Stories make the world go round. As people who do user research, we love stories. At its simplest, our job is to gather stories and to retell them. War stories about contextual user research and the inevitable mishaps that ensue are in turn bizarre, comic, tragic, and generally astonishing.
Drawing from years spent gathering war stories and his book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries, Steve Portigal shares some of the best stories he’s collected, examining the patterns and lessons they reveal.
Steve’s collection of stories fills a longstanding need for the design and research community: sharing what can go wrong in the real world. For a practice that is not 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.