A G I L E - F R I E N D LY U S E R R E S E A R C H
UX PEOPLE 2013

Nina Belk
Lead Research Strategist
DigitasLBi

Twitter:...
DISCLAIMER
This is a workshop about research,
not about agile project delivery.
Objections:
“It costs too much.”
“It takes too long.”
“We don‟t need it. We‟re building
something new, people will just as...
SOLUTION:
“We can just optimise based
on analytics data once
we‟ve launched.”
A cautionary tale…
Sorry, I can‟t show you slides to illustrate the or tell you who
the client is.
Here‟s the summary: when we did some post ...
The Agile Manifesto (for software development)
“We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helpi...
The 12 Principles of Agile (software development)
1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and con...
My Brief for an Agile-Friendly Approach:
– Fast
– Collaborative
– Minimal documentation
The Traditional Approach to User Experience Research
!
Discussion
Guide

Discussion
Guide

Client
activities
Your
activiti...
The Traditional Approach to User Experience Research
Detailed
Report

Report
Presentation:
Findings and
recommendations
pr...
The Agile-Friendly Approach
Collaborative
Note Taking

Client & Design Team
activities
Your
activities

Discussion
Guide W...
Recruitment

Don‟t give the recruitment criteria
away in the screener questions!

Try to word questions in an open
manner
TASK ONE:
Fix the recruitment screener to
prevent professional research
participants getting into your
study.

TIP TO REME...
Discussion Guide Workshops
The Discussion Guide Workshop
Discussion Guide Workshop Agenda:
1.

Explain the purpose of the workshop

2.

Explain how y...
TASK TWO:
Create your discussion guide

POINTS TO REMEMMBER:
•
Walkthrough the journeys you want to evaluate
•
Together, b...
Facilitating
Research labs can be
intimidating places
for participants.
Help them relax by
making them feel
at home.

Image sourced from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellysue
Introducing Participants to the Session

– An introduction to you
– An overview of what the session is about
– Explain the...
Open with your scenario

“I‟d like you to
imagine that…”

Facilitation
“What do you think
will
happen next?”

“What‟s goin...
Collaborative Analysis
Image sourced from: Detroit Publishing Company photo via Library of Congress website.

“Can I have a
faster horse please
M...
Setting up the Observation Room and the Observers

1. Have all pages printed and
stuck on brown paper
2. Have an area dedi...
Guide For Observers

1. Watch what they do
2. Listen to what they say, and how they say it
3. Compare what you see and wha...
TASK THREE:
Run a short research session

TIPS FOR FACILITATORS:
•
Put your participant at ease
•
Open questions and then ...
Findings Workshops
Findings Workshop Preparation
Summarise key
findings for each
screen

Group
observations
The Findings Workshop

Agenda:
• Recap on the key research questions
• Nominate someone as the actions scribe
• Walk throu...
TASK FOUR:
Prepare and run a findings workshop

POINTS TO REMEMBER
•
Group similar observations
•
Summarise the key findin...
Objections:
“It costs too much.”
“It takes too long.”
“We don‟t need it. We‟re building
something new, people will just as...
– It can cost you more not to do
research (remember my cautionary
tale?)
– If it‟s collaborative with minimal
documentatio...
Thank You
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Agile-Friendly User Research. Nina Belk, UX People, 2013

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“It takes too long." "We don’t have the budget." "We don’t really need it, we can just optimise once we’ve gone live.” Sound familiar?

As UX embraces agile as a project delivery approach, research seems get left out in the cold. Rather than shivering and complaining about it though maybe we just need to stick two fingers up to these assumptions and dare to do things a little differently!

In her workshop at UX People, Nina helped delegates explore how to bring research in from the cold on agile projects. There were tips on getting the research basics right (effective participant recruitment and facilitation techniques), and delegates were given the opportunity to road-test their facilitation and analysis skills in an agile-friendly framework (full exercises not available in this presentation).

If you're looking to arm yourself with some practical skills, and a research approach that will blow those assumptions about speed, cost and the lack of value out of the water then this workshop would have been for you, but you'll have to make do with this SlideShare presentation instead!

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Agile-Friendly User Research. Nina Belk, UX People, 2013

  1. 1. A G I L E - F R I E N D LY U S E R R E S E A R C H UX PEOPLE 2013 Nina Belk Lead Research Strategist DigitasLBi Twitter: @ninabelk LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/ninabelk/
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER This is a workshop about research, not about agile project delivery.
  3. 3. Objections: “It costs too much.” “It takes too long.” “We don‟t need it. We‟re building something new, people will just ask for a faster horse!”
  4. 4. SOLUTION: “We can just optimise based on analytics data once we‟ve launched.”
  5. 5. A cautionary tale…
  6. 6. Sorry, I can‟t show you slides to illustrate the or tell you who the client is. Here‟s the summary: when we did some post launch user research and discovered the client assumptions were badly wrong, and then redesigned some key pages and tools on the site, conversion went through the roof.
  7. 7. The Agile Manifesto (for software development) “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer [client] collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.” Source: http://agilemanifesto.org/
  8. 8. The 12 Principles of Agile (software development) 1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. 2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. 5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. 6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-toface conversation. 7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. Agile processes promote sustainable development. 8. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. 10. Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. 11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. 12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. Source: http://agilemanifesto.org/
  9. 9. My Brief for an Agile-Friendly Approach: – Fast – Collaborative – Minimal documentation
  10. 10. The Traditional Approach to User Experience Research ! Discussion Guide Discussion Guide Client activities Your activities Brief Discussion Guide Discussion Guide Participants recruited Discussion Guide Document User Research Sessions Against an agreed recruitment brief. You draft a discussion guide, the client reviews it and provides feedback. You then make amendments and then send it back to the client for approval. Participants will be given scenarios that encourage a natural exploration of the key pages we‟re researching. Client and design team observe.
  11. 11. The Traditional Approach to User Experience Research Detailed Report Report Presentation: Findings and recommendations presented & discussed. Client activities Your activities Detailed Report Data analysis Report Prepared Report Presentation You analyse the data for patterns. You put together a lengthy PowerPoint deck and it‟s sent to the client and design teams You present your findings and recommendations to the client and discuss the implications of these with them and the design team before agreeing on actions.
  12. 12. The Agile-Friendly Approach Collaborative Note Taking Client & Design Team activities Your activities Discussion Guide Workshop: Observers note their observations on post-it notes and stick to wall. Findings Workshop: Review notes captured during research sessions & agree actions. Agree areas to explore in the research. Brief Findings Summary Discussion Guide Participants recruited Discussion Guide Document User Research Sessions Outputs Against an agreed recruitment brief. Workshop to agree discussion guide topics and structure, the output of which we will document for reference not approval Participants will be given scenarios that encourage a natural exploration of the key pages we‟re researching. Following the workshop we will put together a short summary of the agreed actions for reference not approval.
  13. 13. Recruitment Don‟t give the recruitment criteria away in the screener questions! Try to word questions in an open manner
  14. 14. TASK ONE: Fix the recruitment screener to prevent professional research participants getting into your study. TIP TO REMEMBER: Avoid giving the criteria away in the question.
  15. 15. Discussion Guide Workshops
  16. 16. The Discussion Guide Workshop Discussion Guide Workshop Agenda: 1. Explain the purpose of the workshop 2. Explain how you will run the research sessions: – – – – There‟s no script because it feels unnatural You start with contextual questions to help you build a picture of participants and warm them up to the content of the session You then look at what you want to evaluate Finally you wrap-up with some overall evaluation of what the participants have seen during the course of the session. 3. With the designers, walkthrough the journeys they would like you to evaluate – these would ideally be printed and stuck on the wall. 4. Brainstorm the research questions you have specific to the experience together and write these on post-it notes and stick alongside the relevant parts of the journey. 5. Create realistic scenarios that allow the participants to get into the right frame of mind and ensure the research questions will be addressed. 6. Brainstorm contextual research questions that can be asked at the start of the research sessions 7. Review the standard wrap-up questions and amend where needed: – – – – Overall what did you think of what we‟ve looked at today? Was there anything you particularly liked that you want to highlight? Is there anything you would change or add to improve it for you? Any final comments? FINALLY: Document what you agree (no client review).
  17. 17. TASK TWO: Create your discussion guide POINTS TO REMEMMBER: • Walkthrough the journeys you want to evaluate • Together, brainstorm the research questions you have specific to the experience and write these on post-it notes. Where they are screen specific stick the post-it alongside, where they‟re not create a group of questions that apply to all screens. • Write a realistic scenario(s) that allows the participants to get into the right frame of mind and ensure the research questions will be addressed. • Brainstorm contextual research questions that can be asked at the start of the research sessions. • Review the standard wrap-up questions and amend where needed. • Document on the template provided.
  18. 18. Facilitating
  19. 19. Research labs can be intimidating places for participants.
  20. 20. Help them relax by making them feel at home. Image sourced from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kellysue
  21. 21. Introducing Participants to the Session – An introduction to you – An overview of what the session is about – Explain the tech set-up – Outline the structure – What you‟d like them to do.
  22. 22. Open with your scenario “I‟d like you to imagine that…” Facilitation “What do you think will happen next?” “What‟s going on here?” “What‟s this page about?” “What did you find difficult about that?” Asking „why‟ a lot can feel like an interrogation “What can you do here?” Encourage them to think aloud It‟s hard not to ask leading questions, but don‟t panic… “Would you find that useful?” “Can you give me an example of when?” Top Tip Repeat the last thing they said in a rising intonation. …you can always qualify them.
  23. 23. Collaborative Analysis
  24. 24. Image sourced from: Detroit Publishing Company photo via Library of Congress website. “Can I have a faster horse please Mr. Ford?” Watch, listen and interpret. Don‟t just report! It‟s seriously slow getting from A to B on this horse and cart.
  25. 25. Setting up the Observation Room and the Observers 1. Have all pages printed and stuck on brown paper 2. Have an area dedicated to ‘key observations’ 3. Give observers a guide to effective note taking
  26. 26. Guide For Observers 1. Watch what they do 2. Listen to what they say, and how they say it 3. Compare what you see and what you hear If they struggled but said it was easy trust their actions not their words. 4. Try and interpret what‟s going on rather than just reporting. Goal – get a “because” on every post-it note 5. Mark-up your post-it notes with the participant number and the screen they were on (post-it rain is a pain). 6. Discuss observations together after each session 7. Pull out the three most important issues to address. Summarise these on a post-it not for each participant and place on the key observations sheet.
  27. 27. TASK THREE: Run a short research session TIPS FOR FACILITATORS: • Put your participant at ease • Open questions and then explore interesting avenues TIPS FOR OBSERVERS: • Watch what they do • Listen to what they say and how. • Compare what they do with what they say • Observation + because (try and interpret)
  28. 28. Findings Workshops
  29. 29. Findings Workshop Preparation Summarise key findings for each screen Group observations
  30. 30. The Findings Workshop Agenda: • Recap on the key research questions • Nominate someone as the actions scribe • Walk through the experience with the discussion guide as your agenda • Highlight the key findings and discuss the actions the team could take to address these. • Agree the priority of the design changes • Review the personas and discuss if these need to be updated based on anything you‟ve learned about during the research.
  31. 31. TASK FOUR: Prepare and run a findings workshop POINTS TO REMEMBER • Group similar observations • Summarise the key findings • Use your discussion guide as a workshop agenda • Discuss findings and agree actions
  32. 32. Objections: “It costs too much.” “It takes too long.” “We don‟t need it. We‟re building something new, people will just ask for a faster horse!”
  33. 33. – It can cost you more not to do research (remember my cautionary tale?) – If it‟s collaborative with minimal documentation, it‟s faster and cheaper. – The real skill of a researcher is interpretation not facilitation!
  34. 34. Thank You

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