It’s the answer that matters.
“User feedback is a vital input for product development. But to maximize the effectiveness of your user research, it’s necessary to ask the right questions. Before talking to your users, think about the overall objective of the research: What do you want to know? Do you want to find out if a certain feature is useful? Or are you trying to learn what problems the user is facing? At this point, focus on the overarching theme of your research, and not specific questions.”
Jeremiah Lam ~ Maze ★
Noticing a lot of overlaps and omissions regarding all things user, field and design research.
“These eight pillars are the broad areas of User Research. Underneath these pillars sit groups of things that User Researchers or ‘people who do research’ (PWDR) are concerned with. Many of these things are challenges to operationalising research.”
Emma Boulton a.k.a. /emmalouiseboulton | @emmaboulton ★
Using DataSci (quant) to get meaning out of UsrRes (qual).
“Simultaneous triangulation is an incredibly powerful tool to generate comprehensive and verified findings. If you only use one method, you could end up with blindspots. If you employ methods sequentially rather than simultaneously, you could run into unexplainable contradictions, like we did at first. The solution is simultaneous triangulation. Next time you have a complex research question, consider using the three-step process to mitigate blindspots and turn discrepancies in learning opportunities.”
Colette Kolenda and Kristie Savage ~ Spotify Design ★
Global and local vars, lots of them.
“UX research pulls many terms, methods, and conventions from other fields. Selecting a method is an important first choice in measuring the user experience. But an important next step is understanding the variables you’ll have to deal with when designing a study or drawing conclusions. Variables are things that change. Variables can be controlled and measured.”
Jeff Sauro a.k.a. /jeffsauro | @MeasuringU ~ MeasuringU ★
Seeing, knowning, and understanding are just part of wisdom.
“To change the mindset of your stakeholders from being naysayers to being advocates for user research, you must help them understand how research can add value to their product and that learnings from user research are an indispensable asset to a product team.”
Apurvo Ghosh a.k.a. /apurvo-ghosh-hfi-cua™ | @Apurvo_Ghosh ~ UXmatters ★
User research and what you see is not what you get.
“User research consists of two core activities: observing and interviewing. Since we’re most interested in people’s behavior, observing is the most important of these activities because it provides the most accurate information about people, their tasks, and their needs. While interviewing is also very important, the information people provide during interviews isn’t always accurate or reliable. Often, research participants don’t know why they do things, what they really need, what they might do in the future, or how a design could be improved. To really understand what people do, you can’t just ask them, you have to observe them.”
Jim Ross a.k.a. /anotheruxguy | @anotheruxguy ~ UXmatters ★
All phases of the design cycle transform into lean. Oh dear.
“The Agile approach to product development focuses on continually and quickly releasing, learning about, and improving a product to enable sustained movement forward. By focusing on incremental improvements rather than a finished product, product teams can learn and pivot as needed to maintain their competitive edge. Most product teams use, or are moving toward, some form of an Agile methodology to rapidly and incrementally evolve their product or service. The good news is that user experience research and design can fit into the Agile process quite effectively.”
Michelle R. Peterson, Anna Rowe, Valle Hansen, and Carmen Broomes ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association ★
Statistics for designers. Phew!
“Do you need numerical data about your product’s user experience, but you aren’t sure where to start? The first step is choosing the right tool. Check out this list of the most popular types of quantitative methods.”
Kate Meyer a.k.a. /kate-meyer | @kate__meyer ~ Nielsen Norman Group ★
In principle, you can outsource anything. In practice, it’s not always the best option.
“You’ve got an idea or perhaps some rough sketches, or you have a fully formed product nearing launch. Or maybe you’ve launched it already. Regardless of where you are in the product lifecycle, you know you need to get input from users. You have a few sound options to get this input: use a full-time user researcher or contract out the work (or maybe a combination of both). Between the three of us, we’ve run a user research agency, hired external researchers, and worked as freelancers. Through our different perspectives, we hope to provide some helpful considerations.”
Chelsey Glasson et al. ~ A List Apart ★
The application of research results is always up for debate.
“To move from your research findings to product changes, you should set yourself two main goals. First, to effectively communicate your findings to help your audience process them and focus on next steps. Secondly, to follow through by proactively working with stakeholders to decide which issues will be addressed and by whom, injecting yourself into the design process whenever possible. This follow-through is critical to your success. Let’s look at an end-to-end process for embracing these two main goals.”
Cindy McCracken a.k.a. /cindy-mccracken | @cmccracken ~ UX Mastery ★
Nielsens First Law of User Research: Never listen to users, observe them.
“It’s not breaking news to say that the core of UX, in a vacuum, is talking to your users to gather insights and then applying that information to your designs. But it’s equally true that UX does not happen in a vacuum. So what happens when you don’t have the budget or the timeline to run user tests, card sorts, or stakeholder interviews? What should you do when your company doesn’t want you bothering the paying customers who use their software? In short, how do you do UX research when you can’t get direct access to your users?”
Jon Peterson a.k.a. /jonpetersonuxdesign | @jp_pete ~ A List Apart ★
Research comes in many shapes for digital design.
“The problem I see with having a UX Designer without a UX Researcher is that as a company, you develop the illusion that you are doing enough to comprehensively assess and change the user experience in a way to get the optimal results out of your investment. And, truth be told, many UX designers do a little bit of everything highlighted in this article. But they don’t do enough. They can’t. There simply isn’t enough time in a day to both create the user experience and validate its effectiveness. Moreover, as we saw above, there’s a wide variety of techniques through which User Researchers monitor, analyze and report on user experience developments.”
Craig Tomlin a.k.a. /wcraigtomlin | @ctomlin ★
Making UX measured. The power of numbers.
“The field of User Experience is increasingly under pressure to gather qualitative data in shorter amounts of time. As a UX professional, I’m on the hunt for novel methods and approaches that facilitate the collection of meaningful information about users’ emotions and engagement. A central tenet of User Experience is the importance of gathering revealing, informative, powerful data about the user experience by engaging with users. For example, during usability tests, users interact with Web sites, applications, products, and concepts and give us detailed feedback as they go. Whether you are a UX designer, developer, marketer, engineer, or in executive leadership, seeing users use your product first hand is invaluable.”
Heather Wright Karlson a.k.a. /hwrightkarlson | @uxheat ~ UXmatters ★
We’re still at the level of (practical) tips, tricks, and do’s/dont’s.
“Turning research insights into positive action is a combination of what you do but also what you are able to empower others to do. Knowing your audience and bringing the right mindset to the table can go a long way to making an impact in your organization.”
Mike Katz a.k.a. /mike-katz ~ Boxes and Arrows ★
After design validation, we need more and more design and user research methods.
“From new ideas to proven standards in user experience research, our toolkit is a rich collection of ways to understand people and context. The articles in this issue feature innovations, like new ways to explore emotional response, to unusual places to conduct research, like trains, ferries, and conferences.”
The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association
Having to deal with other people is often a pain. Designers included.
“After any amount of time in the design industry, you’ll most certainly hear someone refer to users as “dumb.” People talk about having to “dumb down” interfaces, design for “the lowest common denominator,” and try to make applications “idiot-proof.” Designers say it themselves once in a while. The really terrible designers say it repeatedly. (…) This sort of thinking discounts a key component of good design: human psychology. Understanding some basics of user behavior, then applying them to design, is one of the most important things a company can do. Here are 14 things you should know about the people who use your websites and applications.”
Robert Hoekman Jr. a.k.a. /rhoekmanjr | @rhjr ~ FastCo.design ★
The call for excellent UX within the enterprise ecosystem is growing and growing.
“There is a big, important change happening in digital product design. For a long time, there has been a clear split between business software (often called Enterprise or B2B), and consumer software (B2C, or simply ‘products’). That split is increasingly irrelevant.”
(John Kolko a.k.a. @jkolko ~ Harvard Business Review) ★
Some interesting advice. Especially for tech and info startups.
“If anything detracts from the product’s core experience, stop making changes and release your product. You’ll get more insight by doing less and seeing how people engage with the product as it is, what behavior they exhibit, and reviewing this against your assumptions. This insight will always pay the greatest dividends as you strive for product market fit.”
(Lee Dale a.k.a. @smack416 ~ UX Magazine) ★
Design something and see how someone uses it. Revealing.
“As user researchers and UX designers, you have an almost endless number of techniques and tools to choose from when you embark on a design or redesign project. For us, closed card sorting and first-click testing provided the best balance of data, cost, and speed. We knew that these techniques would provide us with quick data to support our qualitative research, and results that would be easy to analyze and draw design recommendations from.”
(Jerry Cao a.k.a. @jerrycao_uxpin ~ The Next Web) ★
The older you get, the more you see from the iceberg.
“To develop user experience insights and skills, define how many hours you should spend observing actual user behavior each year. Junior staff need more hours; senior people can get by with fewer annual user-exposure hours.”
(Jakob Nielsen ~ Nielsen Norman Group)