Pluralsight Profile UX Design Process

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Setting the stage 

My team and I were given the challenge of digging into the profile experience to see how we might increase it's value to our users as well as add value to the business. 

With this direction my team and I began with...

User interviews

Voice of Customer calls, user interviews... whichever flavor you prefer. :) Overall we conducted 20 interviews with individual users to identify patterns of how they used their profile in their learning experience and how it might provide more value to them. There was a lot of reading between the lines here, naturally. But doing these interviews our team noticed some interesting patterns emerge.


  1. Our users were using their profile to solve (mostly) the same needs as the homepage. They were using it to jump back into the last thing they were learning.
  2. Most profiles (roughly 90%) were set to private. This was occurring because profiles were private by default as well as the fact that our users were not sure of what the value of a public profile could be.
  3. Our users expressed the desire to see what other users on the platform were learning.  This feature would  help direct them to the next thing they might want to learn.

User interviews summary

This led us to believe we could further differentiate the profile from the homepage by adding user activity insights and other learning accomplishments unique to them. We realized that we could empower our users to have a profile that showed who they were as professional learners of design and technology.



Cross-functional group narratives to identify the primary user flow was a key step in our discovery process. This step helped the team identify whether or not we had a shared understanding of the patterns that emerged from our user interviews.

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Data analysis

As we explored these opportunities we saw in our initial research, our team of data scientists surfaced this dataset that helped us understand the primary persona we would be building for. We now understood the potential opportunity we had to help another subset of our users to become more engaged learners.


Early sketches

As a team, we started sketching. This step of collaborative conceptualization has been vital to the success of the products that we have built. All ideas are welcome. The crazier the better. Each member of the team (whether developer, designer, or product manager) has a unique perspective that is valuable to what we are building.

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Early designs

As patterns emerged and our team sketched out as many possible manifestations of those ideas as we could, we had a good starting point to begin putting those ideas into pixels. As the style guide of our product is very well defined, going to wireframes at this point in the process is not necessary. We were able to move to high fidelity mockups straight from sketches. 

Customer preference testing

Overall we conducted 60 user validation tests that here at Pluralsight we call Customer Preference Tests (CPTs). In these tests, my team conducts more than usability testing. To me, that is the lowest acceptable bar to strive for. If we are just aiming to make a “useable” product, we will surely miss the mark. What I am really doing here is gaining an understanding of how someone will use the experience I have designed for them.  I would like to address a design solution to eliminate a real problem for our users. The last thing I want to do is create a great solution for a non-problem.

These interviews resulted in numerous revisions with each one being an improvement based on learnings from our users. The entire process was done with our development team to ensure that we had a shared understanding of our users' wants and needs. This shared empathy, in my opinion, is key to the success of any experience.

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Release cycle

As we prepared to go into production, we used this release cycle framework to ensure that we were delivering the right experience while minimizing potential impact. The quantitative feedback we receive at this stage in the process is key for us to validate what we built has effectively addressed the needs of our users that we uncovered earlier in our discovery process. 

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Quantitative satisfaction feedback

As my team and I moved into the quantitative customer confirmation stage of the process, it was powerful to be able to ask users a small series of questions to validate that the solution we had built was solving their needs as well as surprising and delighting them. 

Make the user feel like a badass

The more our team has focused on doing this, the more successful the experiences we build have been. Everyone wants to feel like a badass, am I right? If our product experience can make users feel like they have superpowers, in my book, we have been successful.