What is a confidence interval? I wanted to know that recently and turned to one of my favorite books: Measuring the User Experience, by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert. And here’s what they say:
“Confidence intervals are extremely valuable for any usability professional. A confidence interval is a range that estimates the true population value for a statistic.”
Then they go on to explain how you calculate a confidence interval in Excel. Which is fine, but I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure that once I’d calculated it, I really knew what I’d done or what it meant. So I trawled through various statistics books to gain a better understanding of confidence intervals, and this column is the result. Read More
User research is cool. User research deliverables can even be cool. But sadly, to many people, analysis isn’t cool. Clients and project team members get excited by the idea of user research, they like being able to say they did user research, and they like to show off impressive user research deliverables. But the unsung-hero, who does much of the heavy lifting is analysis. Unfortunately, analysis remains underappreciated and is often overlooked.
There are plenty of books, articles, and presentations about user-research techniques and deliverables, but they seldom discuss analysis—the process that transforms research data into deliverables. To some, it may even seem that you come out of research with a fully formed understanding of users and their tasks and immediately begin creating personas, diagrams, and presentations. Read More
As a researcher, I want to understand how technology changes people’s lives, not wade through a bunch of data. Like a lot of people, I think in stories rather than numbers; in the tangible rather than the abstract. So, when I made it a goal to understand all of the data about the experiences people have with technology—not just the kinds of data that I was comfortable with—there were some big gaps in my knowledge.
First, I had to cross the threshold of my number aversion. This wasn’t too hard because, even though I love to dive into messy questions, I’m not thrilled with messy answers. I’m still relearning statistics—thanks to Khan Academy and The Cartoon Guide to Statistics—getting more confident with Excel, and gaining some basic skills in Tableau. Read More