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Learning from User Research War Stories

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Stories make the world go round. As researchers, we love stories, and essentially it's our job to gather stories and to retell them. War Stories are stories about contextual user research and the inevitable mishaps that ensue are in turn bizarre, comic, tragic, and generally astonishing.
Steve will share some of the best stories from his book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries, examining the patterns and lessons they reveal. For a practice that isn’t always well understood or trusted, there’s pressure to only speak to the successes. But examining the human messiness of this work can help develop our skills and our community. Steve’s collection of stories fills a longstanding need for the design and research community—sharing what can go wrong in the real world.

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Learning from User Research War Stories

  1. 1. 1 User Research War Stories Steve Portigal @steveportigal
  2. 2. 2 It’s All Going To Burn
  3. 3. Click to edit Master title style Sameer Chavan Connecting Through War Stories
  4. 4. Click to edit Master title style“We’re wired for story. In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there’s a surprisingly simple reason we want to own, integrate, and share our stories of struggle. We do this because we feel the most alive when we’re connecting with others and being brave with our stories.” Brené Brown, Rising Strong
  5. 5. Click to edit Master title style www.portigal.com/ category/series/ warstories
  6. 6. Click to edit Master title styleDoorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries rosenfeldmedia.com/books/user-research-war-stories/ Interviews with in-house user research leaders portigal.com/podcast/ Interviewing Users rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/
  7. 7. Click to edit Master title style Survivorship Bias
  8. 8. 8 To Live Outside The Law… …You Must Be Honest
  9. 9. 9 and the Banana Thief Steve Hopson, www.stevehopson.com The Researcher Lena Blackstock
  10. 10. 10 Andrew Muir Wood Alejandro Escamilla
  11. 11. 11 Facing Ethical Challenges Identify where your obligations lie Ethics are a conversation, not a specification Build a support network
  12. 12. 12 Can’t Stop The Feeling
  13. 13. 13 A Sigh Is Just a Sigh Susan Simon Daniels "Sigh" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by TMAB2003
  14. 14. 14 Coping with Emotions in the Field You can’t choose how you feel, but you do choose how to act Listening is supporting Emotion isn’t a bad thing Prepare to be triggered
  15. 15. 15 Coping with Emotions in the Field Give your emotions an opportunity to surface We meet people wherever they are at Your research objective is not how your participant thinks about the interview
  16. 16. Click to edit Master title style Judging and Learning
  17. 17. Portigal To Research Is To Be Human
  18. 18. Portigal
  19. 19. Portigal Thank you! @steveportigal www.portigal.com

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