The lesson here is never to underestimate the perceived threat that research presents. It doesn’t matter how right you are. It doesn’t matter how good your credentials are. It matters how scared and insecure the person in charge is. Facts don’t change minds that are made up based on feelings. There is a tremendous amount of research to back this up.
Over the years, there has been plenty of debate over how many participants are enough for a study. It turns out we were looking in the wrong direction. When you focus on the hours of exposure, the number of participants disappears as an important discussion. We found 2 hours of direct exposure with one participant could be as valuable (if not more valuable) than eight participants at 15-minutes each. The two hours with that one participant, seeing the detailed subtleties and nuances of their interactions with the design, can drive a tremendous amount of actionable value to the team, when done well.