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User Research War Stories

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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.

Published in: Design
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User Research War Stories

  1. 1. 1 Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries User Research War Stories Steve Portigal @steveportigal
  2. 2. 2 It’s All Going To Burn
  3. 3. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Sameer Chavan Connecting Through War Stories
  4. 4. ‹#› Portigal 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. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style www.portigal.com/ category/series/ warstories
  6. 6. ‹#› Portigal 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. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Survivorship Bias
  8. 8. 8 Cracking the Code
  9. 9. 9 Footloose David Hoard "Typical Japanese Entryway" (CC BY 2.0) by Debs (ò‿ó)♪
  10. 10. 10 Prepare for the experience of the interview Consider your assumption about the environment Be present in your surroundings Include the rich data from the environment Learn from your mistakes
  11. 11. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Control is an Illusion
  12. 12. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleThey Call Me Mister Elaine Fukuda touchtons.wordpress.com
  13. 13. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style It's okay to walk away Call a timeout Use the breaks you are given The unexpected can reveal new truths Improvise
  14. 14. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Judging and Learning
  15. 15. Portigal To Research Is To Be Human
  16. 16. Portigal “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Brené Brown, Rising Strong
  17. 17. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  18. 18. ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Thank you! @steveportigal www.portigal.com

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