Skip to content

🗞 The "Ferment Era" of HCI

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read
🗞 The "Ferment Era" of HCI

Great Question
Great Question

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?

😌 Humans of User Research with Abigail Plumb-Larrick

Abigail Plumb-Larrick
Abigail Plumb-Larrick

Hey Abigail, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m currently a freelance User Researcher in Cleveland, OH. I’ve worked across a number of different subject domains – finance and accounting, manufacturing, supply chain – and love to find the human needs at the heart of a use case or user story. Unfortunately I was caught up in the recent flood of software layoffs, but I’m working on a few interesting projects while I figure out my next longer-term step.

What was your career journey like?
Like a lot of more senior design research people, I’ve taken a curvy mountain road through a few different product-related roles. I’ve been a UX designer and researcher, a product manager, and once I was Product Marketing Engineer V (a wild title for an English major). I’ve always been someone people want to tell things to – I’m interested in their stories, and I have no poker face. It turns out to be a good quality to have in user research.

What can be challenging in UX Research and what advice do you have for us?
B2B participant recruiting can be frustrating, because it feels like you’re at the mercy of other people or institutions (and often you are). If there’s an account manager or customer success manager who’s in between you and access to your users, get to know and form a relationship with that person. Ask them questions and get to know what they do, so you can figure out a way to get both of your needs met. That might include looping them in early and often, or having them along for the ride, or it might include giving them some reading material about user research. That person also probably has a lot of knowledge that will be useful for you, so including them in your stakeholder or background research can pay significant dividends.

How did you end up conducting contextual observations on an oil derrick?
A few years ago I was pulled into a one-off assignment: demonstrate for a customer our commitment to user-centered design. Although it was possibly intended to be theater, it was a great opportunity, because our software was being used on an oil derrick – one of the big superstructures used to drill for oil. This was located in a huge open field, in Texas. We had to wear flame-retardant jumpsuits, and I had to back my rented truck into parking just in case we had to drive away quickly. It was entirely unlike anywhere I’d ever been – surrounded by safety glass, with an unobstructed sun all day long. We came back with a lot of actionable insights, because of the long daylight hours, the PPE (personal protective equipment), and the screens and controls – and also a really good story.

Where can people reach out to you?
Contact me on LinkedIn!

Thank you, Abigail!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎉 Highlights.

The "Era of Ferment:" how practitioners and educators frame HCI
This study examined various roles in HCI and incongruences between practitioners’ and educators’ perceptions and experiences. The authors found a contrast between HCI practitioners and educators in terms of users’ mental models, HCI success, and passion or enthusiasm for HCI as well as convergence on the value of communication skills, collaboration, and creativity. Ann Austin, Jose Abdelnour Nocera & Torkil Clemmensen 11/25

Benchmarking research operations
Why Momentive started benchmarking as an approach for measuring the impacts of their research operations program, why they created a benchmarking survey and its impact. Toluwa Awodiya 11/29

Evidence boards: my must have resource as a UX researcher
Exploring how centralising your key research learns into one board benefits the business and team as much as a repository. Aaron Christopher 11/27

🛠 Methods.

Content analysis as a research method in UX
Content analysis by sociologist Bernard Berelson. Essential components, what is needed to conduct content analysis, overinterpretation of the researcher and applying quantitative content analysis in UX. Alex A. Szczurek 11/27

Methods of research notetaking — part four
Exploration of some of the things to keep in mind after we’ve conducted our research sessions to summarize findings: Post-Research Activities, Chronological Logging or Topical Notetaking. Chelsi N 11/27

How to develop the right taxonomy for your UX research repository (Sponsored)
The tag structure or taxonomy is a central part of a UX research repository. It helps researchers to store data in an organized manner and to retrieve it quickly when needed. Understand basic principles behind a 'good' taxonomy by looking at real-world examples. Read more

⚙️ Research Ops.

How we built a UX research function at Nestcoin
Reflection on the highs and lows of the first year in a new research function. Hillary Omitogun 11/27

Perfecting the UX of UX testing with Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics
How do you improve the user experience of UX testing? Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics explains how to test the UX of your own testing. Erin May 11/23

Navigating agility and efficiency in market research
Summary of a roundable: Advice, unexpected practical challenges, and smattering of new ideas for everyone to try in order to make agile work for their research participants, insight team, and stakeholders. Emily James 11/27

📆 Events in December

UX Research Meetups & Events in December (Sponsored)
Check out this December's virtual talks, meetups, networking events, and conferences around UX Research. All events can be joined online from anywhere, are held in English, and are either free or comparatively low-cost to join. Discover all events.

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

Supergluing insights: how to make your research stick with stakeholders
Jodie Clothier sits down with Adyen's Vice President of User Experience Katarina Bagherian to chat about how she makes research impactful for her stakeholders. In this session, Katarina will walk through four methods, drawn from education theory, that help make research output stick and drive outcomes. This session isn’t to be missed, and we’ll be finishing with a spicy fireside chat too!. Youtube 11/29

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Patti Carlson, Director of Research and Insights at Dropbox
In this episode Henrik interviews Patti Carlson, Director of Research and Insights at Dropbox. Patti talks about how she developed strategies to market and sell research to her stakeholders and collaborators. Along the way, she covers how she developed a better understanding of business context, technical feasibility, and more to figure out how to better deliver insights to her partners. Spotify 11/24

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan