2. First, and for just a few moments, let’s
remove ‘research’ from its’ pedestal.
Let’s not worry about what it means, what it’s good for, or who ‘does it’.
For some of you this will be diﬃcult.
We’ll put it back on the pedestal when we’re through.
3. Our goal is never ‘research’, but rather a
stronger understanding of how people
use the things we make for them.
That means asking questions designed to help us know more than we
otherwise would. Nothing more.
12. User surveys
Be careful of this: Now that you’ve got mounds of data,
resist the urge to start looking for truth in it.
13. Experience gap analysis
What it is: the diﬀerence between the ways in which you
and your users perceive the events that comprise a
14. Experience gap analysis
Why it’s useful: identifying hurdles to adoption, spots
where interactions fail, or inputs to experience design. It
can be useful both in the initial design process of a
product or service, and also in iterating existing products
15. Experience gap analysis
Try this: write down all of the steps involved in using
your product. Include the things that happen immediately
before use, and immediately following. Begin each step
with a verb. Then, ask ten users to do the same. The
dissonance (and, by extension, the opportunity) lies in
both the gaps in sequence and the verbs they use.
16. Experience gap analysis
Be careful of this: Resist the urge to allow this to become
about the ways people navigate your app or experience.
Make it about what people do before, during and after a
Why it’s useful: a better picture of the user’s lives helps
us build things that live inside of them, rather than asking
them to bend routines to the things we make. It’s also
great for uncovering ancillary information and nuances
that people are loathe to reveal in-person.
Try this: Print a sticker with a shot list on 10 disposable
cameras. Hand one to ten people who ﬁt the proﬁle of your
most important user, and ask them to adhere carefully to
20. 1. The last thing I do at night
2. Where I charge my phone
3. Something I do for fun
4. My favorite place
5. Where i use [it]
6. Me, immediately after using [it]
7. Me, using [it]
8. The contents of my bag
9. An analog device that I love
10. Me, looking at [the data]
11. Where I store my phone
12. Something I do alone
13. Where I relax
14. Where I use [it] (again)
15. Me, using [it] (again)
16. First thing I do in the morning
17. An electronic device that I love
18. My desk
19. Something I do every week
20.Where I use my computer
21. Where I use [it] (again)
22.Me, using [it] (again)
23. Inside of my refrigerator
24.The people I live with
25. Something I do every day
26. Where I live
27. What [it] looks like
Try this: Give users a notebook with a handful of
questions printed inside. Ask them to ﬁll it out over a brief
period while using a product or experience — either yours
or a competitors.
25. 1. Tell us about the setup process.
2. What are your thoughts and
reactions after using the system
for the ﬁrst time?
3. Draw a picture or diagram that
explains why the system you’re
using is unique.
4. Are you having fun with this?
5. Has the system changed your
routine in any tangible ways?
6. Share something that you’ve
learned about yourself in the
process of using this.
7. What makes this useful to you. Is
it as useful as you had expected?
8. How would you make this system
9. Describe this system to someone
10. General notes and observations
Try this: Ask people to give you a non-identifying
screenshot inventory of their mobile phones, laptop
computer desktop, wallet, or book bag — whatever they
might have with them when they would, ideally, use your
product or service.
33. User deep dive
Try this: People leave vapor trails.
Pick ﬁve people from your survey responses who ﬁt the
proﬁle of your most important user, and go deep on them.
Search on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, message
boards — anywhere they might be found.
34. User deep dive
Be careful of this: respect people’s presumption of
privacy, even in public channels.
35. To recap:
Go forth in search of insights, not truth.
Don’t fall in love with a single response or respondent.
The best stuﬀ is usually the small stuﬀ.
Profound respect for your subjects leads to profound
respect for your users.