We’ve all read monotonous reports and struggled to remain awake during boring presentations, but must all deliverables be interminably dull? Conveying user research findings so people can understand them, believe them, and know how to act on your recommendations can be challenging. And providing enough detail without boring your audience is a difficult balance. But there are some best practices in communicating user research findings that can make them more effective—and even entertaining. Read More
Of all the user research techniques, I think contextual inquiry is the most difficult to perform effectively. Despite what you may have learned about doing contextual inquiries in school, from books, or from articles on the Web, they’re not as easy as they seem. When you first try to conduct a contextual inquiry yourself, you’ll soon discover all kinds of unanticipated problems.
Contextual inquiries require a difficult balance between traditional interviewing and ethnographic observation. The name contextual inquiry is foreign to most people outside the field of user experience, and people don’t understand what this approach involves, leading to a lot of misconceptions. In this article, I’ll discuss the most common problems you’ll face when conducting contextual inquiries and how to solve them. Read More
Doing user research is like eating healthy food, exercising, and getting an annual checkup. Almost everyone recognizes that it’s good to do these things, but many people fail to do them. Similarly, many companies neglect to do user research. Why? In this column, I’ll discuss the most common excuses I hear from companies and project teams that don’t conduct user research—and I’ll provide solutions to overcome them.
What Is User Research?
There are still many people—and entire companies—who create software, Web sites, and digital products, but are unaware of user research. While the term user experience has received a lot of attention over the last few years, many people still don’t know user research is the key activity that informs UX design. So, obviously, the first barrier to the adoption of user research is a lack of knowledge. Read More