Why You Should Conduct User Research


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User research refers to a variety of techniques to capture user feedback about technology often via in-depth qualitative sessions. A lack of knowledge about the value of user research can bring about some reluctance to spend time and budget on these initiatives and may lead to a fear that the research findings will increase the scope of the project.

Based on Cory's experiences and lessons learned, this presentation is a "cheat sheet" of things that product managers, product marketing managers and other stakeholders should practice to understand the user behavior.

About the speaker:
Cory Lebson (@corylebson) has been a user experience consultant for 20 years. He is the Principal and Owner of Lebsontech LLC, a successful user experience consulting firm he established in 1997. His core client base has included a number of Federal government, commercial, non-profit, and educational organizations. Lebsontech is focused primarily on user research, user experience strategy and associated training. Cory is also the president of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) International and was previously the president of the UXPA DC chapter. He has been featured on the radio and has published several recent articles. Cory has an MBA in marketing and technology management, as well as an MA in sociology and a BS in psychology.

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Why You Should Conduct User Research

  1. 1. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com AIPMM Webinar Series www.aipmm.com
  2. 2. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com
  3. 3. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com Follow: @AIPMM @CoryLebson @hmdelcastillo Use: #AIPMM #ProdBOK Tweet!
  4. 4. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com Participate and Win! Must be present to win! One lucky winner will get a free copy of the Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK®)
  5. 5. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com Moderator: Hector Del Castillo, CPM, CPMM @hmdelcastillo Today’s Speaker Presenter: Cory Lebson Principal User Experience Consultant Lebsontech LLC @CoryLebson cory@lebsontech.com www.lebsontech.com
  6. 6. Why You Should Conduct User Research
  7. 7. What is your current job title? • Product management or product marketing • Business analyst • Developer/Engineer • Project manager • Other 7
  8. 8. Your likely starting point… 8 Update Existing Create from Scratch
  9. 9. Your next steps… 9 Gather requirements from stakeholder/supervisor Document requirements, technology considerations, get approval Start
  10. 10. What might be missing? 10 What is going to make the user experience better? Are we designing what users want?
  11. 11. UX Strategy • We have a user experience (UX) strategy. – Why are we taking this path? – For whom? How are we helping them? • Frame & articulate! • Validate! 11
  12. 12. Users • It’s not stakeholders. • It’s not everyone. • So who are they? Specifically. 12
  13. 13. 13 The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. (ISO 9241-11) Our Goal: Good usability • Effectiveness • Efficiency • Satisfaction
  14. 14. Today • Landscape of qualitative user research – You or your team can do it. – You can outsource. – You can advocate. 14
  15. 15. What kinds of user research have you been involved in before (if any)? Check all that apply. • Focus groups • Usability testing • User surveys and interviews • Ethnographic research • Something else 15
  16. 16. Focus Groups: Assessment of Strategy • Good for getting opinions, attitudes, desires, brainstorming – early on in the process. 16 Disaster Survivors What kinds of mobile resources would improve the experience of survivors in the future?
  17. 17. Focus Group: Assessment of Usability? What kind of real-world usage are we expecting? 17
  18. 18. Planning for the focus group: Users • What do we want to know and who is going to be able to help us learn? • Who are we going to recruit? (Screen candidates) • Are you going to pay? How much? 18
  19. 19. User Interviews & Ethnographic Research 19
  20. 20. User Interviews To Mobile Banking Customers: Please tell me how you use your mobile device to pay for products and services. • Talk with the users or those who could be users. • Develop a structured script for the interview portion • Conversation can include: – Current usage – Existing workflow – Expectations and opinions
  21. 21. Ethnographic Component • Anthropological • Place of real-world usage. • Generally comes first, perhaps with current system by users • Watch as they use naturally • Useful when focus is on existing users with new system • Or maybe website doesn’t exist and we want to understand real workflow 21
  22. 22. Usability Testing 22
  23. 23. You’ve got something to show. • Existing web or mobile resource • Screenshots • Wireframes • Low fidelity or high fidelity prototype • Something new. 23 When?
  24. 24. Usability Testing: What is it? • One-on-one, in-depth with the “right” participants • Usually task-based, mirroring real-life as much as possible • Assessment – Findability & identification – Readability & Comprehension – Functionality 24
  25. 25. Planning for the usability test: Participants • Find participants that should understand your content. – Actual or representative users? • Payment? 25
  26. 26. Go Anywhere • Rented local space • Event or conference • In the office 26
  27. 27. This isn’t quantitative!
  28. 28. Typical Timeline • In 2-3 weeks: – Create a screener. – Identify users – Create a test plan • In 2-3 days: – Run sessions • In 1 hour – 2 weeks – Report on findings 28
  29. 29. Your mission • Make sure that user research is included in web/mobile development cycle. 29
  30. 30. This can all be found at… 30 Lebson, Cory. "Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of User Research" Intercom Magazine (October 2012.)
  31. 31. Get buy-in: Lessons learned 31
  32. 32. Get research into the project timeline. • Who’s drafting a project time line? • Work with them to include UX. 32
  33. 33. Create advocates Share the passion with those directly responsible. 33
  34. 34. Small now; big later • Get agreement on something small first. • You can expand upon it when you’re done. 34
  35. 35. Justify funds by repeating what you did. • Get a budget for one small project. • Refer to that budget and expand slightly next time. • Repeat 35
  36. 36. Make it the mindset. • Believing is seeing – create expectations. 36
  37. 37. Involve stakeholders – a lot! • Push them to observe and provide feedback • Feedback is retained when the stakeholder gives the feedback. 37
  38. 38. “My team will be told to start from scratch.” • Good UX means be willing to tweak, not scrap. • At least go for the low-hanging fruit. • Big rewrites can be saved for a future release. 38
  39. 39. Get direct content owner involvement • Get direct “owner” involvement from the start – don’t just give them a report and hope for the best. • Go through reports with “owners” issue by issue. • Create a spreadsheet of findings and provide this along with a report. 39
  40. 40. Does your employer currently offer regular training courses? • Yes • No • Not sure 40
  41. 41. Create a training program 41
  42. 42. Start small 42
  43. 43. Focus on take-away knowledge not theory 43 Here’s the stuff that you really need to know about UX.
  44. 44. Have fun and others will too. • Fun = promotion 44
  45. 45. Don’t try to squeeze everything in. • A relaxed sampling can go a lot further. 45
  46. 46. Stay in touch! 47 Invitation to connect on…
  47. 47. © 2014 AIPMM www.aipmm.com Moderator: Hector Del Castillo, CPM, CPMM @hmdelcastillo Q & A Presenter: Cory Lebson Principal User Experience Consultant Lebsontech LLC @CoryLebson cory@lebsontech.com www.lebsontech.com
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