Chicago UX Research Consulting

From Deerfield to Downers Grove, we help Chicago area teams fall in love with user-centered problems and innovation.  Learn why Reynolds, Epsilon and other Chicago-based companies hire us for usability testing, user research and design thinking training.

Featured Project

How UX Testing Helped Chicago’s BankFinancial Catch Problems Before Launch

See how we helped this Illinois-based regional bank reach alignment on usability problems and opportunities — while teaching them design thinking skills.

About BankFinancial

  • Publicly traded on NASDAQ
  • Opened its doors in 1924
  • Offers commercial and business banking, personal banking and wealth management
  • 19 branches in Chicagoland plus commercial offices in Tampa, Dallas and Denver
  • Headquarters at 60 North Frontage Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Challenge: Ensuring a Smooth Website Launch

  • The marketing team at BankFinancial was ready to launch a new version of its public-facing website. The new site was a radical departure from its previous site in terms of design, content, and mobile-friendliness.
  • While the team was excited to release the new site as soon as possible, it needed to ensure there were no major usability problems. And as a 95-year-old bank, it was also concerned about how its long-time customers might react to the changes.

Action: Collaborative Usability Research

  • In the spring of 2019, BankFinancial partnered with Marketade to conduct usability testing of the new site in a staging environment.
  • We moderated 10 qualitative user testing sessions, 5 with Chicago area prospects and 5 with existing BankFinancial customers.
  • We also conducted quantitative UX testing with 125 participants.
  • We then facilitated a 1-day UX workshop at the marketing team’s offices in Downers Grove, IL. 8 stakeholders from a variety of bank departments and roles participated in the workshop. Team members spent the morning watching usability research sessions; in the afternoon we led them through a series of steps to analyze problems and generate solution ideas.

Result: Alignment, Ideas & Action

  • During the workshop, the team reached consensus on 6 significant UX issues with the new site. They also identified 12 lower-priority usability findings.
  • The team broke into 3 small groups. Each group brainstormed and sketched solution ideas for 1 of the top problems. They then shared and discussed their solution posters with the larger team.
  • Finally, the team identified next steps for each of the solutions, and assigned owners and due dates to ensure action.
  • To wrap up the project and provide a reference point, we captured everything in a summary report.

“Discovered key insights that will help us make meaningful improvements to our new website …”

Division President


Other Chicago Projects

Here are other projects we’re currently working on for companies in the Chicago area.

Partnering with the Chicago office of this global agency to bring UX research and A/B testing strategy to one of their largest clients — a 30,000-employee pharma company with North American headquarters in Deerfield, IL.

2-day design thinking workshop for a leadership team at Lake Forest, IL-based Reynolds — home of two of the most trusted products in America: Reynolds Wrap® and Hefty® waste bags.

How We Work with Chicago Teams

A typical UX research study runs through at least 1 cycle of these 5 phases. We collaborate with your team throughout the process.


We reach quick alignment on your KPIs, project goals, and users.


We send you a report that captures all findings, solution ideas and research recordings.


We facilitate a 1-day collaborative analysis and ideation workshop with your team, on site.


Based on our plan and target users, we source and screen research participants.


We conduct qualitative (and sometimes quantitative) research sessions.

Our User Research Methods

We conduct studies using a diverse set of UX research methods — from quick usability tests to complex projects that combine methods from all 5 areas below.

Usability Research

Usability Testing | UX Audits | Intercept Testing

Audience Research

Personas | Journey Maps | Concept Testing

IA & Navigation Research

Card Sorts | Tree Testing | First Click Testing

Analytics & Experiments

Web Analytics | A/B Testing | Session Replay Analysis

Content Research

Content Testing | Content Audits | Keyword Research