User Research

Don't get too attached — this content made a permanent move to We'll kill everything below on April 16.


The aim of research at Hudl is to advance the frontier of knowledge and wisdom so that we may better serve our customers and users.


Our tools serve others. Very few of us are active coaches, athletes, or performance analysts. Sure, we have a lot of familiarity with the domain, but at the end of the day we full recognize we are not our users.

In order to put our users and customers at the center of everything we do, we must constantly work to understand their needs, goals and worldviews.

Here are some phrases you’ll find your fellow Hudlies saying or writing regularly:

  • Research benefits every employee in every department at Hudl. Everyone can and should participate.
  • Research is not a step in the process, it’s a constant.
  • Research requires you to let go of your preconceptions and biases. We acknowledge the risk of failing to do so and work to combat it because we conduct our own research.
  • Research is best done together, especially with peers who provide broad perspectives.
  • Research means doing more than one-on-one customer interviews.
  • Saying, “If I were a user, I would…” is not a research substitute and should never win an argument.
  • In the past, we have not adequately synthesized or shared our research. That is changing.


Personas are data-driven and research-backed representations of our target users. They’re built on hundreds of interviews, surveys and ethnographic studies that Hudlies have conducted over the years. Like real people, they evolve. As we conduct additionanl research across our company, we should expect new personas to emerge and others to wane in significance.

Personas provide a great starting point for considering the potential users of your product or new feature.

Our Hudl personas act as a scaffold for additional research and design work. It’s your job to add the breadth and depth to make them relevant to your work. That means establishing your key research questions up front, then choosing the most appropriate method to dig in.

Each project should aim to identify a single primary persona. If your product is designed equally for all personas, it will fail.

Personas have multiple roles, titles and jobs within teams. A “video coordinator” at one organization may be an “assistant manager” at another. Although a persona may move through multiple jobs, she still fundamentally acts and behave the same — just like a real person.

Goals and motivations change very slowly. Nonetheless, it’s still helpful to identify the roles users play within a team and organization. But, strive to know when your perceptions become assumptions (e.g. “He’s the video coordinator so he must be the person who uploads videos.”).

Bad things happen when assumptions blend in with facts and observations. Be extremely cautious listing assumptions within the body of your personas and treating them with the same emphasis as the reserach-backed data. Always question and always validate, especially if it’s been a while since a persona has been used in your research.


Scenarios content is coming soon.