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User Weekly #17, October 12

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read
User Weekly #17, October 12

USERWEEKLY is your weekly email to understand what is happening in user research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies and insights across the industry. It is written by me, Jan Ahrend. Each week I go through content from mainstream media to small blogs to capture the pulse of our community and answer a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?

😌 Humans of User Research w/ Varun Murugesan

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, I’m Varun! I really like research that champions the best of people, creativity and technology - so that’s why I do UX research! I grew up in a house of problem-solvers and curious thinkers, where now both qualities have helped me become a better researcher. After studying psychology and statistics in undergrad, I’ve been a mixed methods researcher working with startups, nonprofits and large enterprises (such as Facebook and Best Buy) since 2017. My research philosophy is focused on two main ideas: researching together and doing whatever you can to avoid studying bad research questions in the first place.

What’s one thing you wish you realized earlier in your research career?
90% of this job is just educating your team on research. I spend a lot of time with stakeholders explaining away misconceptions about sample sizes, why qualitative research matters or how cyclical data analysis can be. When I slow down and educate my stakeholders in a thoughtful and succinct manner, they’re excited about research. Better yet, they want to come take notes or observe a session or even fund more research. I wished, in the research community, that we talked about engaging and simple ways to make the process of research feel energetic, rather than something statistical or lethargic. The more human I’ve been when working with my team, the more humane - and powerful - user research I’ve been able to do.  

What was the funniest/weirdest experience you had in a user study?
I was working with a UX designer, concept testing some screens. It was a low-fidelity prototype and we had several big questions to address. We struggled with participation but were able to get two really meaningful testing sessions completed. But near the end of the second session, the participant kept asking about some colors on the screen. I assumed that it was a screen-sharing issue but I asked the participant about his questions. Very plainly, he said “Oh, I’m color-blind. I’m not sure what color that is! I just thought it was red this entire time!” It was such an unexpected moment so we three all burst out laughing. After the session, I made accessibility recommendations back to the team but the experience stuck with me (vision challenges is now a common screening question I use during usability testing research).

How can people learn more about you and your work?
You can reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’m also working on a UX research handbook! Fruitful: A Practical Research Handbook is set to be released in early 2022 and you can join the book waitlist here. Or you can listen to some podcasts I’ve been (If you want hear someone ramble on about doing fruitful research) here.

Thank you, Varun!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio


🎯 Driving Impact.

Connection & communication: Principles of insight activation
How can insight teams make sure the insights they generate have the best chance of activation? (FlexMR 10/7)

Three levels of UX Research impact
These three levels of impact related to the career growth of UX researchers: 1) Research questions answered, 2) Decisions supported, 3) user value generated. (Medium 10/10)

Presenting back UX findings so that people actually care
How to effectively present back research findings and insights. (UX Collective 10/6)

Continuous, Collaborative, and Co-Experienced UX Research
Personal lessons learned toward UX Research as a Team Sport. (Medium 10/7)

🥽 Approaches.

3 Ways the product lifecycle has changed User Research
The product lifecycle is the virtuous (vicious?) cycle behind the engine of growth today. But how has it impacted the age-old practice of user research? (Medium 10/11)

Usability testing for enterprise products: Everything you need to know
Being a scientifically driven method, a UX strategy validates the direction it is progressing in by testing the solutions with identified users. This is where usability testing steps in. (Koruux 9/10)

How to use guerrilla research to guide your project discovery phase
How to validate your value proposition with your users guerrilla style. (UX Collective 10/7)

How usability testing improves microcopy
Usability testing is designed not only to expose what doesn’t work, but also validate our assumptions and remind us that, at the end of the day, we really are pretty good at what we do. (Medium 10/7)

🔬 Methods.

Advanced Research made easy - Conjoint Analysis
What is conjoint analysis and how can you use it to enhance the value of the products and services you provide to customers? Read on to learn more about how conjoint analysis works and why you should use it to ensure product success. (Qualtrics 10/7)

Using private research panels for ongoing, rapid customer feedback
CXR Research Advisor Lauren Duquette highlights the advantages of using private research panels and how to build one. (dscout 10/8)

Top 15 open-source data science tools to learn (and use) in 2022
The top 15 data science tools to learn in 2022. (Springboard 10/11)

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

The democratization of UX Research
This panel explores a democratic approach to UX research, wherein all product development actors - senior stakeholders, product managers, engineers, UX designers - make the shift from passive receivers of research findings to active participants in its elicitation. (YouTube 10/7)

Which tools can help me with UX Research? w/ Anfisa
Some of their favorite research tools and how to use them for more efficient UX research. (YouTube 10/7)

Are you a good UX Researcher?
This video discusses what it takes to be a good UX researcher, what the job involves, challenges, tips, and things to be cognizant of. (YouTube 10/8)

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Episode 57 with Phil Hesketh on UX Research & Consent
Episode 57 highlights:

  1. UX Research consent
  2. GDPR and UX Research
  3. How to gain proper consent with your participants of user research
  4. What are the rights of potential participants of UX research
  5. The ethics of informed consent. (Spotify 10/4)