Module 04: User Research


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Module 04 in the one-week intensive for community college instructors, offered by

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Module 04: User Research

  1. 1. User Research We’ve talked about the why ! Now, about the how
  2. 2. User Research Okay, some more why
  3. 3. User Research (cited by @kylesoucy)
  4. 4. User Research You might encounter objections "It’ll cost too much." (A: Interviewing is cheap.) ! "We don’t have the time." (A: Do you have the time to be wrong about your hypotheses and assumptions? And making changes before code = cheaper.) ! "We did market research." (A: That usually is about how to sell a product, not what people do.) ! … any others?
  5. 5. User Research So what is user research? "Design research both inspires imagination and informs intuition through a variety of methods with related intents: to expose patterns underlying the rich reality of people’s behaviors and experiences… through iterative hypotheses and experiment." — Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO
  6. 6. User Research So what is user research? "Research is simply systematic inquiry" (Hall) ! "For a design to be useful, it must serve the needs and desires of actual humans." (Hall)
  7. 7. User Research YES ! Anthropology Ethnography Sociology Journalism Discovery NO ! Marketing Sales Your expertise Building Proving/Affirming
  8. 8. User Research Ethnography for Design "An ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations using concepts that avoid casual explanations." — Wikipedia ! "What do people do and why do they do it? … and what are the implications for what I’m making?" — Erika Hall !
  9. 9. User Research User research can be: Qualitative: ! — Direct observation — Interviews — Surveys — Combination of above ! — can quickly change your approach — caution: self-reporting
  10. 10. User Research User research can be: Quantitative: ! — Ergonomic/cognitive studies — Demographics — Eye tracking — Behavioral studies ! — can be used in conjunction for "mixed"
  11. 11. User Research User research types Generative/Exploratory: — leads to ideas — helps define a problem — even for existing products, good for new features, improvements ! — can include: interviews, field observation, literature reviews
  12. 12. User Research User research types Descriptive/Explanatory: — observing and defining what you’re studying — to know the context of the design problem and making sure you’re designing for the user ! — E.g., an online course: — How does this fit into the learners’ lives?
  13. 13. User Research User research types Evaluative: —"Are we getting close?" ! — Usually, this take the form of usability testing (which we’ll get to) — But any usage feedback helps
  14. 14. User Research
  15. 15. User Research (from Erika Hall,@mulegirl)
  16. 16. User Research (from Erika Hall,@mulegirl)
  17. 17. User Research A reminder: ! It’s not about you. It’s about empathy.
  18. 18. User Research: Roles You can do this solo! Author: Plans it. Writes the problem statement or "what we’re studying", writes the interview guide/script ! Notetaker/Recorder: Captures the data (user actions, audio, video, user non-verbal cues) It’s really hard for one person to do both of these things at once! But if you have the resources…
  19. 19. User Research: Roles Interviewer/Facilitator/ Moderator: Interacts directly with the user. Reads the script. ! Recruiter: Can also be the Scheduler/Coordinator, who gets people to a where and when. Observers: Can be other team members, stakeholders. What is crucial is that they do not influence the interviews or test sessions.
  20. 20. User Research Essential Research Skills —Active listening —Open-ended questions — Look interested — Minimal encouragement — Phrase things clearly — Set realistic expectations — Paraphrase back what you’ve heard — PRACTICE TAKE NOTES "Notes or it didn’t happen."
  21. 21. User Research
  22. 22. User Research
  23. 23. Structuring the interview (madmatt88 on deviantart)
  24. 24. The Interview Guide Have the guide on-hand. It contains: 1. Brief description and question of the study. Helps remind you to stay on topic. 2. Basic demographic data. Helps put participant’s answers in context. 3. "Icebreakers". Warm-up questions, small talk. 4. Focus questions and topics
  25. 25. The Interview Structure An interview in three acts But without confrontation
  26. 26. Types of Questions Open-ended Empathetic What questions you ask will determine the results It’s fair to research high-priority questions ahead of time
  27. 27. Types of Questions Good questions are: ! Specific Actionable Practical
  28. 28. Types of Questions A Bad Question: ! "What do people think about food?"
  29. 29. Types of Questions A Better Question: ! "How do urban families choose where to shop for fresh produce?"
  30. 30. Mad Research Skillz DO ! — make it a conversation — be sympathetic, non-judgy — be the learner, not expert — ask naive questions — ask them to show you — ask for specific stories — see non-verbal cues — breathe — listen actively — note exact phrases DON’T ! — make it an interrogation — talk about yourself — ask leading questions — ask"yes/no" or "this or that" questions — make it a focus group: "Here’s X. Do you like X?" (People want to please.)
  31. 31. User Research RESEARCH (it’s a job,too)
  32. 32. Warning signs BIAS
  33. 33. Types of Questions Confirmation bias: ! "The tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses."—Wikipedia
  34. 34. Types of Questions Sampling bias: ! "…a sample is collected in such a way that some members of the intended population are less likely to be included than others."—Wikipedia ! … or your sample isn’t sufficiently representative
  35. 35. Types of Questions Interviewer bias: ! You insert your opinions into the interview or observation. ! This may not be conscious: "I just wanted the participant to see that button!" (Note: This is hard.)
  36. 36. Types of Questions Social bias: ! People may not say what they think makes them look bad. ! And people tend to want to please you: "Oh, your site looks perfect! I can tell you worked so hard on it!"
  37. 37. Credit Where Due
  38. 38. Credit Where Due Also: http:// /books/ interviewing-users/ resources/
  39. 39. PRACTICE Let’s interview each other. ! It’ll be fun.
  40. 40. PRACTICE Interview scenario:! ! You work for the City of Oakland, which wants to create a web site to help citizens come to and get the most out of the new farmers’ market. ! The goal of the research is to identify unmet needs people might have around participating in and enjoying this new farmers’ market. !
  41. 41. PRACTICE ! ! Look for: — goals — priorities — tasks — motivations — barriers — habits — relationships — tools — environment Interview practice:
  42. 42. PRACTICE ! ! Break into groups of three: one interviewee, one interviewer, one notetaker/observer. ! Switch roles in 15 minutes. ! Two rounds. ! Interview practice:
  43. 43. PRACTICE ! ! So… what did we learn today? ! Interview practice:
  44. 44. Next up: Personas and scenarios twitter web