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Leveraging User Research

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Leveraging User Research
Pacific Northwest Product Management Community
February 23, 2017

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Who we are

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Tom Satwicz
UX Research Director & Partner, Blink UX
tom@blinkux.com
Brian O’Shea
Interaction Designer, Blink UX
brian.osh...

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Leveraging User Research

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Providing a compelling user experience is pivotal to developing a successful product. As a product manager, you are often tasked with difficult decisions that require a deep understanding of customer needs and how to deliver the best experience possible. User research is an effective way to both generate insights and validate direction.

In this workshop you will learn:

* The skills to effectively integrate user research into the product development process with a strong return on investment.
* How foundational user research can help product teams understand user goals, generate insights, and narrow focus.
* How to use research to evaluate and iterate on product concepts.
* How to validate design and product decisions to ready your product for launch.

Providing a compelling user experience is pivotal to developing a successful product. As a product manager, you are often tasked with difficult decisions that require a deep understanding of customer needs and how to deliver the best experience possible. User research is an effective way to both generate insights and validate direction.

In this workshop you will learn:

* The skills to effectively integrate user research into the product development process with a strong return on investment.
* How foundational user research can help product teams understand user goals, generate insights, and narrow focus.
* How to use research to evaluate and iterate on product concepts.
* How to validate design and product decisions to ready your product for launch.

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Leveraging User Research

  1. 1. Leveraging User Research Pacific Northwest Product Management Community February 23, 2017
  2. 2. Who we are
  3. 3. Tom Satwicz UX Research Director & Partner, Blink UX tom@blinkux.com Brian O’Shea Interaction Designer, Blink UX brian.oshea@blinkux.com
  4. 4. Who are you?
  5. 5. Group exercise

  6. 6. 
 
 One positive thing 
 you have seen from user research or usability testing in the past? 
 
 One concern, fear, or aggravation you have about user research or usability testing. One thing you’d like to get out of today’s workshop. 1 2 3
  7. 7. Some things we hope you walk away with today: • The skills to effectively integrate user research into the product development process with a strong return on investment. • How foundational user research can help product teams understand user goals, generate insights, and narrow focus. • How to use research to evaluate and iterate on product concepts. • How to validate design and product decisions to ready your product for launch. • Inspiration to do more user research on your own
  8. 8. Agenda • Product develop process and user research • Foundational research • Conceptual research • Evaluative research • Research ROI
  9. 9. Product Design and Development Process and User Research
  10. 10. GATE GATEGATEGATE GATE
  11. 11. Products do not appear out of thin air There is a “process” Decisions have to be made.
  12. 12. Business needs and goals Technical constraints and assets User/customer needs and behaviors
  13. 13. User Research: The Big Picture
  14. 14. Products do not appear out of thin air There is a “process” Decisions have to be made.
  15. 15. EVIDENCE KNOWLEDGE BASE
  16. 16. Foundational Conceptual Evaluative
  17. 17. Observational studies
 User interviews
 Contextual interviews
 Ethnographic research 
 Diary studies
 Competitive testing
 Card sorts
 Surveys
 Segmentation studies
 Concept evaluation Focus groups Participatory design RITE testing Usability Prototype testing UX heuristic reviews
 Eye tracking
 Remote testing
 Surveys
 A/B tests Analytics Foundational Concept Evaluative
  18. 18. Research Goal User-Centered Study Types How usable/learnable/satisfying is my new design? Usability testing (formative) How usable/learnable/satisfying is my existing product? Usability testing (evaluative) Who are my users and what do they need? Contextual interviews | observations | surveys What distinct user types am I designing for? Segmentation surveys | personas How well can people find things? How should I construct an information architecture? Card sort | tree test | usability testing What are my users’ workflows? Diary study | contextual interviews | observations How easily can people set up and use a product? Out of box experience (OOBE) study Which design works best? A/B testing (small or large scale) How easily can a larger sample of people perform 
 (easy-to-stage) tasks? Unmoderated remote usability testing
  19. 19. foundational research
  20. 20. generate insights based on: • user goals • user behaviors leads to a narrow focus
  21. 21. 28 User Interviews
  22. 22. Get the right participants • Number of participants • Key participant criteria • Demographics • Screening script • Participant grid 29
  23. 23. How difficult are your customers to find? General consumer OR Specialized domain 30
  24. 24. Current vs. potential customers/users 31 Avoid talking only to those close to you. Mo Riza flic.kr/p/7R7ED
  25. 25. http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/7-sins-of-user-research.html
  26. 26. The first rule of finding out what people want: Don’t ask people what they want. http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/7-sins-of-user-research.html
  27. 27. Interviewing Tips Seidman, I. (1998). Chapter six: Technique isn't everything, but it is a lot. Interviewing as qualitative research. New York, Teachers College Press: 63-78. • Listen more, talk less • Follow up on what participants say • Ask questions when you do not understand • Ask to hear more about a subject • Explore, don’t probe • Avoid leading questions • Ask open-ended questions • Take notes during the interview
  28. 28. Interviewing Tips Seidman, I. (1998). Chapter six: Technique isn't everything, but it is a lot. Interviewing as qualitative research. New York, Teachers College Press: 63-78. • Ask participants to tell a story • Do not take the ebb and flows of interviewing too personally • Share experiences on occasion • Tolerate silence • Avoid reinforcing participant responses • Have an interview guide but go off script • Keep participants focused and ask for concrete details
  29. 29. Co-creation exercises
  30. 30. Co-creation exercises help us understand study participant thinking, behavior
  31. 31. 38
  32. 32. Observational and Field Research
  33. 33. 40 “It’s real user research when you can smell what’s for dinner.” -John Dirks
  34. 34. Diary studies • Useful for capturing behaviors and activities over time • Can track technology adoption and use on discrete days to track changes in use and perception • Participatory data collection and artifact sharing possible • Provides understanding of user’s context without being there
  35. 35. Diary studies
  36. 36. Research Goal User-Centered Study Types How usable/learnable/satisfying is my new design? Usability testing (formative) How usable/learnable/satisfying is my existing product? Usability testing (evaluative) Who are my users and what do they need? Contextual interviews | observations | surveys What distinct user types am I designing for? Segmentation surveys | personas How well can people find things? How should I construct an information architecture? Card sort | tree test | usability testing What are my users’ workflows? Diary study | contextual interviews | observations How easily can people set up and use a product? Out of box experience (OOBE) study Which design works best? A/B testing (small or large scale) How easily can a larger sample of people perform 
 (easy-to-stage) tasks? Unmoderated remote usability testing
  37. 37. Group exercise

  38. 38. Today’s Scenario: FamilyTrip • Service for parents to discover, plan, and book their next family vacation. • Offers ideas about: • where to go • what to do when you get there • Helps parents book all of the aspects of their next adventure. 47
  39. 39. FamilyTrip • Uncertain about how voice assistants fit into FamilyTrip’s future. • What opportunity is there to develop a voice experience? 48
  40. 40. Foundational Research: FamilyTrip In small groups: • Assign roles: Participant, Moderator, Observer(s) • Moderator will ask participant about either: • last trip they planned (best if it was for a family). • experience with voice assistant. • Observer takes notes 49
  41. 41. Foundational Research: FamilyTrip Planning for research: • research objectives • questions • methods • participants • outcomes To narrow product direction 50
  42. 42. conceptual research
  43. 43. evaluate and iterate product concepts
  44. 44. Conceptual Research Concept Testing RITE Testing Understanding design intent Rendering design intent
  45. 45. Conceptual Research Interview and observe users using the design in some form Concept Testing RITE Testing
  46. 46. Concept Testing • Testing multiple concepts or open-ended ideas • Session guide with tasks and interview Example: 5 Participants Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 5 Participants Day 5 Design Recs Design Recs and Reporting Findings
  47. 47. Concept Testing Outcome: What aspects of design concepts are most promising • Results will be varying levels of certainty • Highly collaborative findings and recommendations discussions • Need to observe sessions to participate
  48. 48. 57 Teen Reactions to Concept AwesomeMeh. “Interesting” “Unique” “Different” “Useful” “Can see all angles” “Shows more details” “Good tool to have” “Cool” “Innovative” “Impressive” “More fun than GIF or video” “Very interesting” “Great for sharing” “Better than pictures” “Captures every aspect” “Complicated” “Long process” “Takes more time” “Too much space” “Not very necessary” “Looks weird in public”
  49. 49. RITE Testing Iterative sessions Session guide with tasks and interview Example: 3 Participants Design Revisions Day 1 Day 2 3 Participants Design Revisions Day 3 Day 4 3 Participants Design Revisions Day 5 Day 6
  50. 50. RITE Testing Outcome: How well a design concept is working • Iterative sessions makes data less comprehensive • Good for teams where stakeholders are involved in the design process • Design team needs to determine which pieces of evidence are worth taking action on
  51. 51. • Collaborate with teammates on findings • Write out granular findings from each participant on sticky notes • Build a data wall • Organize into themes and then collaboratively decide on any design revisions needed (even if they are high level for the time being). Findings
  52. 52. 62 Group exercise

  53. 53. FamilyTrip Two concepts for how to leverage a voice assistant. 1. Trip planning assistant Alexa skill 2. Interactive city tour guide 63
  54. 54. Conceputal Research: FamilyTrip In small groups, generate sample research brief: • research objectives • questions • methods • participants • outcomes That will help you decide which path to take. 64
  55. 55. evaluative research
  56. 56. validate design and product decisions get ready for launch
  57. 57. Conceptual to Evaluative Earlier Later Concept Testing RITE Testing Usability Testing Directional Specific Adaptable Rigorous
  58. 58. Usability Testing Same design in all sessions Session guide with tasks and interview Example: 5 Participants Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 5 Participants Day 5 Reporting Design RecsFindings
  59. 59. Usability Testing Outcome: How to improve the design • A sample of 8-10 participants can yield qualitative findings and recommendations • Good for teams who need specific answers on a design’s performance • Formal reporting • Great for external stakeholders
  60. 60. Usability Testing Common Components • Screener • Session Guide • Design Artifacts, Prototypes, or Applications • Test Sessions • Findings and Recommendations
  61. 61. Session Guide Purpose: Create a testing plan that answers research questions • Objectives • Research questions • Pre-interview • Tasks • Post-interview
  62. 62. Design Artifact Purpose: Create test stimuli • Prototypes • Content • Information architecture • Visual design
  63. 63. Test Sessions Purpose: Collect data • Consistent protocol • Not leading the participant • Listen, observe and follow up to get more information
  64. 64. Finding and Recommendations Purpose: Connect the findings to the design • Answers to research questions • Prioritized findings • Directional to specific recommendations • Positive, neutral and negative findings
  65. 65. Issues are characterized by severity and scope Introduces inefficiencies 
 Interferes with performing tasks quickly and easily. Causes task difficulty 
 Users can probably perform the task, but not without difficulty. Risk of task failure 
 At least some users will not be able to perform the task successfully. Positive experience 
 Strengths of the design that contribute to a positive user experience. Low Few Participants (1 – 6) Medium Several Participants (7 – 12) High Almost All Participants (13 – 18)
  66. 66. Scorecards
  67. 67. Discount Usability Sessions
  68. 68. • Select a focal point such as one new feature • Don’t demo this particular feature: test it with 2-3 people instead! • Write up a short (1 pg) test plan that includes: -Research questions -Representative tasks with the feature Turning part of a demo into a usability session
  69. 69. • Identify and recruit participants: – Actual users are best – Proxies will do in a pinch: peers for hallway testing, spouses, stakeholders, etc. • Let them know they are doing you a favor and that you want to see how well the system works without instruction – Do not refer to this as a “user test” in front of them! – Give them tasks (verbally, one by one, or on paper if complex) – Ask them to think aloud as they work – Observe and take notes (or ask a partner to take notes) Conducting the usability session
  70. 70. Research Goal User-Centered Study Types How usable/learnable/satisfying is my new design? Usability testing (formative) How usable/learnable/satisfying is my existing product? Usability testing (evaluative) Who are my users and what do they need? Contextual interviews | observations | surveys What distinct user types am I designing for? Segmentation surveys | personas How well can people find things? How should I construct an information architecture? Card sort | tree test | usability testing What are my users’ workflows? Diary study | contextual interviews | observations How easily can people set up and use a product? Out of box experience (OOBE) study Which design works best? A/B testing (small or large scale) How easily can a larger sample of people perform 
 (easy-to-stage) tasks? Unmoderated remote usability testing
  71. 71. 82 Group exercise

  72. 72. FamilyTrip Working prototype of an interactive city tour guide 83
  73. 73. Evaluative Research: FamilyTrip In small groups, generate sample research brief: • research objectives • questions • methods • participants • outcomes To finalize the product for launch. 84
  74. 74. User Research ROI
  75. 75. x100 Post release multiplier $1 to fix a problem during design costs $100 to fix it after the release. Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach, Robert Pressman
  76. 76. 50% Avoidable work 50% of development time during IT projects is spent doing avoidable work. Dr. Susan Weinschenk, The ROI of User Experience
  77. 77. $2.5M Training savings As a result of usability improvements at AT&T, the company saved $2,500,000 in training expenses. Human Factors International ROI Whitepaper
  78. 78. 5 # of participants that find 80% of issues Nielsen Normal Group
  79. 79. thanks! blink.com
  80. 80. 91 Appendix: Additional Tips and Tricks
  81. 81. Applied research borrows ideas and techniques from pure research to serve a specific real-world goal, such as creating a supersoldier or improving the quality of hospital care or finding new ways to market pork-flavored soda. While ethics are just as important, methods can be more relaxed…The research is successful to the extent that it contributes to the stated goal. -Erica Hall
  82. 82. 93 Ingredients for successful UX research 1. Find the right people to observe or interact with 2. Ask them the right questions 3. Observe them doing things that inform the design solution or problem space
  83. 83. 94 User Interviews without Bias minimal
  84. 84. Three areas of potential bias: • Interviewer bias • Participant bias • Bias resulting from interview setting
  85. 85. Interviewer Bias Confirmation bias Researcher forms a hypothesis or belief and uses respondents’ information to confirm that belief. Culture bias Interpreting and judging based on standards inherent in one's own culture.  The halo effect Tendency to see something or someone in a certain light because of a single attribute.
  86. 86. Participant Bias Observer effect 
 (Hawthorne effect) When people know they’re being observed they tend to exhibit slightly different behavior than normal. Social desirability People generally tell you what they think you want to hear; less likely to say disparaging things about other people and products. Recency effect, 
 Primacy effect Last things seen or first things seen influence impressions.
  87. 87. Biases from Interview Settings Telling vs. showing Settings were people can only self-report instead of being observed are prone to many biases. Fake context Even carefully-created usability lab or field testing setups are artificial; be mindful of what is contrived or missing. Social influences Be careful of potential biases resulting from conducting interviews in front of managers, supervisors, co-workers, or even friends or other family members.
  88. 88. Conducting non-biased interviews
  89. 89. Establishing a good interview setting • As close as possible to context of use • Try to engage where participants are likely to be most comfortable and express honest opinions • Know cultural norms (e.g., if men do not typically meet with women alone, do not create that situation in an interview setting) • Avoid awkward or biasing power dynamics (e.g., interviewing NGO staff member along with their country director). • Consider pros/cons of recording interview and always get consent! 100
  90. 90. Listen First • Listen more, talk less • Tolerate silence • Be empathetic • Follow up, but don’t interrupt or correct
  91. 91. Explore Depth • Follow up on what the participant says • Keep participants focused and ask for concrete details • Ask questions when you do not understand
  92. 92. Keep it Open • Ask participants to tell a story • Ask to hear more about a subject • Ask open-ended questions (prevent yes/no answers) • Use an interview guide, but feel free to go off script
  93. 93. Level of Involvement • Share experiences on occasion, but don’t make it all about you • Do not take the ebb and flows of interviewing too personally • Follow your hunches
  94. 94. Do Not Guide • Avoid leading questions • Avoid reinforcing your participants’ responses Musée McCord Museum
  95. 95. Examples of Leading Questions Leading question Non-leading phrasing This is our video upload page. Is it clear that this page is for uploading video? Tell me what you would use this page for. Do you think this screen is easy to navigate? What are some of your impressions about this screen? (Better yet: what would you do here?) Who do you typically call when you experience a hardware glitch? Think about the last time you experienced a hardware glitch. What did you do? (Later…is that typical for you?) 106
  96. 96. • Brief description and goal of the interview (to share with participant). • Any basic or factual questions needed (name, job title, role in organization, age, etc.). • Icebreaker or warm-up questions. • List of questions or topics that are primary focus of the interview. Prepare an Interview Guide
  97. 97. Take notes! • Don’t trust important things to memory, or biases will easily creep in. • Preferably take notes during the interview • If not during, then immediately afterward

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