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🗞 Effective user research meetings need a template

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read

Hi there! 👋 Thanks for stopping by. 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 in UX Research. It is written by me, Jan Ahrend. Each week I capture the pulse of our community and answer a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?

💡Are you curious about how generative AI is transforming User Research? Staying up to date on AI's applications in our work is important. To make this easier, I've compiled my favorite 60+ resources on AI in UX Research in one central place. These include articles, videos, and podcasts previously featured in this newsletter. The resource guide is organized by date and I will update the page weekly to keep you informed on AI's evolving role in shaping user experiences.

🗞 In this week's newsletter, I spoke with Panna Cherukuri, Principal UX Researcher at Nearmap, as she discusses her extensive nearly two-decade-long tech career and her enthusiasm for UX research. Dive into articles that redefine UX research norms, including Victor Yocco's effective application of communication principles and a compelling piece on sidestepping "research theater" for authentic and impactful outcomes. These articles provide critical frameworks and strategies to refine your research practices and deepen your understanding of users.

🏡 On a personal note, I returned to Germany for a friend's wedding last weekend and had a fantastic time. My partner and I stayed at my parents' house, which was extra-fun for our dog, Simba. He enjoyed two full days of non-stop play with his best friend, Coco, my parents' dog.
🙌 Jan
Simba, our Golden Retriever (left) and his best friend Coco (right) 🐾

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😌 Humans of User Research with Panna Cherukuri

Panna Cherukuri
Panna Cherukuri

Tell us a little about yourself, Panna.
Hello there! I am Panna Cherukuri. My journey in the tech space spans almost two decades, where I've donned various hats, from software developer to test automation to quality assurance/assistance engineer, and now a passionate UX researcher. I am currently working at Nearmap (a Location Tech company) as a Principal UX Researcher. I live in the beautiful and vibrant Sydney (Australia) with my husband, two lovely daughters, and our delightful fur-baby, 'Maya' the Cavoodle.

What originally got you interested in UX Research?
Back in my days at Atlassian, I was working in QA, one of the tasks I was responsible for was sharing customer scenarios in our testing guidelines for developers. The challenge was, I wasn't always confident about the likelihood of those scenarios happening for real as I had never met our customers. Then Atlassian hired their first researchers. I loved the customer stories they shared with us. I was smitten with what research entailed, the thought of building a deeper understanding of customers so we could deliver products that meet their needs pushed me to explore this role. Thankfully, my supportive managers and amazing internal- mobility program allowed me to experiment and eventually transition into user research. Fast forward, and I still feel the same curiosity and awe for user research as I did nearly 8 years ago.

If you could swap roles with a colleague for a day, whose job would you choose?
I'd really like to be a Product Manager. I think it could benefit both of us. I believe a User Researcher can do a good job when their findings help make product decisions. To do that, the Researcher needs to know what's crucial for the product, and the Product Manager needs to understand what matters to the customers.  This swap will benefit everyone - most importantly, the customers :).

What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
I would love to connect with other researchers over various topics: User research in Location Tech; User research to develop AI applications; Usability testing; User research in startups, high-growth companies; Quantifying user experience. Connect with me on LinkedIn!

Thank you, Panna!

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📚 Articles of the Week.

Connecting with users: applying principles of communication to UX research
Victor Yocco explores how the Transactional Model of communication enhances UX research, aligning best practices and offering a tracking tool. Victor Yocco 04/09

"Research theater" defined with a checklist
Beware of "research theater" where appearances overshadow substance, risking the integrity of research efforts—prioritize expertise, rigor, and fidelity for meaningful insights. 04/09

Learn how Homebase enriched its research practice by moving to Maze (Sponsored)
Hear from Janet Taylor, Senior Director of Product Design and Research at Homebase on why their team made the move to Maze—and how the quality of their data has skyrocketed since. Learn more

Build research practices with deep stakeholder listening and ReOps
Gain insights from a startup UX lead on building meaningful research practices within organizational contexts, focusing on flexible listening and overcoming challenges for a positive culture. Clara Kuo 04/10

Effective user research meetings need a template
Using a plug-and-play approach for team, project, and career meetings. Lawton Pybus 04/07

Planning research with generative AI
With the proper context, prompts, and scrutiny, AI chatbots can be used to create a successful user-research plan. Maria Rosala 04/05

AI for UX: user research prompt best practices and framework
In the #uxignite podcast, Jakob Nielsen encouraged the UX community to embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to boost productivity. His pivotal advice was simple: “Start small, but start now.” Kuldeep Kelkar & Jamie Yoo 03/27

How to extend the lifecycle of customer insights
Regularly consider key questions as insight experts, advocates, and stakeholders to ensure comprehensive, timely, and user-influenced insights drive effective decision-making in UX research. 04/06

The 2024 State of User Research survey from User Interviews is now open
Findings of this survey are used to uncover insights and report on topics such as user researcher salaries, how UX teams are structured, the most popular tools for research, typical study frequency, research maturity, and more. The survey is for everyone who does or supports research. The survey closes at midnight PDT on April 14, 2024. Take the survey

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🎥 Video of the Week.

Lawton Pybus on how UXR teams hire today
Listen for Lawton's thoughts on topics like building your UXR portfolio with and without research experience, searching for new roles, and how to improve the hiring process. YouTube 04/05

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🔉 Audio of the Week.

Navigating the Future of UX Research: Insights from Dave Hora
In this Insights Unlocked episode, Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, talks with Dave about the rapidly transforming UX research landscape, shedding light on how technological advances are reshaping our approach to understanding user experiences. Spotify Apple 04/08

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🗓 UserCalendar: Events Next Week.

UXinsight Festival ’24 – Stay Curious, Be Bold (From €175)
April 15 @ 6:30 am – April 17 @ 12:00 pm EDT
A three-day UXR conference featuring workshops, talks, live Q&As, and networking opportunities, designed for passionate individuals in UX research, offering insights and strategies for navigating evolving landscapes and fostering positive impacts. Learn more

Crafting Success: Strategies for Measuring Research Impact Nikki Anderson ($10)
April 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm EDT
Discover how user researchers can effectively communicate the value of their generative research efforts and demonstrate impact within organizations by aligning their work with both external and internal metrics, as presented by Nikki Anderson. Learn more

Research for Product Managers – Module 4 – Continuous discovery (Free)
April 17 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Berlin, CET
Product managers who want to better understand user research will delve into the crucial skill of continuous discovery, guided by Dr. Bryan Rill in the final module of a comprehensive series designed to equip them with essential research techniques and tools. Learn more

Why Now Is The Time to Consciously Craft Your Research Career (Free)
April 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT
Join the UX Researchers’ Guild for an event led by career coach Roberta Dombrowski, where participants will assess their current career journey, explore their relationship with their work, and identify patterns to shape a fulfilling career aligned with personal values. Learn more