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Research-Driven Design


   Jackson Fox | UX Designer | jacksonfox@gmail.com
             DC Design Talks | 2/29/2008
What is research-driven
        design?
Research is all about
     observation
    of the user...
...so research-driven
design is grounded in
  the user’s reality...
...because we want to
 give people what they
need, which isn’t always
     what they want.
Research-    Theory-Driven   Data-Driven
Driven Design    Design         Design

 Empirical    Derived from       Web
observation      theory        analytics
It’s all the same thing
          really
Back in the
olden days...




         (in the fifties actually)
Intuition
   vs.
Research
Our theoretical heritage

> Cognitive Psychology
> Experimental Psychology
Welcome our new social
   science overlords
> Sociology
> Social Psychology
> Anthropology
> even... Marketing
We observe the user...
> Usability Testing    > Card Sorting
> User Observation     > Analytics
> Contextual Inquiry   > Focus Groups
> Interviews           > Etc...
> Surveys
Then we analyze the data...
 And we draw conclusions
AKA, the “Wheel of
     Science”
                    Theory




   Observation                    Hypothesis




                 Generalization
Good Times
More trouble than it’s worth
Research is only as
   much effort as you
        make it

 In science we talk about “experimental
design” — choosing the right methods and
            the right samples
Crushes the creative spirit
Research informs design,
  it doesn’t replace it


  We use user research to ground
   our efforts in reality, and to
       validate our choices
Not really scientific at all
Quantitative      Qualitative
      Counts and      Qualities and
       measures      characteristics
      Objective        Subjective

Neither is more “scientific” than the other
What is “good” research?
> Randomization   > Implementation

> Control         > Analysis

> Reliability     > Interpretation

> Validity
In fact, it’s all just
  common sense
Actually, that’s not
     always a bad thing


Just because the results are “common sense”
   doesn’t mean that the effort is wasted
In fact, many times we
want the results to be
     common sense
One last thing...
E-Z Design Research
                  TM
Someone else has done
 a lot of work, and we
        get use it
Design
                     Papers             Books
 Guidelines
                                    Prioritizing Web
 Usability.gov         SURL             Usability

NN/g, UIE, Etc...   ACM SIG-CHI   Designing Interfaces




  But! Be critical of the research you see. Ask
          yourself if it’s good science.
1. Research-driven
design grounds us in
       reality
2. Don’t be afraid of the
   touchy-feely stuff
3. If something is worth
 doing, it’s worth doing
           right
   ...and design research is worth it!
Thanks!
     Jackson Fox
UX Designer, Lulu.com
jacksonfox@gmail.com
DC Design Talks
   February 29, 2008
Yay!

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Research Driven Design