UCLA ANTHRO 9LECTUREFebruary 12, 2013Professor Mariko Tamanoi
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Today we’ll talk about…• Ecosystems of non-academic research – business and other organization...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013WHO’S HEARD OF USEREXPERIENCE RESEARCH?• Market Research• Usability• User Experience (UX)
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Market Research o Market Research is mostly about opinion, attitudes.   o Question – answer. o...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013What induced evolutionary complexity ofresearch methodologies?• The craving for richer knowled...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Usability/Human Computer InteractionSummative, mid-later Product Development • Prototype testi...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013User eXperience (UX)Formative and Summative – all the way thru Product Dev o Can include usabi...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Research MethodologiesMarket Research    Q -> A                                               ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Design Process             Beginning to end of Product Development -->                        ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Notes on the Design Process• Formative Research is done at the outset; Summative is done when ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013An Echo from the MBA People“Ask fewer questions about what people will doinstead set up small ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013A STANDARD GOOGLEUX JOB DESCRIPTIONA good description of the role and its ecosystem
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Overview• The job of our User Experience professionals is to make sure that our products are u...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013The UX Team• Researchers• Designers• Information Architects• Content Writers• Business Analyst...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Qualifications• An advanced degree preferred in computer science, human computer interaction, ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013More Qualifications• Excellent interpersonal, communication, negotiation, and collaborate skil...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013WHY ANTHROPOLOGY?Anthropology is authentic discovery, a strong an ownership ofexploration.Peop...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Criticism• Henry Ford & Steve Jobs ‘people don’t know what they want’ is mostly true. Research...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013THE UX RESEARCHERROLEHow I do my work
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013• Draw up research questions, draw hypotheses, data    processing, data analysis.•   Involve o...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Current work Example - Vegas• Some research was done by previous researchers• Upon arrival, ch...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Internal to External Cultures• Fielding research requests and deciding on methodologies.     •...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Balanced Exploitation• In an ecological system, the populations find and exploit  niches where...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013External to Internal• I am expected to interpret and recommend actions intended to produce an ...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013The C-level• I must be persuasive all the way up to the VP and C-level  executives.• This mean...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013MY ROAD TO BECOMING AUX RESEARCHERObstacles and distractions
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013UX did not exist in 1992• Sell the components of what you want to do. For me, that was  qualit...
Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013QUESTIONS?Susan_Wilhite at msn dot com@Maggid
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Anthro 9 lecture on UX Research in Silicon Valley

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Notes for an Intro to Anthropology class at UCLA describing my work as a UX researcher with an Anthropology education.Emphasis on the cross-disciplinary aspects of corporate research, especially in Silicon Valley (San Francisco high tech).

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Anthro 9 lecture on UX Research in Silicon Valley

  1. 1. UCLA ANTHRO 9LECTUREFebruary 12, 2013Professor Mariko Tamanoi
  2. 2. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Today we’ll talk about…• Ecosystems of non-academic research – business and other organizations. • Resources, niches - survival• Cultures and sub-cultures: produced, criticized and morphed by various “tribes” in many places and over time• How cultural practices and values are transmitted and challenged• As it happens – we’re going to talk about what may be someday part of your career.
  3. 3. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013WHO’S HEARD OF USEREXPERIENCE RESEARCH?• Market Research• Usability• User Experience (UX)
  4. 4. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Market Research o Market Research is mostly about opinion, attitudes. o Question – answer. o Prep for selling whatever has been developed, o The end of the process, little/no user influence o Offers a comparatively superficial view o methodologies, intent o Example: Directed inquiries - what the questioner wants to know, on her terms. o Often forces “respondents” to think about something the way the researcher thinks about a topic• What induced evolutionary complexity of research methodologies?
  5. 5. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013What induced evolutionary complexity ofresearch methodologies?• The craving for richer knowledge• Combined with the availability of maturing academic disciplines to inform the workBut why?• Resulting from market pressures
  6. 6. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Usability/Human Computer InteractionSummative, mid-later Product Development • Prototype testing o Specifically for humans and computer development o Conducted in a lab to control variables o More about behaviors and perceptions than Mkt. Res. o Participants are consultants, experts at being human
  7. 7. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013User eXperience (UX)Formative and Summative – all the way thru Product Dev o Can include usability and market research methodologies o Research on the “Other’s” terms. o Our job: extract implications from their meanings. o Conducted anywhere o in context, online, and in a lab o Artifacts o A much wider array of academic disciplines (aka “majors”) Draw the Methodologies Formula Draw the Design Process
  8. 8. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Research MethodologiesMarket Research Q -> A = User + Formative Usability Experience (Discovery)(Summative for Research Prototypes or existing products)
  9. 9. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Design Process Beginning to end of Product Development --> Product Manager Summative UX Researcher Formative Customer Research UX Developer (Front End) NOT TO SCALE!!
  10. 10. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Notes on the Design Process• Formative Research is done at the outset; Summative is done when there is a product and business model direction. • Formative is where anthropology adds most value• The Product Manager is a peer to the Researcher, Designer, and Developer• Customer Research pertains to the experience of those who buy the product/service (not necessarily the actual user/beneficiary) – sales, support, legal. Not part of the product development process, but appropriates some UX methodologies (usually badly, but it’s nice that they try)• Designers are usually expected to know research methodologies and sometimes conduct research.• Designers are sometimes expected to code prototypes for the developers, or pair with them in the beta process
  11. 11. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013An Echo from the MBA People“Ask fewer questions about what people will doinstead set up small field tests and controlled studies thatobserve what they actually do.In most instances, they will be lot cheaper than traditionalmarket research approaches, and yet the insights theyreveal could provide a real competitive advantage…” Steve Martin, Harvard Business Review blog 1/30/13
  12. 12. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013A STANDARD GOOGLEUX JOB DESCRIPTIONA good description of the role and its ecosystem
  13. 13. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Overview• The job of our User Experience professionals is to make sure that our products are useful, usable and desirable to millions of users worldwide.• Our Interaction Designers, Visual Designers, Prototypers and Researchers work with Product Managers and Engineers to improve our products and develop new ones.• …team members are encouraged to identify new opportunities for user experience improvements.
  14. 14. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013The UX Team• Researchers• Designers• Information Architects• Content Writers• Business Analysts• DevelopersEach of these roles has a number of sub-specialties.We are committed to informing and aligning our work withstated corporate strategies.
  15. 15. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Qualifications• An advanced degree preferred in computer science, human computer interaction, cognitive science, experimental psychology, anthropology, information science or related field.• At least 3 years of work experience in an applied research setting.• Experience integrating user research into product designs and design practices
  16. 16. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013More Qualifications• Excellent interpersonal, communication, negotiation, and collaborate skills (culture!)• Strong understanding of strengths and shortcomings of different research methods, including when and how to apply them during each product phase.• Excellent working knowledge of statistics and the principles of experiment design.
  17. 17. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013WHY ANTHROPOLOGY?Anthropology is authentic discovery, a strong an ownership ofexploration.People-intensive. Not manipulative.Theoretical grounding. Critical thinking and arguing evidence.The search for unexpected meaning, not just the answers.
  18. 18. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Criticism• Henry Ford & Steve Jobs ‘people don’t know what they want’ is mostly true. Researchers and designers figure it out from the data. That’s our task.• The burning question is: Is it too much to ask a researcher to also be a producer, and vice versa? • Is research a specialty that can be adequately adopted by designers, coders, business folks?
  19. 19. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013THE UX RESEARCHERROLEHow I do my work
  20. 20. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013• Draw up research questions, draw hypotheses, data processing, data analysis.• Involve other roles• Be current on methodologies and how they work best• Know technical resources and keep skills sharp• “present” findings in a format that suits the needs of the stakeholders (called the deliverable)• Evangelize the findings
  21. 21. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Current work Example - Vegas• Some research was done by previous researchers• Upon arrival, changed a series of “focus groups” to 1:1 formative interviews. • Focus groups are a market research methodology intended to build consensus in that group • We didn’t know how these people do their work and what kinds of organizational requirements and constraints they’re under. • So –> 1:1.
  22. 22. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Internal to External Cultures• Fielding research requests and deciding on methodologies. • Time is short and material resources are limited.• Participants (customers) must be handled carefully. • I can’t wreck a relationship built by the Sales and the Support tribes. Even though I do not want those tribes participating in the research process • Customers must feel free to talk to me about what I want them to talk about – it’s a different relationship
  23. 23. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013Balanced Exploitation• In an ecological system, the populations find and exploit niches where they can thrive.• In a balanced ecology, the exploitation is balanced. Relationships are symbiotic: negotiated and mutually beneficial. Political. Among humans - Cultural.• Every entity we sell to has a version of a culture.• I work on categorizing those cultures in a way that makes sense to my team, group, and company
  24. 24. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013External to Internal• I am expected to interpret and recommend actions intended to produce an effect on the people I study. Research -> Design -> user experience • My findings must be reliable: ask the right questions, collect data in a usable way, make sure everyone on my team and group is on board, process and analyze the data correctly and quickly, present the findings in a nutritious way. • Listen to other interpretations, new questions (“now that we know this, what about that point right there?”)
  25. 25. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013The C-level• I must be persuasive all the way up to the VP and C-level executives.• This means packaging my findings to be easily consumable and actionable.• They have to believe that what I am telling them they can defend later. • I work hard to justify my existence
  26. 26. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013MY ROAD TO BECOMING AUX RESEARCHERObstacles and distractions
  27. 27. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013UX did not exist in 1992• Sell the components of what you want to do. For me, that was qualitative research skills• Toyed with Market Research • Hired Gallup to do the heavy lifting • Got on the phones to do surveys • Proposed and ran a focus group arm• Paper editing at Harvard• Microsoft: deep interest in research and deep pockets to pay for it • Did a lot of work on my own time • Pushed to leave and get a master’s in Cognitive Psych (prep for usability engineering)• Conferences, informational interviews, hanging out at usability lab studies, networking, having an opinion and stating it.• Did pro bono work for Habitat for Humanity • Proposed an application for the skills I was offering • Trained others to do ethnographic fieldwork
  28. 28. Copyright Susan Wilhite 2013QUESTIONS?Susan_Wilhite at msn dot com@Maggid

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