UXLX2012 User Research Hacks
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  • 1. User Research Hacks UX Lisbon | May 16, 2012 Gene Smith | @gsmith #uxhacks
  • 2. The ProblemClient wants major Client has a smallinsights into their budget, limited time,customers and or no executive buy-indesign problems to conduct research
  • 3. The Problem hackClient wants major of solvingClient has kludgy but effective way a problema smallinsights into their budget, limited time,customers and or no executive buy-indesign problems to conduct research
  • 4. The Problem hackClient wants major of solvingClient has kludgy but effective way a problem a smallinsights into their budget, limited time,customers and user research hack or no executive buy-indesign problems of getting some data that will give you kludgy but effective way to conduct research insight into users’ needs so you can design something halfway decent
  • 5. Kludgy but effective• Simple tools• Creative experimental design or just some creative thinking about how to improve our results• Spreadsheets, pivot tables & other post-study analysis tools
  • 6. This Presentation• Three user research hacks 1. Determining users’ content priorities 2. A/B testing mock-ups 3. Getting better interview responses• Goal: give you some ideas for your next low-budget, high-impact user research project
  • 7. #1. Content Priorities The client: regional financial services company with 2,500 employees and 100+ branches The project: a ground-up Intranet redesign The problem: no mandate to conduct research with front-line staff.
  • 8. Our Solution• Content prioritization card sort• Include questions about region and role to segment the data.• Distribute the surveys directly to branch managers and use the tell-two- friends method.
  • 9. Why Content Prioritization?• We needed to understand actual behaviour• This survey design let us extract a lot insights from one data set. • What content do people need daily? • How does that differ by job function? • Are there significant differences between different locations or job functions?
  • 10. Ranking Content Use• Hunch: front-line staff relied on Intranet heavily for business-critical information. How could we show that with the data we had?• We segmented respondents into two groups: all front-line staff and corporate staff• We looked at the % of content each group used daily and ranked their responses
  • 11. 1 2 Front-line staff: > 95% using two Intranet resources daily1 Corporate staff: 55% using two Intranet resources daily Front-line staff: > 80% using 12 Intranet resources daily2 Corporate staff: < 30% using 12 Intranet resources daily
  • 12. Results• Much better understanding of information needs for major job functions• Design meaningful role-based customization features• Confirmed that front-line staff relied on the Intranet more heavily• Secured additional participation from front-line staff
  • 13. #2. A/B Testing Mock-ups The client: large utility company The project: assist them with usability evaluation for their website The problem: how do we help them choose between mock-ups?
  • 14. Experimental Design: A Digression• In general, good experiments will meet these two criteria • random sampling of a population • random assignment to one or more experimental groups
  • 15. Our Solution• We created two ChalkMark surveys with identical questions but different designs.• We used SurveyMonkey’s random assignment feature to randomly direct participants to one of the surveys.• We compared responses to each question to see what was different. ChalkMark Design #1 SurveyMonkey Random Assignment ChalkMark Design #2
  • 16. ChalkMark Design #1 SurveyMonkey ChalkMarkRandom Assignment Design #2 ChalkMark Design #3
  • 17. UserTesting.com Current Website SurveyMonkeyRandom Assignment UserTesting.com Prototype
  • 18. Lessons Learned• Test significantly different designs• Limits to chaining tools together • Integration with panel management/ recruiting software • Tracking participants for incentives• Have a clear hypothesis you’re trying to prove/disprove
  • 19. #3. Boosting Interview ResponsesThe client: regional governmentThe project: understand how citizensaccess and experience government servicesThe problem: how do we get people to talkabout something abstract like services?
  • 20. Our Solution• Emotional response cards• We used a set of 50 cards with emotional adjectives on them to help elicit in-depth responses from participants.• Used physical cards in 20 in-home interviews, used PDF file for 20 telephone interviews.
  • 21. How They Worked• We started with Microsoft’s Product Reaction Cards, which includes a list of 118 product characteristics• We reduced the number of cards to 50 and tried to include opposing characteristics (similar to BERT)• At the end of the interview we handed participants the cards and asked them to pick the cards that described the experiences they had just talked about http://www.uxmag.com/articles/organized-approach-to-emotional-response-testing http://www.uxforthemasses.com/bert/
  • 22. The Results• People remember emotions• Few experiences are all +ve or -ve• Props help people express themselves• Emotions keep people honest• Emotions lead to better stories
  • 23. Conclusion• These are some ways we’re pushing our user research practice• We’re able to get a lot of value from simple tools and creative thinking• Please share your own ideas at the break, on Twitter (#uxhacks) or on your blog
  • 24. Thank you!Gene Smith nFormgene.smith@nform.com http://nform.com@gsmith @nform