UIE Web App Master’s Tour – Seattle, Washington – May 24, 2011
- How insights from users can impact our designs
- How to gather those insights
Be a methods-polygamist
Choose, mash-up or create methodology based on the problem, integrate (Triangulate) with other methods, Create a library of methods and artifacts (screeners, interview guides, stimulit, storyboards, etc.) You can even create new ones and make it up as you go.
Different methods work together.
Innovation means getting beyond pain points
Users may not actually know what is causing the problem.
Pain points may not really be that painful anyway
Fieldwork leads to refined beliefs about customers
“You are not your user.” It’s good to realize that you are different than your users/clients, but it’s also necessary to realize similarities and commonality.
Fieldwork highlights unmet organizational goals
Analytics can show you what people are clicking, but interviews reveal what people are thinking when they click or why they don’t click. For example, do people who visit your site actually know what it is you do and what your organization is about?
Use fieldwork throughout the development cycle
Study your audience throughout the project lifecycle.
What to make or do (Take a fresh look at people) > Refine & prototype (Use existing ideas as hypotheses) > Launch —-> Iterate & improve
No specific methodology requirements based on the step, but whatever methodology is most appropriate.
What do we know and what do we want to know?
Business Goals – what the result will be
Research Goals – what you want to learn
Planning and executing a design research study
Who do you want to talk to?
(screening criteria, recruiting)
What is the relationship to the product/service/brand?
Do you want to design for a typical user, non-user, former user, etc.?
“Whoever discovered water, wasn’t fish.” Step back to get a clearer picture.
There may be more, or different, “users” than you initially think.
Think about the whole system: the chooser, the influencer, the user, and anyone who is impacted by those roles
You may need to do research to figure out who your audience really is, as opposed to who you think they are.
Demographics should come last, mainly to add diversity to the study and to find out who your audience really is and who they might be.
Recruiting Criteria: Whatever their relationship with the product/brand/service…
Creating screening documents (screeners)
Screeners serve two purposes: figure out if the person fits your criteria, convince them to participate; three main sections: introduction, checking off criteria, invitation to participate
Outside of the traditional method of working with a recruiting agency, there are other approaches:
- Friends and family/social networks
- snowball recruiting (participants find more participants)
Pros and cons
- cheap, but time-consuming
- quick, but harder to control and manage
- Likely to find “pure” participants, but they might be too close to you
What do you want to do with them?
(Methodology, field guide, stimuli)
Use a range of methods
- logging (keep a diary, do some activity that will make them think about what they’re going to discuss)
Sometimes participants can’t put it into words, so you’ll need to use different methodologies, such as role-play and participatory design
Ask how they would solve a problem
Doesn’t mean we implement the requested solution literally, but find out what the underlying need is that is causing the request.
The interview guide (or field guide)
Not a specific script, but helps you determine how the session is going to go.
A detailed field guide can help with a larger team. add timing, phrase the questions, put them in logical sequence, etc.
Workbooks are good for ongoing studies with users. Feel kind of like a survey, but questions are open ended. Sometimes an activity or assignment is preparing for the next day. Good to spread out a large assignment over several days or a week.
Synthesis in the field, create time to talk after each fieldwork experience, write up real-time summaries for the team, ASAP
Do something with the data
(Analysis, synthesis, design)
Avoid jumping to conclusions: fieldwork > synthesis > ideation >development
Break large piece(s) into smaller bites to make sense (interviews, transcripts, stories)
Combining multiple pieces into something new (developing themes, implications, opportunities)
The Topline Report
Make sure and keep the description and interpretation of a field study separate.
Opportunities are NOT a reporting of “interesting findings”, a list of solutions.
Opportunities are change we can envision…
Keep your solution space broad
Post-it voting activity. no criteria, everybody votes with a blank post it
Small group ranking: put the ideas in a spreadsheet and take a vote for a reality check
Who do you want to talk to? > What do you want to do with them (2-3 weeks)
Fieldwork (2-3 weeks)
Do something with the data (2-3 weeks)
When working in tighter timeframes, consider the trade-offs that you’re making.
NOTE: These are my notes from The UIE Web App Master’s Tour presentations. They were great resources and you can find much more about them and by the presentations on demand at UIE. While I would love to add my thoughts and more details to these posts, I doubt that will ever happen.
- Designerly ways of working in UX (johnnyholland.org)