UX researchers like myself have a nasty habit.
When you spend your days studying how people use products, your intuition around such things gets pretty well-honed. You start to see patterns and themes. You get to a point where you can point to an observed behavior, ask “What might this mean?” and generate some great high-level and philosophical discussions with your stakeholders. People start to seek you out for answers to their questions about users, even when you haven’t done research that could answer those questions.
As a researcher, this can feel pretty great and emboldening. After all, you’ve done the work! You’ve put in countless hours in the lab and in the field and poring over data. …
I remember explaining the nature of some qualitative design research I was doing to a friend who happens to be a digital product PM.
“So you’re going to talk to six users today, and observe them using the product?”
“Correct,” I said.
“And— don’t take this the wrong way— that counts as research? I mean, six people isn’t enough to get a representative sample of anything, is it?”
That’s a fairly common reaction to qualitative design research, in my experience. A lot of people are dubious out of the gate of its small sample sizes and worry that anything you learn from it will be subject to chance and interpretation and therefore not a reliable way to produce a generalizable finding. …
If you’ve ever paid for a cab using a credit card, you’ve seen an example of the tremendous amount of power product designers have when it comes to shaping our behavior. Even though you probably consider a standard tip for a cab ride to fall somewhere in the 10-20% range, the single-tap choices offered in a New York City cab range from 20-30%. In the absence of a conveniently accessible, lower alternative, I always tip 20%— the high end of what I consider a normal range. …