DIY User Research (LondonBarCamp3)


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a rough and ready guide to doing your own user research (without once saying 'it depends')

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DIY User Research (LondonBarCamp3)

  1. DIY User Research how to make stuff people want to use leisa reichelt LondonBarcamp3 - November 07
  2. disclaimer: usually the answer is ‘it depends’ but that’s not v useful, so these are some lines in the sand that have proven useful to me when DIY/guerrilla research is required.
  3. why do user research?
  4. 100x After Launch Cost of making changes 6x 1x During During Development Design r.s pressman, ‘software engineering, a practitioners approach’ mcgraw-hill
  5. ‘we tend to project our own rationalisations and beliefs onto the actions and beliefs of others’ don norman - the design of everyday things
  6. ‘to design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. self reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behaviour’ jakob nielsen
  7. user research helps you uncover, understand and design for real user requirements
  8. if your users are *really* just like you (e.g. 37 Signals) or you’ve designed for this user group successfully before and you already know them, you may not need to research. if you find yourself using stereotypes and/or cliches... or using family members as examples, you probably need to research.
  9. when (in a project) to conduct research
  10. the BEST use of research time/budget is to test > PROPOSITION, > CONCEPT, > MESSAGING and > HIGH LEVEL I.A. whilst gathering USER GROUP insight using a low fidelity prototype.
  11. use as much and whatever prototype you can. paper is fine. wireframes also fine somewhat interactive. fine. don’t spend too much time on design or build before you research.
  12. types of research
  13. there are lots of different ways to research quantitative (e.g. surveys.) qualitative (e.g. interviews, card sort) ethnographic (‘user stalking’) longitudinal (continues over time) contextual (in the context of use) lab based (semi contextual if possible) ... and more
  14. your best standard research approach will be a series of 45min interviews with 6-8 participants. ... but think about: - what you’re trying to learn - how you could make it as contextual as possible ...don’t be afraid of getting a bit creative
  15. DIY user research
  16. > recruit via family & friends network > six is enough (as long as they’re the right six) > *bucks is just fine > record your research (audio/video) > take time to analyse your findings
  17. affinity sorting is the fastest way to get the most understanding from your research it.
  18. timing: allow a few days to recruit, a day or two to interview, and a couple of days to analyse findings. DIY research is fast.
  19. How to interview
  20. > introduce the session (esp. inform and ask permission re: recording) > good rapport = good research (take time to make it clear you care about their opinion) > don’t tell them you’re the designer (they’ll not want to hurt your feelings, they want to please) > it’s not a test (if anything is being tested, it’s the design - NOT the participant) > only *their* opinion counts (we don’t care about what other people might think or do)
  21. > define your research questions > plan & practice the ‘script’ > start as wide as possible, narrow slowly > keep it contextual, not speculative > show, don’t tell (observation = good) (show me how you do that?) > uncover mental models (if you clicked there, what do you think would happen?) > ask OPEN questions (ask questions to get them talking NOT yes/no answers) > take care not to lead (you can have leading questions AND leading structures) > never leave them hanging (if they’re struggling, save them)
  22. Questions?