User Research: ACCESS NYC


User Research: ACCESS NYC for Public Engagement Unit (PEU)

Starting late Summer of 2017, NYC Opportunity and PEU began designing, developing and testing a version of the ACCESS NYC benefits eligibility screener optimized for PEU Outreach Specialists.

The NYC Opportunity team conducted four rounds of design and prototyping, engaging PEU Outreach Specialists to receive feedback, test usability and validate design decisions throughout the process. Staff who worked with PEU include members of NYC Opportunity’s Product team and its Service Design Studio.

— excerpt from NYC Opportunity’s Medium article.


I participated in the initial round of design, prototyping, and engagement with an agile team of designers, developers, and product managers. We began with exploratory research that involved observational ride-alongs, interviews, and journey mapping exercises. I then worked with another apprentice to redesign the UI for the first iteration of ACCESS NYC, which was prototyped by our team’s front-end developer. We user tested it. This also involved a card-sorting exercise.


  • Wrote protocol

  • Trained colleagues

  • Prepped Research Kits

  • facilitated research

  • supported with taking notes, watching clock, debriefing, etc.


  • understand how and where ACCESS NYC fits into the work of peu specialists

  • identify additional product features to develop for peu specialists’ use

Research Methods: observational ride-along / journey mapping / card-sorting / user testing