Links on User Research

Developing Your Interviewing Skills- Preparing for an Interview & During the Interview

Sometimes when we have a poor interview, we blame the person we’ve interviewed. Regardless of the situation, you may be tempted to label a participant unengaged, inappropriate, inarticulate, or worse. But there is one constant in all of these different interview scenarios: you.

Bad interviews can result in missing data, incomplete detail, misleading results, partial insights, and lost opportunities, so you need to ensure your research is the best it can be—that you get good interviews.

Developing Your Interviewing Skills, Part I: Preparing for an Interview & Developing Your Interview Skills, Part II: During the Interview

When Interviews Go Wrong

Despite our best efforts to prepare for and run an interview smoothly, there are often challenges that crop up in the heat of the moment. Ideally, our interviewees are cooperative, well motivated, eloquent, knowledgeable, truthful, consistent, concise, precise, and coherent, states Steinar Kvale in his book InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. However, like the typical user, the ideal interviewee does not exist. Some people are harder to interview than others, and sometimes, interviews drift off into unproductive territory due to factors beyond our control.

In this article, the author introduces you to six types of people who can potentially jeopardize the quality of the data you’re able to collect during interviews.

  • The Chatterbox
  • The Clam
  • The Pollyanna
  • The Unraveler
  • The Distracted & Evasive
  • The Attitude Problem

When Interviews Go Wrong

What is Design Thinking Anyway?

Design thinking, as a concept, has been slowly evolving and coalescing over the past decade. One popular definition is that design thinking means thinking as a designer would, which is about as circular as a definition can be. More concretely, Tim Brown of IDEO has written that design thinking is “a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”

A person or organization instilled with that discipline is constantly seeking a fruitful balance between reliability and validity, between art and science, between intuition and analytics, and between exploration and exploitation. The design-thinking organization applies the designer’s most crucial tool to the problems of business. That tool is abductive reasoning.

What is Design Thinking Anyway?

Five UX Research Pitfalls

In the last few years, more and more organizations have come to view UX design as a key contributor to successful products, connecting teams with end-users and guiding product innovation within the organization. Though it is fantastic to see this transition happen, there are growing pains associated with becoming a user-driven organization. These are the pitfalls that the author sees organizations grappling with most often.

  1. It is easier to evaluate a completed, pixel-perfect product so new products don’t get vetted or tested until they’re nearly out the door
  2. Users click on things that are different, not always things they like. Curious trial users will skew the usage statistics for a new feature.
  3. Users give you conflicting feedback
  4. Any data is better than no data, right?
  5. By human nature, you trust the numbers going in the right direction and distrust the numbers going in the wrong direction

Five UX Research Pitfalls

Manager’s guidebook on intranet redesign projects

The intranet manager is one of the most important people in an intranet design project. Many times the effort that goes into such a project is on the same level as that of a major organizational change initiative. It is therefore important that the manager is thoroughly prepared for the journey. If you are managing your first redesign project or are new to intranets or just love intranets then we have the resource to get you started: Manager’s guidebook to intranet design projects.

This 64-page guidebook takes you through eight stages of a typical intranet design project. Each stage has many activities that go under it. The activities described and insights included are those gathered over the years by PebbleRoad.

Manager’s guidebook on intranet redesign projects

Disclosure: I work for the company that released the ebook. Of course, it’s included here because it I think it deserves to be here.

Preparing for User Research Interviews: Seven Things to Remember

Given everything there is to remember to ensure we conduct successful interviews, the author finds it helpful to remind himself of the following seven key best practices immediately before an interview session:

  • Set proper expectations
  • Shut up and listen
  • Minimize (or rather eliminate) biased questions
  • Be friendly
  • Turn off your assumptions
  • Avoid generalizations
  • Don’t forget the non-verbal cues

Preparing for User Research Interviews: Seven Things to Remember

IDEO Labs

IDEO Labs is a place where we IDEO show bits of what they are working on, talk about prototyping, and share their excitement over the tools that help them create.

IDEO Labs

ROIs on PhDs. How much are trailing letters worth to you?

Have you wondered whether earning a PhD would improve your lot? Mid-to Advanced career professionals often ask me if i think a PhD would be worth it for them. When they say “worth it,” they typically have two specific questions in mind:

  • Will having a PhD confer me more credibility and ability to move up in the workplace?
  • Will having trailing letters will result in a bigger salary?

The literal, simplistic answer is, “Yes, more credibility and 17K/year according to Sauro’s analysis of the recent UPA Salary Survey.” But, the real answer is probably no. Earning a PhD requires two things:

  1. The keen desire to spend roughly a decade thinking about ONE well-defined problem
  2. An enthusiasm to spend roughly a decade poor

ROIs on PhDs. How much are trailing letters worth to you?

Deeper insights from Customer Satisfaction (Beyond Net Promoter)

With all the debate over the past few years about the Net Promoter Score, some people seem to have forgotten that Customer Satisfaction research can lead to deep insights about customers that will help organizations in many ways. Even the idea that higher levels of satisfaction are related to improved profits seems to have become a cliché. “Satisfaction would be nice,” some seem to say, “but I can’t focus on it now. Spending more time on sales is more important”.

Perhaps one reason for the lack of respect for customer satisfaction is the fact that the original studies are quite old. Perhaps too, managers think that focusing on the fundamentals isn’t as likely to pay off quickly. After all, it is easy to see and measure sales activity. But if you are chasing after the wrong customers that activity is likely to be inefficient at best, or even wasted. In today’s economy, it is critical to focus on the customers and prospects that will be profitable. And that doesn’t mean just the most obvious. Just because a customer is vocal doesn’t mean that they’ll be profitable.


Deeper insights from Customer Satisfaction (Beyond Net Promoter)

What You Need to Know About Eye Tracking

When you see a heatmap for the first time, you are probably so busy saying “wow!” that you forget to critically evaluate what you are seeing. It’s easy to feel intimidated. The technology involved is phenomenal. But this doesn’t mean all research done on an eye tracker is infallible– far from it. This talk is intended to give you a heads-up on how to think critically about eye tracking.

You may also view the presentation at Harry’s website, 90 percent of everything.