User Research: trying to answer the why and how questions

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This is the first part of my fourth lecture at the HITLab, Canterbury University in New Zealand. As a design practitioner I am frequently getting a question from other practitioners, why would they do user research in the first place. Once I manage to convince them why it makes sense, the follow up question typically regards the issue of choosing the right people for that research. In this presentation I am trying to highlight two different approaches to user research, which I will describe in more detail in the next presentation.

Transcript of User Research: trying to answer the why and how questions

  • user research: trying to answer the why and how questions aga szstek(at)
  • why doing user research in the rst place?
  • -users have dierent goals than designers -users do not care for design success -there is more than one user per solution -there is more than one solution per problem
  • traditional user research - formal - informative - answers - precision - understanding - raw data generative methods - informal - inspirational - questions - ambiguity - empathy - interpretation
  • user research: an example PhD project: Sebas1an Denef Promoters: David V. Keyson i Reinhard Oppermann
  • How do remen deal with dangerous situations in the midst of the action? How could their actions be supported through interactive technologies?
  • using generative methods: an example Welcome Experience at a telecom provider Aga Szstek, Marcin Piotrowski, Joanna Kwiatkowska
  • rst month with a telecom provider provider rst impressions user trial period uncertainty building relationship gaining trust adjusting oer explaining payment upselling
  • partcipants - 20 persons (50% M, 50% F) - recruited at the door of the providers shop - committed to buy a postpaid plan - signing an agreement to participate
  • diary / blog study
  • love / hate letters
  • creative workshop
  • why and when traditional user research?
  • - works great for the dened design space - helps to objectify discovered phenomena - supports task oriented design - resolves interaction problems - focuses in iterative measurement of progress - enables comparison
  • why and when generative methods?
  • - high complexity of the design issues (so called: wicked problems) - uncertainty what truly is the design challenge - need for exibility to approach the solution - building empathy
  • who should participate?
  • snowball sampling: when you want to nd users who have similar interests, jobs or lifestyle
  • extreme case sampling: when you want to nd users who are extreme representatives of certain behaviours (e.g. remen for a decision-taking study
  • homogenous sampling: when you want to nd users who are very much alike in a certain aspect
  • maximum variation sampling: when you want to nd users who are very dierent with respect to a certain aspect
  • convenience sampling: when you just want to nd users who are together for some reason (eg. a workshop) and agree to participate in the study
  • opportunistic sampling: when you just want to nd truly random users
  • references Denef, S.; Keyson, D.; Oppermann, R. Rigid Structures, Independent Units, Monitoring: Organizing Patterns in Frontline Fireghting. In Proceedings of the 2011 SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Austin, TX, USA, 510 May 2011; pp. 1949 1958. Pallot, Marc, et al. "Living lab research landscape: From user centred design and user experience towards user cocreation." First European Summer School'Living Labs'. 2010.