Unfinished Business Workshop: Working with user research data

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In this workshop, Steve will show you how producers of "stuff" (products, services, and beyond) - can work with user research data to identify new businesses opportunities. One of the most persistent …

In this workshop, Steve will show you how producers of "stuff" (products, services, and beyond) - can work with user research data to identify new businesses opportunities. One of the most persistent factors limiting the impact of user research in business is that projects often stop with a cataloging findings and implications rather than generating opportunities that directly enable the findings. As designers (in the broadest sense of the word) increasingly become involved in using contextual research to inform their design work, they may find themselves holding onto a trove of raw data but with little awareness of how to turn it into design.

The emphasis in this workshop (including an exercise in the days and weeks beforehand) will be on strengthening the creative link between "data" and "action." By the end, participants will have developed a range of high-level concepts that respond to a business problem and integrate a fresh, contextual understanding of that problem.

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  • 1. Working with user research data
  • 2. Agenda
    10:00 – 12:00 Turning field data into insights
    Introduction 15 minutes
    Observation Process 15 minutes
    Fieldwork Exercise 60 minutes
    Storytelling 30 minutes
    Lunch!
    12:30 – 3:00 Turning insights into solutions
    Synthesis Process 15 minutes
    Synthesis Exercise 45 minutes
    Ideation Process 10 minutes
    Ideation Exercise 65 minutes
    Wrap Up 15 minutes
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Typical development lifecycle
    What to make or do
    Refine & prototype
    Launch
    Iterate & improve
  • 5. Where we work
    Take a fresh look at people
    What to make or do
    Refine & prototype
    Launch
    Iterate & improve
  • 6. Where we work
    Use existing ideas as hypotheses
    What to make or do
    Refine & prototype
    Launch
    Iterate & improve
  • 7. Where we work
    Is it working like we hoped?
    What to make or do
    Refine & prototype
    Launch
    Iterate & improve
  • 8. Where we work
    What to make or do
    Refine & prototype
    Launch
    History provides context to explore new ideas
    Iterate & improve
  • 9. Synthesis & ideation process
    Fieldwork
    Synthesis
    Ideation
    Development
  • 10. Analysis
    Synthesis
    Ideation
    Solutions
    Strategies
    Opportunities
    Detailed solutions
    Insights
    Synthesis & ideation process
  • 11. Cultural data from fieldwork
    Case study: iPod accessories
  • 12. Observation
  • 13. Homework Check-in
    Your mission: Dedicate at least half an hour to walking around and observing people in your neighborhood
    Who was able to do the assignment?
    Was this anyone’s first experience doing observational fieldwork?
    Is there anyone who has not done user or observational research in the field?
    Props to Evi!
  • 14. Methods & inputs (not today…)
    Generally we integrate methods, aka triangulation
    We choose, mash-up, or create methods based on the problem. Today we’re doing an abbreviated version of observational fieldwork
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    14
  • 15. Observing
    Notice what… people, places
    Notice how… processes, sequences, interactions
    Suspend your point of view
    Avoid conclusions
    Allow confusion
    Do it “out loud”
    Steve, practicing his “noticing.” You can tell because he looks like he may be a little confused.
  • 16. You’re observing people within their culture. Notice how cultural artifacts reflect and define the environment; and reveal what is “normal”
    Normal isn’t “right or wrong” – it’s the set of background rules that define much of what people choose or ignore
    Media
    Products
    Advertisements
    Street Culture
    Trends/Fads
    Cultural context
    What are they selling?
  • 17. Cultural context
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    17
  • 18. Cultural context
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    18
  • 19. Cultural context
  • 20. Synthesis naturally begins inthe field
    Resist meaning (for now)
    Focus on observations
    Get the detail
    Create time to talk after each fieldwork experience
    Over multiple sessions and participants, over time
    Write up real-timesummaries for the team, ASAP
    In-field debriefing (not today…)
    Fieldwork highlights captured in the wild.
  • 21. Your mission: Imagine you are working on a project for Gentrific8, looking for ideas to redevelop Dunbat/Alexandra Park.
    Form groups of 2 – 3. Mix it up
    Wander and observe people, interactions and environments
    Do it out loud!
    Capture (photos, notes)
    What, who, where, when?
    Why, how?
    This is not a design audit of signage or merchandise displays
    Exercise: Explore!
    Image: Sanderson Public Library, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from stqcb'sphotostream
    http://www.rapdict.org/Alexandra_Park
  • 22. Neighborhood observations: Noe Valley, San Fran
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    22
  • 23. Neighborhood observations: Noe Valley, San Fran
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    23
  • 24. Neighborhood observations: Montara, California
    Portigal
    Unfinished Business
    24
  • 25. Be back by 11:30 to share some stories!
    Exercise: Explore!
  • 26. What happened? What did you see? What did you feel?
    Tell stories
  • 27. Synthesis
  • 28. Sense-making through an iterative process of refining gathered data
    Early, Informaldata in your head
    First, process the experience you had collecting data
    Refer to debriefs and conversations
    Articulate and identify themes
    Outcome: Topline Report
    Process-based, Formalheavy lifting
    Then, process the data itself
    Individual and group analysis
    Pattern-identification, clustering, models, frameworks
    Outcome: Opportunities
    What is synthesis?
    Review, Refine, Rinse, Repeat
  • 29. After fieldwork, collate reflections and quickly externalize a starter set of 5 to 10 thematic areas based on
    Pre-identified areas of inquiry
    Refer to debriefs and conversations from the field
    New patterns that we observed
    Identify interesting areas; acknowledge that you don’t understand details yet, identify questions
    Outcome: Topline Report
    This sheds light on what excites the team and the stakeholders; brings focus to the next stage of synthesis
    All right researchers… what did you see?
    Early, informal synthesis (data in your head)
  • 30. Go back through your raw data very closely to move beyond the Topline Report
    Individually (heads-down) and collaboratively (heads-up) develop clusters, identify patterns, collate and refine findings
    Process maps, eco-systems
    Frameworks, models
    Design implications
    i.e.: What did other public announcements in the study look like? What are the layers of information and cultural context? What form factors are favored? Why?
    Process-based, formal synthesis (heavy lifting)
  • 31. Heads down!
    Transcript analysis
    • Make marginal notes on patterns, quotes, or what seems interesting
    • 34. Ask yourself questions; give labels; propose solutions
    • 35. Don’t worry about implications, be descriptive and reactive
    Individual analysis (not today…)
  • 36. If you can’t get transcripts, watch video (even sped-up) and in near real-time jot down the rough narrative of the session
    • When you make an observation in your own voice, do something typographic to call it out (ALL CAPS, highlight, etc.)
    Individual analysis (not today…)
  • 37. Heads up!
    Tell stories, narrate highlights, give each its due. Use notes, transcripts, and other artifacts
    Voice and document reactions, a-has, support and questions
    Clustering
    White-board notes
    Develop a new shared point-of-view, beyond “findings”
    Outcome: Opportunities
    No discussion of the synthesis process would be complete without a reference to Post-It ® Notes
    Collaborative analysis
  • 38. Opportunities are not
    A reporting of “interesting findings”
    A list of solutions
    Opportunities are
    Change we can envision based on what we heard and observe
    About people
    In the context of but reframing the business questions
    Generative, inviting many solutions
    Keep the human touch in communication
    Allow people to move seamlessly between places
    Allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    Developing opportunities
    What should we do?
  • 39. Topline Collaborative Analysis Opportunities
    10 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes
    Keep the human touch in communication
    Allow people to move seamlessly between places
    Allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices & systems
    Summary of synthesis exercises
    Externalize the data in your head
    Share the heavy lifting
    Determine generative directions
  • 40. After fieldwork, join forces with another group
    Quickly review what happened (today and from your homework) and what you saw. Collate reflections. Resist the urge to move too far towards conclusions
    Don’t refer to notes or photos yet
    Keep your own experiences, existing hypotheses, cultural clichés, etc. in the background
    Develop 3 - 5 themes as a “Topline Report” sketching out the big takeaways, leading into further synthesis
    Don’t fuss over exact wording
    Exercise: Develop a topline (10 minutes)
    All right researchers… what did you see?
  • 41. Evolve your “Topline Report;” flesh out and enrich themes
    Write your themes and put them up
    Leave space for new ones too
    Now (!) tell stories from the field (from your neighborhood and today), using photos, notes and memory
    Rethink the relationships between the themes, pick your strongest themes and write a sentence with a point of view
    Go from “Graffiti everywhere” and “Teen gangs hanging out” to “Public spaces in the neighborhood are used to communicate identity and belongingness”
    Exercise: Develop findings (10 minutes)
  • 42. Build on your findings
    Start each opportunity with a verb
    Opportunities are not
    A reporting of “interesting findings”
    A list of solutions
    Opportunities are
    Change we can envision based on what we heard and observe
    About people
    In the context of but reframing the business questions
    Generative, inviting many solutions
    Exercise: Identify opportunities (10 minutes)
    Keep the human touch in communication
    Allow people to move seamlessly between places
    Allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    Keep the human touch in communication
    Allow people to move seamlessly between places
    Allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    What should we do?
    What should we do?
  • 43. Exercise: Pitch it back!
  • 44. Ideation
  • 45. A simple step moves you from Opportunities to Ideation Questions, reframing them into actionable language
    How can we
    keep the human touch in communication
    allow people to move seamlessly between places
    allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    How can we
    How can we
    Ideate!
    Ideation questions
  • 46. Scope of solutions
    Solutions exist across many different business areas
    Functionality
    Visual design
    Marketing
    Architecture
    Public Services
    Partnerships
    Events
    Software
    Form factor
    Packaging
    Policy
    Retail design
    Even if you are unlikely to impact certain business areas, it’s crucial that you set that constraint aside for ideation
    How many business and civic areas to impact can you spot in this picture?
  • 47. Developing strategies
    Responses to any ideation question can lead in different strategic directions
    Finding:Students have to smoke outside, but they get cold and wet
    Opportunity: Improve the experience of students who smoke
    Ideation Question:How can we improve the experience of students who smoke?
    Support underlying needs and behavior by embracing the finding
    Question needs and behavior, seek change by challenging the finding
    Create a protected environment for smoking
    Eliminate smoking
  • 48. Strategies can inspire solutions
    Finding:Students have to smoke outside, but they get cold and wet
    Opportunity: Improve the experience of students who smoke
    Ideation Question:How can we improve the experience of students who smoke?
    Strategies
    Create a protected environment for smoking
    Eliminate smoking
    Solutions
    FacilitiesBuild a pavilion
    AdminAllocate interior room
    PartnersAlign with nearby cafe
    OnlineSmoking cessation games
    AdminBan smoking
    PartnersStop smoking coaches
  • 49. Solutions can suggest strategies
    Finding:Students have to smoke outside, but they get cold and wet
    Opportunity: Improve the experience of students who smoke
    Ideation Question:How can we improve the experience of students who smoke?
    Strategies
    Create a protected environment for smoking
    Eliminate smoking
    Solutions
    AdminAllocate interior room
    AdminBan smoking
  • 50. Collaborative generation
    This is a collective, out-loud activity! Talk, listen, build on each other’s ideas
    Don’t worry about a “bad” idea… it may lead to a “good” idea
    Don’t correct; generate alternatives
    “Yes, and…”
    This is a visual activity! Sketch, draw…
    Quantity over quality; go quickly
    Individual ideas matter less than what the collective produces overall
    How can a sour lemon help keep things working smoothly?
  • 51. Stuck?
    Come up with bad ideas
    Immoral
    Dangerous
    Bad for business
  • 52. Summary of ideation exercises
    Questions Business Areas Ideation and Sharing
    2 minutes 3 minutes 45 minutes
    How can we
    keep the human touch in communication
    allow people to move seamlessly between places
    allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    How can we
    How can we
    Ideate!
    Shift to “How can we…?”
    Figure out where we can play
    Remember, “Yes, and…”
  • 53. Exercise: Ideation questions (2 minutes)
    Apply How can we…? to each of your Opportunities
    How can we
    keep the human touch in communication
    allow people to move seamlessly between places
    allow people to integrate seamlessly across different devices and systems
    How can we
    How can we
    Ideate!
  • 54. Exercise: Business areas (3 minutes)
    Let’s collectively list possible business areas to design for
    Think about whatever Gentrific8 could do or affect
    Use this list as a starting point
    Functionality
    Visual design
    Marketing
    Architecture
    Public Services
    Partnerships
    Events
    Software
    Form factor
    Packaging
    Policy
    Retail design
    Incentives
    How many business and civic areas to impact can you spot in this picture?
  • 55. Exercise: Ideation (45 minutes)
    Use your ideation questions to generate strategies and solutions
    Out loud
    Visual
    Collaborative
    Consider the range of possible business areas
    Bounce back and forth between generating strategies and solutions
    Most ideas will not turn out to be winners; the goal is to practice connecting research data to solutions
    Apply lemon as needed.
  • 56. Exercise: Prepare to share (2 minutes)
    Rapidly align on your team’s best ideas and message
    Choose a messenger
    The wise team will choose a bold, expressive spokesperson
  • 57. Exercise: Pitch it back!
  • 58. Wrap it up
  • 59. Coming in 2012!
    A book by Steve Portigal
    The Art and Craft of User Research Interviewing
    http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/user-interviews/
  • 60. I’ve got a tip (that you didn’t cover) that works well for me…
    Yeah, I’ve got a question for ya…
    One new thing I learned today is…
  • 61. Thank you!
    Portigal Consulting
    www.portigal.com
    @steveportigal
    steve@portigal.com
    415-894-2001