Acting on Research

Summary

The demand for User Research exceeds the supply of researchers. When, ultimately, our goal is “Learning from customers’’ and our user research community is a helping profession, we should be finding ways to empower everyone to do well. These three connected essays aim to help overcome territorial and quality concerns within our community. In this final essay, I’ll provide some of the essentials about acting on user research. The previous articles are about planning research and doing research.

Working With Research Data

Some people seem to think that once you talk to people, you write up the key takeaways from each person and throw…


Doing Research

Summary

The demand for User Research exceeds the supply of researchers. And when, ultimately, our goal is “Learning from customers’’ and our user research community is a helping profession, we should be finding ways to empower everyone to do well. These three connected essays aim to help overcome territorial and quality concerns within our community. In this second essay, I provide some of the essentials on doing user research for those “other people” wanting to go out and work with users. The previous article was about planning research, and the final piece looks at acting on user research.

Running Interviews

As a user-research…


Planning Research

Summary

The demand for User Research exceeds the supply of researchers. And when, ultimately, our goal is “Learning from customers’’ and our user research community is a helping profession, we should be finding ways to empower everyone to do well. This is the first of three connected articles aiming to help overcome territorial and quality concerns within our community. In this first piece, I provide some of the essentials on planning user research for those “other people” wanting to go out and work with users. I also look at Doing Research and Acting on User Research.

Introduction

While many researchers have some…


Sketchnotes from Brigette Metzler’s talk at Advancing Research 2020 “Helping Researchers Do Their Best Work”
Sketchnotes from Brigette Metzler’s talk at Advancing Research 2020 “Helping Researchers Do Their Best Work”

Having been in the user research field for an awfully long time, I like to distract myself from the inevitable “gee, I remember when” fugues with some brow-furrowing “where are we heading?” What a gift, then, to be able to collaborate with my fellow Advancing Research 2021 curators (Natalie Hanson, Jamika Burge, and Lou Rosenfeld) to go out and get some signal about that! In a tiny project, this team of researchers picked a number of people (some identifying as researchers, others that we identified as research-adjacent) who could give us a range of perspectives about the practice of user…


When you’re handed the keys but choose not to use them.

Originally posted in Humans in the Machine

My work involves going out into “the field” — into the world, to meet with people, and ask them about their behavior and the motivations. One of the side effects of doing this type of user research is that what I learn ultimately informs my own choices. I’ve reflected on how I’m saving for retirement, reconsidered how I plan and prepare meals, adopted new routines for bargain hunting online, changed how I maximize my credit card rewards, tried out new local restaurants, checked out new bands, and more.

I interviewed a young couple…


Lee John Phillips

Last year I was working on a project for a financial technology client. Finding participants is often a challenge, but on this project, for small business owners, it was particularly difficult.

We had hoped to base this research on previous studies, but it proved difficult to glean details about how previous studies were done. There were rumors that another team, elsewhere in the country, had developed a segmentation algorithm, but voicemails and emails went unanswered. We heard about great participants from previous studies that we should revisit, but no one would get back to us. The schedule ticked by and…


(originally published as Fresh Meat #22, July 26, 2004)

Last month I flew to New York to attend the Licensing
International tradeshow
. If SpongeBob is going to end up
on a box of cereal in the next two years, this is where
that deal is likely to go down.

I had been interested in attending this tradeshow simply
because I saw it on a morning news program (Today, Good
Morning America, etc.) a few years back. I don’t think I
even caught the name of the show, I just remember being
awestruck by the visual impact of the show itself…


Here’s an admission: I can’t act. As a kid I thought I might grow up to be a actor (or maybe a stuntman), but I never did. However, that hasn’t stopped me from studying and teaching improv. Another confession: I can’t sing. I do sing in the shower and in the car, of course. I’ve recorded a few songs with friends and I even did karaoke for the first time last year. …

Steve Portigal

Author of Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries & Interviewing Users (http://portigal.com/books ), Host @DollrsToDonuts podcast, work at Portigal Consulting

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