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Achieving Stakeholder Buy-in for User Research


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Discussion of low-cost user research methods and techniques to convince stakeholders to use research in design process with a focus on pitching your idea. It’s not just about getting buy-in to do the …

Discussion of low-cost user research methods and techniques to convince stakeholders to use research in design process with a focus on pitching your idea. It’s not just about getting buy-in to do the research – it’s also about convincing stakeholders to take the next step.

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  • 1. Achieving Stakeholder Buy-in for User Research Samantha LeVan
  • 2. About Me • Performing user research for five years. • Experience in communications and design. • Masters in HCI from Carnegie Mellon. Currently Sr. User Experience Analyst with SUPERVALU, Inc. and owner of Tigerfork Consulting.
  • 3. A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest or an impact on a project.
  • 4. Ready for research? Do it yourself.
  • 5. Introduce user research slowly. In the beginning, your colleagues can play user.
  • 6. Find an executive advocate. Who’s going to pay for this?
  • 7. Look for relevant examples. User research can be found outside Google.
  • 8. Establish ROI quickly. • Customer support calls • Task time • Level of satisfaction • Clicks and page loads • Task completion
  • 9. Let stakeholders observe your test sessions. Create video clips of the highlights of customers using the products. Let them see the raw data.
  • 10. Research can be done by anyone. CogTool Quick and Dirty Testing Competitive Analysis Heuristic Analysis
  • 11. Understand the vision. Mood boards are a great way to communicate a product vision.
  • 12.
  • 13. Stakeholders are part of a team.
  • 14. Build a relationship with your stakeholders. Create a comfort zone before communicating your ideas.
  • 15. What not to do when presenting an idea.
  • 16. Failing to make the pitch. • Not addressing stakeholder concerns • Forgetting to include the “why” • Lack of confidence • Unfamiliarity with major stakeholders • Not understanding company vision
  • 17. Learn a new language • Marketing • Executives • Engineers • Product Management • QA • Project Managers • Designers
  • 18. You want me to do what?
  • 19. Resolution attempt #1: Pleading FAIL Begging doesn’t sell your idea.
  • 20. Resolution attempt #2: Personas and Scenarios FAIL Personas need to be established and accepted.
  • 21. Resolution attempt #3: Present the challenge SUCCESS I’ve got a problem for you to solve.
  • 22. When personas work. Working with a marketing team? Are there established market segments? Create simple personas.
  • 23. Competitive Peter Learns to Play UNO Competitive Peter is a husband and father of two boys. He works long hours at his sales job but always makes time on Friday night to play games with his family. Competitive in nature, Peter likes to be the winner and looks for games that have an element of challenge but are also fun for the whole family. Scenario Competitive Peter picked up UNO on his way home from the office. After dinner, he pulls out the game and challenges his family to a couple of rounds but first he must figure out how to play the game.
  • 24. Let the stakeholders find the problem. People are more inclined to resolve an issue that is personal to them.
  • 25. You are the expert of your idea.
  • 26. Not everyone speaks the same language. If your stakeholder doesn’t understand color theory, don’t be surprised to hear… “Can you make it blue instead?”
  • 27. Company vision We strive for average. Not likely.
  • 28. Don’t expect perfection. It’s not perfect but it’s perfect enough.
  • 29. Don’t be afraid to let people say “I would like using that.”
  • 30. Limit presentation meeting size to six people. Schedule several small sessions. Lower the chance of getting off track.
  • 31. Remote presentations are challenging. Pause every 1-2 slides and ask for feedback. Elicit feedback and call on people who are quiet.
  • 32. People get off track. It happens. Try to figure out what’s really the problem outside of the meeting. Solve it individually.
  • 33. Start in school. Use projects and reports as a chance to practice your pitch.
  • 34. Resources Communicating Design by Dan Brown Contextual Design by Beyer and Holtzblatt Usability Inspection Methods by Nielsen and Mack Samantha LeVan Twitter: tigerfork Blog: Email: