Our researchers help customers understand the problem, the world around it, and the needs of users.

Blocky, the Ad Hoc mascot, in front of globe and checklists.

Researchers solve problems by asking many questions, clarifying and documenting the answers, and presenting the data for decision-making.

Early in a project, we do discovery research to gain a foundational understanding of the context, problem, and users. Working iteratively within agile sprints, we do usability research to determine whether the solution meets people's needs and how we can improve it.

This process makes sure teams spend time and effort in the most useful ways. It also centers the solution on the humans who will use it. While we advocate for the people who use what we’re building, we also balance regulations and business and stakeholder needs.

UX principles

Our research and design practices align to create user-driven government services that take into account the diversity of the American people and the complexity of government.

We collaborate with and listen to users, government stakeholders, and agency partners.
We design in the open and are transparent about our process.
We design for all people and abilities.
We create straightforward systems, and we respect users’ time.
We design for the long haul.
We raise expectations for government digital services.

Read more about our guiding principles

Research team skills

  • User testing
  • Usability testing
  • Human-centered design
  • Design and discovery research
  • Service design
  • Business ethnography
  • Persona definition
  • Research logistics

Our Research team

We’re hiring

We're looking for technologists with a wide range of skills and experiences to join our team. Find your place today.

Join our team

Recent Research posts

Building a trauma-informed research practice

September 06, 2022

Through our trauma-informed research practice, we’re working to help agencies better understand trauma. From there, we can help them improve how they meet individuals’ needs by offering assistance without triggering existing wounds or creating new ones.

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Bringing service design to the VA digital services platform

March 16, 2022

To meet the needs of internal customers, Ad Hoc’s platform service design team takes a service design approach to continuously gather feedback and use that information to improve user interactions and experiences with the VSP program.

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Ad Hoc joins team on USDA Forest Service BPA to support modernization

December 02, 2021

Ad Hoc will be responsible for providing human-centered design (HCD) and research capabilities to this partnership. HCD and research are both areas of expertise for Ad Hoc.

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Research as Diplomacy: The marriage of research and product

November 10, 2021

Reframing the research step and using it to bring stakeholders’ concerns to the forefront instead of pushing past them can turn research skeptics into research advocates. We call this approach Research as Diplomacy.

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What research can do: A maturity model for government agencies

March 10, 2021

Maturing a process is not easy, even if there is interest. It’s incumbent on human-centered design practitioners to recognize where an agency is with their practice, so they can identify how to help them grow.

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Finding your place on Ad Hoc’s research team

September 23, 2020

Ad Hoc researchers come from a wide variety of backgrounds from archaeology to anthropology to museums to education. The team is proudly a place where we accept and encourage the diversity of people and their experiences.

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