Mass transfer between the gas and condensed phases in aerosols can be limited by slow bulk diffusion within viscous particles. During the heterogeneous and multiphase reactions of viscous organic aerosol particles, it is necessary to consider the interplay of numerous mass transfer processes and how they are impacted by viscosity, including the partitioning kinetics of semi-volatile organic reactants, water and oxidants. To constrain kinetic models of the heterogeneous chemistry, measurements must provide information on as many observables as possible. Here, the ozonolysis of maleic acid (MA) in ternary aerosol particles containing water and sucrose is used as a model system. By varying the mass ratio of sucrose to MA and by performing reactions over a wide range of relative humidity, direct measurements show that the viscosity of the particle can be varied over 7 orders of magnitude. Measurements of the volatilisation kinetics of MA show that this range in viscosity leads to a suppression in the effective vapour pressure of MA of 3–4 orders of magnitude. The inferred values of the diffusion coefficient of MA in the particle phase closely mirror the expected change in diffusion coefficient from the Stokes–Einstein equation and the change in viscosity. The kinetics of ozonolysis show a similar dependence on particle viscosity that can be further investigated using the kinetic multi-layer model of aerosol surface and bulk chemistry (KM-SUB). Two scenarios, one constraining the diffusion coefficients for MA to those expected based on the Stokes–Einstein equation and the other including the diffusion coefficients as a fit parameter, yield similarly adequate representations of the ozonolysis kinetics, as inferred from the experimental decay in the signature of the vinylic C–H stretching vibration of MA. However, these two scenarios provide very different parameterisations of the compositional dependence of the diffusion coefficients of ozone within the condensed phase, yielding qualitatively different time-dependent internal concentration profiles. We suggest that this highlights the importance of providing additional experimental observables (e.g. particle size, heterogeneity in composition) if measurements and models are to be universally reconciled.