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User Weekly #26, December 14

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read
User Weekly #26, December 14

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/ Jeff Solomon

Jeff Solomon

Hi Jeff, Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Jeff Solomon, a cultural and linguistic anthropologist by training. Since graduate school I’ve deliberately focused my work on using qualitative research methods and analyses to address human problems. For many years I’ve focused on challenges in healthcare and education, but recently I have entered a new realm: insurance, specifically at Nationwide.

What tools do you regularly use in your research?
During the pandemic most researchers have had to adapt by using Zoom or other video platforms, which I certainly have done. In my new position the platform I’ll be using is UserZoom, which I look forward to learning. In the past I’ve used NVivo to code interview transcripts, but my current role doesn’t afford that kind of time. There’s a particular way of organizing top level findings that’s spelled out in a book that shapes our approach, called The Jobs to be Done Playbook, by Kalbach. In essence, key findings are put into an Excel table with verbatim examples or descriptions as support.

From your experience, what is one of the biggest challenges user research(ers) face today?
I think a big challenge, especially for those coming directly from academia, is highly accelerated timelines for projects and the very concept of research sprints. Even though I’ve not spent my career until now in academia in the traditional sense, my previous roles afforded more time to conduct research than is currently afforded. I think another challenge is the focus in UX research on present very concise findings that are perceived by the organization in which one works as actionable.

How do you separate your work life from your home life?
I’m very lucky in that I’ve never really had too much trouble separating my work and home lives, even while working at home (since the rise of the pandemic and since getting a new remote position). For some reason, I’m able to shut off work pretty effectively, perhaps in part because there are things I enjoy doing to wind down and relax. There’s no question, however, that getting away from time to time is especially helpful, so we try to travel when we can, even if small weekend getaways.

How can people learn more about you and your work? 
People can feel free to contact me at my Gmail account or on LinkedIn.

Thank you, Jeff!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🧐 Thought pieces.

Japan vs. US: cross-cultural differences in User Research
Any global company should know the importance of localization – to be mindful of the target culture and adjust their services or products accordingly. User research is not an exception, and it is crucial to devise appropriate methodologies and documents that go beyond direct translation. By Btrax Staff (Frestrax 12/9)

How to write an executive summary people will read
A deep dive into the all important research exec summary with examples. By Nikki Anderson (Dovetail 12/10)

Ideas to improve conversations with stakeholders
Three ideas that helped me to conduct more efficient and better meetings, conversations, and presentations. By Sherif Amin (UX Collective 12/14)

🛬 Approaches.

Recognize Strategic Opportunities with Long-Tail Data
Be a strategic thinker by recognizing opportunities at scale with seemingly small and insignificant data. By Evan Sunwall (NN/g 12/12)

How to Use Role-Play Method in UX Research
Compared with other service design tools, the role-play has a unique nature as it fuels creativity and allows the team to see the problem from a different perspective. By Designorate Team (Designorate 12/9)

Where preference testing goes wrong (and what we should do instead)
Preference testing can often result in misleading data. The reason? Hidden biases that highlight reflexive ways that people make choices. By Molly Malsam (dscout 12/8)

UX-Maturity Stage 5: Integrated
Organizations at this stage are in an excellent position, with successful, sustainable UX practices and committed people. By Kara Pernice (NN/g 12/12)

💯 Quant.

What does it take to be a good product analyst? (No, it's not a data science degree.)
Good product teams know their users inside and out. They understand how they use their product, how long they stay, why they drop off, which cohorts will monetize, and where they should place their big bets. By Mo Bhasin (The Signal 12/11)

Replace your complex bar chart with a dot plot to make it better understood
The alternative to bar charts that works well with complex data. By Christopher K Wong (Data & Science by Kai Wong 12/8)

How to deal with missing data
Missing data, or missing values, occur when you don’t have data stored for certain variables or participants. Data can go missing due to incomplete data entry, equipment malfunctions, lost files, and many other reasons. By Pritha Bhandari (Scribbr 12/8)

Why can the quality of data visualization make or break your project?
Questions you need to ask yourself when creating data visualizations. By Lazar Glumac (Medium 12/13)

📚 Case Studies & Personal Development.

Building a research practice at User Interviews: the first 60 days
The VP of User Research shares her vision for research at User Interviews and reflects on what she learned in her first 60 days. By Roberta Dombrowski (user interviews 12/12)

Diary Study in an agile framework
My experience and takeaways conducting a mini Diary Study in the agile environment. By Anna Demina (Medium 12/12)

Conducting User Research with a team working in 2-week sprints when recruiting takes 2 weeks
Are you an in-house user researcher who is trying to make user research work in an agile environment? And, does it take more than one to five days to recruit your participants? By David Engel (FACTSET 12/7)

11 best data science certifications to boost your career
To help you evaluate your options, we’ve curated a list of the top data science certificate courses. Read on to compare price tags, student reviews, and find out what we like best about each program. By Lizzie Parmenter (Springboard 12/12)

How to market yourself for a UX career
It’s hard to break into user experience. It doesn’t matter if you specialize in design, writing, or research – it’s damn difficult. By Heather Hamilton McBride (Medium 12/9)

🔁 Refreshers.

Best practices for moderated user testing
What makes a good usability test moderator? By Dr Maria Panagiotidi (UX Psychology 12/9)

Leverage secondary research in your user research practice, Part I
Secondary user research is underused in UX research. By Xenia Avezov (Medium 12/11)

The most comprehensive usability testing guide for beginners and professionals
Usability testing is one of the most important methods in User Research practice that everyone should know. By Dmitry Korzhov (Medium 12/10)

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Videos of the Week.

The intersection of design, research & accessibility
In an open, frank, and free-flowing conversation between Sam, Fable’s Accessibility Evangelist, and Kaitlyn, one of Fable’s longest serving accessibility researchers, they will cover the ways that accessibility, design, and research must work together in order to create truly accessible designs. By DesignX Community (YouTube 12/9)

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Games User Research - with Steve Bromley
Creating a video game requires more than just development time and coding—to make sure the experience is enjoyable, you have to test it. In this episode, User Researcher Steve Bromley joins Awkeward Silences to discuss the nuances of conducting user research in the video game industry (Spotify 12/8)

Nodes of Design: Human Centered Research
What is human-centered design? How to empathize with the users? And different ways to capture deeper insights. With Reggie Murphy (Spotify 12/10)

Happy researching,