User Research 101: DIY Quick Course - CodeMash


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Tight budget and short on time? This CodeMash session taught attendees how to get a quick start on user research. Three discount user research methods were covered: observations; interviews; and card sorting. These quick and inexpensive methods will provide you with rich information about users including their goals, needs and abilities. This session also introduced ways to effectively share and communicate this information such as through personas and mental models.

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User Research 101: DIY Quick Course - CodeMash

  1. User Research 101: DIY Quick Course Carol Smith @carologic CodeMash January 14, 2011
  2. Small,Iterative Steps
  3. Handout for Attendees
  4. Behaviors, Desires, Needs & Abilities 4
  5. Observations
  6. Interviews
  7. 7 Card Sorting via
  8. Design for Everyone is Impossible 8
  9. Who will use it?What they need to do? 9
  10. Same Job Title, May Differ in… 10
  11. Which Student? Rick Connie 11 via (Christopher Alison Photography) via
  12. Where do I start? 12
  13. Constraints…
  14. Scope for Success Plan and Schedule Research and Discover Document Analyze Understand
  15. 15 Interview Experts Who are the users? How many are there? Common complaints? Show stoppers? Understand: Assumptions and stereotypes Differences between users
  16. 16 Focus On… Tasks frequency, importance, complexity Environment of Use location, abilities and limitations Experience Level and Knowledge Technology mobile use, connection speed
  17. 17 Define Primary & Secondary Users Separate by: Needs Goals (Why will they use the product?) Environment (Where will they use it?) Context (When will they use it?) How else do they differ?
  18. Now You Have User Groups [perhaps very loosely defined] 18
  19. Observations 19
  20. 20 Go to the user
  21. Why Observe? Understand user’s environment Abilities and limitations Situational (lighting, noise) Disabilities Learn about: Real process Interruptions (frequency and type) Find out more about users 21
  22. via Actual Photo:
  23. Sit Back and Watch Arrive when they will be doing related tasks Observe for as long as needed: 1/2 hour each - quick repetitive tasks >1 hour for longer processes Stay out of their “space” and don’t interrupt Take photos and videos 23
  24. Take Detailed Notes Write down questions and context Look for patterns and differences: Style of tasks Order of operations Environment 24
  25. 25 Artifacts! Collect, Copy, Photograph via
  26. Clarify Observations After observation ask about: Why doing? Goal? How typical was this? Clarify confusing observations 26
  27. Interviews 27
  28. Interview to Discover/Confirm… Build on what you’ve learned: Tasks Attitudes and Opinions Problems Goals Experience level and knowledge Technology 28
  29. Styles Structured Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Open-ended Combination 29
  30. Use Scripts Memory tool for facilitator Don’t have to follow Promote consistency Questions Order of questions 30
  31. Questions Quality of questions correlates to quality of answers: Open-ended Unbiased Don’t lead or make assumptions Use participant’s words 31
  32. Stretch & Exercise 32
  33. Question 1 Do you regularly book your travel online to save money? 33
  34. Alternates – Question 1 How often do you travel? <listen> What proportion of that do you book online? <listen> Why do you book travel online? <listen> 34
  35. Rationale - Question 1 Do you regularly book your travel online to save money? Address one issue at a time and avoid double-barreled questions. 35
  36. Question 2 What are your thoughts about a new feature that allows you to instant message a travel agent with any questions as you book your travel? 36
  37. Alternates – Question 2 Would you like to correspond with a travel agent while you are booking travel? <listen> What are some ways that you would like to correspond with a travel agent while you are booking travel? <listen> 37
  38. Rationale – Question 2 What are your thoughts about a new feature that allows you to instant message a travel agent with any questions as you book your travel? This question asked the participant to predict the future. 38
  39. Facilitation Remain passive (body, face) Don’t confirm or reject answers Listen for vocalizations Watch non-verbal gestures Encourage participant to elaborate Ask your question and let them talk 39
  40. Silence is GoldenUser’s Time to Think! 40
  41. Card Sorting 41
  42. Card Sorting Maximize probability of users finding content Explore how people are likely to group items Identify content likely to be: Difficult to categorize Difficult to find Misunderstood 42 Gaffney, Gerry. (2000) What is Card Sorting? Usability Techniques Series, Information & Design. via
  43. 43 Benefits of Card Sorting Easy and inexpensive Use to determine: Order of information Relationships between info Labels for navigation Verify correct audience Gaffney, Gerry. (2000) What is Card Sorting? Usability Techniques Series, Information & Design.
  44. Open or Closed (Reverse) Sort? 44 ? ? ? Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
  45. One title/subject on each card Short for quick reading Detailed enough to understand Supplement - short description on back Use printed stickers (handwriting) Practice session first Card Basics 45 36 Preventive Care Guidelines
  46. 46 Participants Representative of users Minimum of 6 More participants = more data to analyze Allow one hour for 50 items 30 – 100 cards
  47. Facilitation/Direction Shuffle cards Ask to: Group items in own way Talk out loud Think about: What expect to be together When expect to see 47
  48. Issues Card doesn’t fit: make separate group Not relevant: tell me More than one place: tell me and put in best fit Items not understood Correct audience? Items without consensus Re-name item? Include in more than one category? 48
  49. Grouping Cards Ask to Describe groups and name them Describe overall rationale for grouping cards Show best example from groups What was difficult? What was easy? Happy with final outcome? 49
  50. 50 Analysis Codes on cards = faster data analysis Standardize group names Look for patterns Excel Spreadsheet (Donna Spencer) Online tools - limited analysis
  51. Online Tools Moderated Un-moderated 51 Optimal Sort, Optimal Workshop - Demo:
  52. Patterns 52
  53. 53 Looking for Patterns Identify repetition Groupings or clusters of users Overlapping characteristics Relevant to design problem After pattern is found, continuation of study: Adds cost Delays reporting Low probability of many new findings
  54. 54 Focus your effortsuntil… Get to 80%
  55. 80% Sure We Know… Primary user’s tasks goals Prioritize with: vision (why we are doing this?) business needs etc. Awareness of what not known (yet). 55
  56. Are we there yet?
  57. 57 At Least 80%
  58. Share What You Learn [Radiate Knowledge*] 58 *Thoughtworks via @jonrstahl
  59. 59 Goals of Sharing Help the team: understand user’s point of view prioritize content and solutions design for user’s needs and behaviors identify new opportunities create new solutions
  60. Information Radiators Should Represents all research Facilitate: communication decision-making Guide decisions about: Navigation Features Design 60
  61. 61 Persona
  62. 62 Task Analysis Example of a Task Analysis by Todd Zaki Warfel from his Agile2010 presentation "Opening the Kimono a look behind the design process."
  63. Mental Model Mental Space (goal or intent) Behaviors, thoughts, goals or intents of users Opportunity Content and/or solutions provided
  64. Actionable Gap Analysis Change Situation
  65. Other Methods Brainstorming Competitive Reviews Focus Groups Expert (Heuristic) Evaluations Paper Prototypes and Wireframes Participatory Design Surveys Usability Testing 65
  66. Do UX Early & Often Create a User Wall Information radiators Artifacts Research findings Competitors 66
  67. Update Radiators Regularly 67
  68. Recommended Readings 68
  69. Contact Carol J. Smith @carologic Midwest Research, LLC 69
  70. 70 References Cato, John. User-Centered Web Design. Addison Wesley Longman; 2001. Gaffney, Gerry. (2000) What is Card Sorting? Usability Techniques Series, Info & Design. Hackos, JoAnn T., PhD and Redish, Janice C. User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. Wiley; 1998. Henry, S.L. and Martinson, M. Evaluating for Accessibility, Usability Testing in Diverse Situations. Tutorial, 2003 UPA Conference. Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. Kuniavsky, Mike. Observing the User Experience: a Practitioner's Guide to User Research. Morgan Kaufmann, 2003. Mandel, Theo. The Elements of User Interface Design. Wiley; 1997. Nielsen, Jakob and Robert L. Mack. Usability Inspection Methods. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1994. Powell, Thomas A. The Complete Reference: Web Design. Osborne/McGraw-Hill; 2000. Redish, Janice (Ginny). Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. Rubin, Jeffrey and Dana Chisnell. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.