How to run a live UX lab at a tradeshow


Published on

A case study of running a live UX lab at a tradeshow. Rather than running product demos on our stand, we decided to try something different!

Taking inspiration from Lean Startup and The Nordstrum Innovation Lab case study, we came up with the 'Live Lab' concept. We developed a prototype for a new tool, for source controlling database schemas, in 3 days at an Oracle Developer conference in Texas.

On the stand I ran UX feedback sessions using a paper prototype, collected customer feedback and made changes to the prototype on the fly. I then fed back to the developer who was working on an HTML version of the prototype.

We ran 9 mini 'sprints' and had a kanban board to track our development progress throughout the conference.

This was a great way to get early feedback from customers on a product design concept. In the slides I share some lessons learned.

Published in: Technology, Business
1 Comment
  • Really interesting report, Michele. Thanks for sharing it. I liked the associated article on the Oracle blog, too (for which I don't have the link right now).

    It's an interesting point about early feedback vs actual usability testing. I've thought (and written a bit - about usability testing at (scientific) conferences. I'm not sure much of that has actually happened - they're generally a lot less noisy and crazy than tradeshows, so it might be possible. I'll want to bear your experience in mind, though.

    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

How to run a live UX lab at a tradeshow

  1. 1. Michele Ide-Smith, User Experience Specialist
  2. 2. A bit about Red Gate• Tools for database developers, software developers and database administrators (DBAs)• Use Agile / Lean Startup methods• UX team of 15, with senior management support for UX as a function• “Ingeniously simple tools”
  3. 3. A typical tradeshow…Demoing tools, selling to customers…
  4. 4. ‚By the time the product is ready to be distributedwidely, it will already have establishedcustomers.‛The Lean Startup
  5. 5. ‚We wanted to make sure we were gettingcustomer feedback as we worked so that wewere never working on anything that wasn’tvalued by the customer.‛Nordstrom Innovation Lab: Sunglasses iPadApp Case Study
  6. 6. ‚Create meaningful connections – marketing thatcustomers choose to engage with.‛The Next Evolution of Marketing: Marketingwith Meaning
  7. 7. Our hypothesis• Oracle Developers & DBAs need a better way to get their database schemas into source control >70% interest – develop a tool a.s.a.p.
  8. 8. Reaching potential customers• Kscope12, the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) annual conference, June 24 – 28 in Texas• Attracts mainly devs and DBAs, but also managers• An opportunity to test our hypothesis, get feedback and create meaningful connections with customers
  9. 9. UX feedback area Dev area 9 (mini) sprints, 3 days, 1 prototype
  10. 10. 25 feedback sessions* Not usability tests! *
  11. 11. Paper prototypingEasy to get feedback and quick to change
  12. 12. Empathy MapHelped build personas and a talking point!
  13. 13. Affinity MappingPeople returned to see the feedback we had gathered!
  14. 14. Sketching processes and workflows A great way to identify pain points and create scenarios
  15. 15. Gathering data on environments Validation of our survey results
  16. 16. Stand-up meetingsBe prepared to be interrupted
  17. 17. The Dev part of the standFeedback went directly into the HTML version
  18. 18. HTML prototypeTwitter’s bootstrap is awesome!
  19. 19. Testing the prototypeOn day 3 we tested the HTML version
  20. 20. Lessons learned• Great for feedback on early designs, not usability testing• Paper prototyping is compelling and ideal for ‘on the fly’ changes during feedback sessions• If possible have someone doing design and someone facilitating feedback sessions (I had limited design time)• Capture participant profile details and relate them to requirements / feedback gathered
  21. 21. Lessons learned• Affinity mapping was ideal for on-going analysis• Keep a note of repeat requirements / issues, to help prioritise features and design changes• Hard to record audio / video of feedback sessions – awkward to ask for consent and very noisy environment• Hard to keep to scheduled sprints and provide feedback to developers
  22. 22. Lessons learned• The whole team needs to be on board and wear multiple hats (be prepared to do product demos, interviews etc.)• A Live Lab is a great way of engaging with customers at a tradeshow• The UX team is a powerful marketing asset• Don’t expect time for coffee breaks!
  23. 23. Questions?
  24. 24. References• Lean Startup:• Nordstrum Innovation Lab:• The Next Evolution of Marketing:• Pawson & Greenburg (2009), Extremely Rapid Usability Testing:• Our product page:• Our blog: