Notes from A Practical Guide to User Research Methods : Ch 1

I’ve made a list of top notes/highlights/takeaways from the book

Understanding Your Users — A Practical Guide to User Research Methods” by Kathy Baxter, Catherine Courage, and Kelly Caine.”

Sharing the notes with everyone who wants a quick overview of a very insightful UX book!

Chapter 1 : Introduction to User Experience

a. QOTD : “The earlier the user is involved, the less repair work needs to be done at the final stages of the life cycle (e.g., after a usability test).”

b. Getting the right information

Collecting user experiences is vital because it really helps you understand what the user REALLY wants and needs.

c. Iterative Design : The idea of iterative design is to fail early; it is much easier to change the user interface of an early prototype than a deployed system.”

d. Incorporating Design Principles (can’t have it all)

“This book offers research techniques for every stop in the product development life cycle, but it is unlikely you will have the time, resources, or even need to do every one of them. To be successful, it is your job to identify the critical research questions facing your team, company, or academic lab and then to identify the method(s) necessary to answer those questions.”

e. The four stage design process : (Concept > Design >Develop > Release )

Iteration is applied throughout the design process. (and after)

f. Design Thinking : “by deeply understanding user needs, opportunities for innovation will emerge.”

Suggested Resources for Additional Reading on DT from the book
If you are interested in building a design thinking culture, check out:
Hasso Plattner Institute of Design: http://dschool.stanford.edu/.
“Building a Culture of Design Thinking at Citrix”: http://www.mixprize.org/story/reweaving-corporate-dna-building-culture-design-thinking-citrix.

g. Usability Testing vs. User Experience Research

Usability testing — to check if a solution is “usable (applied by a good designer)

User Experience Research — Discover all of many of the “possible solutions” and then investigate to discover which solution works best for the user. (applied by an outstanding designer)

h. Requirement Gathering is a major part of the User Centered design process than can make or brake the project. To collect the right requirements it is very important to be able to distinguish among the various requirement sources. (Plus, keep in mind that all the different departments will have different requirements/needs than the real user)

Requirements come from various organizations in the company — legal, marketing, sales, R&D, Technical Support, Business Analysts, Dev team.

Preventing Resistance and arguments in favor of good UX Research. Get the book for a list of great arguments you can come up with for different cases/scenarios at work to get a UX researcher.