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UX Field Research Basics
David Farkas
UXCamp, February 2017
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Who is this guy?
Philadelphia Based UX
EPAM
@dafark8
Co-Author of UX Research
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Today’s Plan
Section 1
Planning & Preparation
Section 2
Out in the Field
Section 3
Finding the Patterns
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Section 1
Planning & Preparation
Once I have a well-defined question,
it’s simple to identify which information
resources will best answer it, and then
collect, merge, and analyze them to
answer the question.
- Matt Wakeman
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
1. Validates initial assumptions and existing research
2. Ensures you cover all necessary topics
3. Helps session flow smoothly
Why Plan?
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Workproducts
Tools of the Trade
In reporting research results, the
two most important words are
“So what?”.
- Dan Brown
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Test Plan
• Project Background
• Overall purpose
• Determine Methodologies
• Communicate Outcomes
Template: http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-
tools/resources/templates/ux-study-overview-
template.html
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Recruitment Screener
• Guided Survey
• User Profile Breakdown
• Demographics
• Behaviors
• Scheduling
Source: http://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-
tools/resources/templates/usability-test-
screener-website-example-1.html
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Interview Guide
• Opening script
• Contextual sections
• Goal Based questions
• Align with project goals
• Challenge assumptions
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Introduction Packet
• Pre-introduce yourself
• Provide your background
• Provide key contact
information
• Include your picture
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Travel Logistics
• Map out routes
• Estimate travel time
• On the Road
• Within Offices
• Plan breaks and meals
• Avoid over-scheduling
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Team Instructions
• Avoid asking questions
• Opportunity to ask question
• Control non-verbal reactions
• Stay focussed
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Notes Worksheet
• Key for multiple research
teams
• Aids in synthesis and analysis
• Eases on boarding of support/
additional team members
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Asking Good Questions
The hardest part of the job
The hard part is translating our
big research questions into good
interview questions.
- Colin MacArthur
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
A good question seeks to explore the
unknown in a targeted and guided way,
while putting the participant at ease to
open up and provide feedback you might
not have expected or anticipated.
Good Questions, Defined
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Structure of a Question
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Trademarks of a Question
Good Questions Are:
• Open-ended
• Balance specificity
• Flow naturally
Bad Questions Are:
• Leading
• Shallow
• Personal or
unconscious bias
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Recruitment
Finding the Right People
Without (recruiting) and the users
it brings, all other parts of
designing a product or service fall
back on the team’s assumptions.
- Jeremy Canfield
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Self-Recruiting
• Cold Calls
• Live Recruiting
• Email Blasts
• Screening
• Surveys
• Friends & Family
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Outsourcing Recruiting
• Market Research Firms
• Online User Groups
• Client Recruiting
• Online Testing Tools
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Logistics
Managing Your Day
“If you approach the problem
incorrectly or without mindful
thought, then your entire solution
may be false - or at best ineffective.
- Ron Strawbridge
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Logistics - An Overview
• Travel Time
• Office or Cities
• Building Access
• Dress Code
• Workspace
• Office or Coffee Shop
• Technology is not your friend
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Tech Checks
• Testing technology before
each session
• Checklists:
• Start of day
• Start of session
• End of session
• End of day
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Managing Documents
• Consent Forms
• Honorariums
• Discussion Guides
• Notes Forms
• Recordings
• Photos and Images
• Storage!
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Dry Runs
• Perfect Practice Prevents Piss
Poor Performance
• Practice
• Practice
• Practice
• then practice one more time
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1979.html
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Section 2
Facilitating Research
As a UX researcher, it’s
imperative to remain neutral
and unbiased.
- Kyle Soucy
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Introductions & Warming Up
“Hi, my name is…”
• Set a friendly tone
• Break down barriers
• Establish trust
• Humanize yourself & your
team
• The art of small talk
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Managing Flow
• Start easy
• Build to complexity
• Know when to back off
• Know when to push further
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Improvisation in Research
• Build off feedback
• Support your players
• The participant is the star
• Failure is OK
• Build off experiences and
have an open mind
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Body Language
• Verbal signs
• Non-verbal signs
• Facial expressions
• Body language is a two-way
street
• Mirroring
• How are you perceived?
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Energy Levels
• Treat every session as your
first
• Change roles
• Don’t over schedule
• Take breaks
• Coffee (all the coffee)
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Debrief Sessions
• Daily debrief sessions
• Team sessions
• Client sessions
• In person
• Remote
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Section 3
Analysis & Reporting
The real key to unlocking
game-changing opportunities
for growth is to deeply
understand the people you are
looking to serve.
- Ofer Deshe
“
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Consolidate Data
• Define your data points
• Gather all notes & transcripts
• Identify key data points
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Find Your Story
• Who is your audience?
• What do you want to achieve?
• What should you use to
communicate that goal?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/25672123376/in/album-
72157665621011091/
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
What Story Do You Tell?
• Business strategy
• Product roadmap
• Discoveries & opportunities
• Identify additional research
• Identify knowledge gaps
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
What We Covered
Section 1
Planning & Preparation
Section 2
Out in the Field
Section 3
Finding the Patterns
#PracticalResearch @dafark8
Thank You!
Now Available!
David Farkas @dafark8
Brad Nunnally @bnunnally

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