UX Research in Service Management

I recently explored several UX Research methods and articles relevant to service management. As a former Design deserter, it’s easy to forget the scale of the modern IxD practice, with many methods like Heuristics, Gestalt, or deep cuts such as Lostness Measure. Heuristic, in particular, could be much more impactful in the Enterprise IT domain than often promoted e-commerce tools such as A/B testing.

Prototype Theory

This is a recent discovery and super-relevant to content taxonomy dilemmas such as service catalogs. Would you look for maternity leave under HR or Benefits? Would you look for GitHub access under IT system access or under IT Support? And would you refer to a chair as furniture or just…chair? The article provides interesting insight into behavioral challenges.

…when asked What are you sitting on? most subjects prefer to say chair rather than a subordinate such as kitchen chair or a superordinate such as furniture. Basic categories are homogeneous in terms of sensori-motor affordances — a chair is associated with bending of one’s knees, a fruit with picking it up and putting it in your mouth, etc.

At the subordinate level (e.g. [dentist’s chairs], [kitchen chairs] etc.) hardly any significant features can be added to that of the basic level; whereas at the superordinate level, these conceptual similarities are hard to pinpoint. A picture of a chair is easy to draw (or visualize) but drawing furniture would be difficult.

Searchers and Browsers

Some people believe that we should not bother much with navigation beyond key categories as most users will prefer search “a la Google.” It turns out that there is plenty of evidence supporting both discovery and search patterns, and this article focuses on personality archetypes differences.

Here is my use case of “printer not working.” I could search for the keywords, but without extremely sophisticated personalization, the search box can’t know what I mean and want. I am using Mac in Prague, standing in front of the machine, trying to get that thing to cooperate. I’ll rather browse for IT Troubleshooting > Printers > Mac > Prague > Magic fix than type in exactly what I want.

Most People aren’t good at searching

One-word search challenge is connected to previous two topics, and this article provides additional data insights. Users change search strategy only 1% of the time; 99% of the time they plod along a single unwavering path, like “printer broken”. There is a clear recommendation here.

Don’t assume that advanced search will help your website; you might build such features, but people will use them only in exceptional cases.

Goal and Tool user time

This describes Firm Services foundational challenge, and I wish Jared Spool could evaluate some ServiceNow apps. When you ask for feedback, colleagues can’t separate their experience with the service from the tool UI. But then it is very tricky to “OKRs-measure” the tool improvement in Department A while service improvement is OKRs-measured in Department B. An interesting challenge of qualitative user research is uncovering patterns to inform both tool and service improvements.

Measuring Usability — Lostness

I never applied this method in my previous practice, but it’s an engaging article that highlights its potential for service portals and self-service concepts. This sounds like a perfect metric to quantify it across several internal portals or apps and even make a case for new ServiceNow concepts such as Employee Center.

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