies and publisher websites.

This market research case study will outline the objectives, approach, recruitment process, interview questions, and results of the UX study. Drive Research was engaged for end-to-end management, including the kickoff, workplan, recruitment, guide design, facilitating of the interviews, analysis, transcripts, and reporting.

Case Study: User Experience (UX) Interviews for a Leading Media Agency

Nothing is more insightful than a series of custom UX interviews or surveys to improve your user's experience on a website, app, or platform. Learn how the UX interview process works with the help of this case study.


A major online newspaper hired our market research company to complete a pilot study regarding digital subscriptions with their reader panel. The goal of the market research was to:

  • Gather impressions, perceptions, and attitudes of readers.
  • Understand the value of the site.
  • Gather feedback on the digital subscription pop-up.
  • Understand driving motivations for those who subscribed and did not subscribe.
  • Dig into the ad effectiveness and impact of the ads on the UX of the site.

Once these objectives were met, the online newspaper would have a full perspective of the site experience for its visitors.

Recommended Approach

Drive Research recommended a qualitative market research approach. Qualitative market research is exploratory and therefore allows our team to gather depth, context, and meaningful insights through two-way conversations.

With the client’s objectives in mind, Drive Research suggested user experience (UX) interviews as the preferred methodology.

Some benefits of UX interviews over focus groups include:

  • IDIs eliminate group-think.
  • IDIs allow for more one-on-one time with participants.
  • IDIs give the interviewer more flexibility to adjust the content on the fly.
  • IDIs allow for more incremental learning, adjusting objectives as the interviews progress.

While these benefits of user experience interviews are valuable for most clients, they prove to be even more influential for a pilot study such as this one.

Recruiting for User Experience (UX) Interviews

Our user experience (UX) research team designed a pre-screening questionnaire sent to a list of the online newspaper site users (including a portion of high-propensity users).

It was a combination of:

  1. Trial and paid subscribers of the online newspaper.
  2. Non-subscribers of the online newspaper.

Participants completed an online screener survey before receiving a follow-up phone call if qualified and interested. The phone call confirmed screening data and provided the participant with more information about the market research study. Participants were then booked for a scheduled date and time for the in-depth interview (IDI).

Those recruited for the user experience interviews included a mix of genders, age groups, and geographies. Data was also collected from participants on sections of the site read most frequently, device preference, and other criteria.

Learn 5 tips to recruit participants for qualitative research. 

User Experience (UX) Interviews

A total of 20 in-depth UX interviews were completed in-person at the Drive Research facility in Syracuse, NY. Each participant was scheduled for a 45-minute interview on Tuesday, December 11, Wednesday, December 12, or Thursday, December 13. Interview time slots were made available from 7:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m. ET.

As participants arrived for the in-person interviews, they were instructed to fill out a short 4 question pre-interview questionnaire before being escorted to the focus group room by the facilitator for the interview.

Due to the online publishing site testing locally, it was most convenient to test the site concepts and advertising effectiveness in-person. The majority of UX IDIs conducted by Drive Research is completed through Google Hangout screen shares.

What are Google Hangout screen shares?

Google Hangout screen shares allow the participants to screen-share the site as the interviewer asks live questions. The Drive Research style enables the interviewee to naturally “think out loud” while at the same time interjecting at the right time with follow-up questions to gather necessary details.

All interviews were digitally recorded, streamed online, and transcripts were delivered after the market research. Participants signed a confidentiality agreement and were paid $75 in cash as a thank you for the time and feedback.

The activities and interview guide were designed with the intent of replicating the market research across all target markets to different publishing sites for the advertising agency and media company. The recruitment process would be similar and the interviews can either be hosted in-person within each market or through web screen shares or teleconferencing interviews.

User Experience (UX) Interviews Questions

The user experience interviews aimed to answer the following questions:

  • What were the motivations to subscribe to the online newspaper?
  • What were the motivations to not subscribe to the online newspaper?
  • What was their first reaction when they saw the pop-up for the digital subscription ad?
  • Was there confusion about the terms and conditions in the ad?
  • What are the weaknesses of the publishing site?
  • What are the strengths of the publishing site?
  • How did participants typically use the site?
  • Did participants have other digital subscriptions?
  • How would participants increase digital subscriptions?
  • What messages resonated most with the audience in the ads?
  • What were the participants' thoughts on the subscription fee?
  • Which package was most appealing to participate in?

User Experience (UX) Study Results

The specific results and feedback collected from the user experience (UX) interviews remain confidential with the media company and advertising agency.

The final report included:

  • An executive summary of central themes.
  • Paraphrased quotes from the interviews to assist with context and interpretations.
  • Subscriber personas.
  • Non-subscriber personas.
  • An infographic.
  • An appendix which included the pre-interview questionnaire and moderator’s guide.

Our UX research firm also provided the media company with supporting materials such as a private streaming link to watch video recordings as well as full-transcripts of each of the 20 interviews and audio recordings.

Contact Our UX Research Company

Drive Research is a user experience (UX) research company in Upstate New York. We work with companies across the country to assist with UX and market research needs.

Questions about an upcoming UX project? Contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Market Research Case Studies User Experience (UX)