User Research for the Web and Applications


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Update of a talk originally given as a Skillshare workshop. Given at BioRaft Drupal Nights in summer 2013, and to be given at UX Boston in September 2013.

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User Research for the Web and Applications

  1. 1. USER RESEARCH For the Web and Applications Dani Nordin :: @danigrrl ::
  2. 2. Dani Nordin founder,thezenkitchen • UX Designer, teacher and author • Work with Drupal teams to envision, prototype and test new functionality and make sense of complex content models. • Author, Drupal for Designers (O’Reilly, 2011/2012) Contact @danigrrl
  3. 3. What happens during the UX phase • Get an understanding of the site’s target users • Map out how users will flow through specific key tasks, and what information needs to be there to support them • Find out what content exists for the current site, what needs to be created, and how the content will be organized • Come up with a set of assumptions and standards that will govern the project as you move forward
  4. 4. USER INTERVIEWS AND CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY Learn more about the real people who will be interacting with your project
  5. 5. User interviews: Why? • Helps separate stakeholder whims from what actual users will find relevant • Includes perspectives from all the various user types involved in your site: • End users • Content admins and moderators • Marketing team • Can uncover needs not addressed by current design • Provides important and real data for personas, task flows and other project deliverables
  6. 6. Contextual Inquiry: Why? • Watching a user do their work gives new insights that can’t be gained from an interview. • Talking to users in their own environment builds trust and repoire, makes participants more comfortable • Works particularly well for redesigns of existing functionality
  8. 8. Step 1: Define User Types • Defined by behaviors they are looking to engage in • Enthusiast vs. casual browser • New account vs. existing customer • What qualities do they share? • Age, gender, education? • Level of interest in, or knowledge of, your service? • Specific goals?
  9. 9. Step 2: Create a research plan • Define a goal for the study: what are you trying to learn? • Questions should focus on behaviors, not desires: • How does the participant solve this problem currently? • What do they like or dislike about their solution? • What tools do they use to solve this problem? • How important is solving this problem to them? • It’s not about what they want, it’s about how they work.
  10. 10. Step 3: Recruit users • Goal: 2–3 users of each type (minimum) • Enlist client’s help in recruitment • Is there a budget to compensate participants?
  11. 11. Step 4: Conduct Interviews • Have a set of open-ended, non-leading questions ready • Record if possible • Take note of key insights, quotes • Take note of ideas you’ve heard in other interviews • Timing: ½ hour for interview; ½ hour for notes
  12. 12. Step 5:Analyze Findings Pull out key insights, quotes, ideas Note duplicate insights/comments Tools: Post-Its, Sharpies, butcher paper
  13. 13. POST-UPS A quick and visual way to analyze research findings, organize content, and solve sticky IA issues
  14. 14. Post-Ups: Why? • Helps quickly identify and prioritize major research themes • Helps quickly sort out content priorities • Tools are cheap and easy to move around • Butcher paper • Post-its • Sharpies • Allows the team to work collaboratively, which is more efficient than working alone—particularly for complex navigational structures
  15. 15. The Post-Up IA Workshop • Initial architecture posted up on butcher paper • Include 4–6 people, all of whom have a stake in the site (include content admins, not just execs) • Post architecture on wall • Each person gets 5 minutes to move things around • Have them think aloud • Videotape or record each person’s turn • Offer help, but avoid criticism or debate during each person’s turn • Take picture of result after each person finishes • Finish with discussion and finalization of architecture • Document result in content strategy documents
  16. 16. Congregational Library: version 1
  17. 17. Congregational Library: final post-up
  18. 18. Content Collection/Documentation: GatherContent
  19. 19. Results • Ensured that all voices were heard, not just the executives • Enabled discussion of pages’ relevance and usefulness • Identified and prioritized new sections/pages that were needed, and assigned stakeholders to them • Accomplished in two hours what would have taken weeks of back and forth over email
  21. 21. Personas
  22. 22. Task/User Flows
  23. 23. Wireframes
  24. 24. Sketches and Prototypes
  25. 25. Functional Requirements
  26. 26. QUESTIONS? @danigrrl on Twitter