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🗞 Introducing the Research Plan Canvas

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read

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 Jenny Winfield

Jenny Winfield
Jenny Winfield

Hey Jenny, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Jenny and I’m a London-based User Research Director. I specialise in research that tackles taboo issues, using trauma-informed methods. That means I’m usually working with creative people who are designing digital services for people who are underserved and ignored because of a social / cultural taboo. In the last year, I’ve been researching with people in recovery from opioid addiction, healing from sexual assault, and coping with suicide bereavement. These experiences are challenging to talk about but absolutely ripe for design solutions. I’m freelance and work 1 day a week with Chayn, an amazing non-profit which supports survivors of gender based violence. Time out for me means immersing myself in all the nature.

What’s the best career decision you’ve made?
Leaving IDEO to go freelance. I had a good experience there and worked intensely on all kinds of briefs for almost 5 years, gaining a strong grounding in innovation strategy, and design.  But so often, I found we were assuming that the world-changing ideas were 5-10 years out - we were innovating for the future. I love creating ideas and solutions that are game-changing now; that give individual people a sense of solidarity and tangible support when they need it. I’ve found that start-ups and non-profits are hungrier for having this type of impact, so they tend to be my clients now.

As a freelancer, I’ve built my business so that I get to work exclusively on projects that I care about, while bringing a lot of that ‘IDEO-style’ value for my clients; being an all rounder in design thinking with a deep expertise in research.

What was the funniest/weirdest experience you had in a user study?
Oh, so many. I spoke directly with a woman in prison who told me about how she’d murdered someone once. I was working on designing a digital service that would support women to cope in custody, and we talked about the mental health effects not only of having committed crimes but having experienced severe trauma both growing up, and while being inside prison. Something I found quite weird at first in my interviews about taboo subjects is how often people both cry and laugh in the same research interview - it can be a real rollercoaster of tears and joy. It’s my job to create that safe space for people’s emotions, while returning to my team having identified powerful insights for design, too.

What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
At the moment I’m learning about and practicing trauma-informed research methods. So much of my work in exploring sensitive topics intersects with people who have experienced trauma, and the world is pretty traumatic right now, so it feels very….current. Using these methods is a way of bringing the principles of safety, transparency, co-design, hope and agency into research experiences. To be honest I think these are principles that we should all be operating by, whether we work on sensitive issues or not, so I’m excited to see UX practices evolve in line. Recently I’ve started sharing UX tips and insights from my work on Medium, and people can find my website here.

Thank you, Jenny!

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🎉 Highlights.

How to kick off your research project like a rock star: the research plan canvas
The Research Plan Canvas is designed to help you ask the right questions prior to accepting and starting a research project. It also serves as your project’s north star that you align on with your team. Farid Malyar 10/12

UX research in 2023: patterns and trends to keep an eye on
As you look to 2023, check out the trends we’re seeing across our research now and consider how your team will address them next year. 10/26

What is your stickiness metric really saying?
In this article, we’ll dive into concrete examples of how stickiness is calculated and compare the results so you can go beyond “good vs bad” numbers and make decisions that are truly meaningful for your product. Joseph Pacheco 10/27

How to Build a UX Research Team from Scratch (Sponsored)
If you’re the first user researcher hired at your company, what should you do in the first 90 days? This article offers a data-backed checklist of milestones to hit and researcher-tested tips for establishing a successful UX research practice. Read more

🔭 Research Ops.

How to hire first-time UX researchers at your startup
Don't overlook talent in a different field. Here's how to screen for applicable skills for a candidate breaking into the industry. Cori Widen

Building a UX research team
What Do You Want to Do? Do Your Research. Inquire with Other Companies and Professionals. Talk to your current employees and team members! Create a Plan. Start Building! Don’t Abandon Ship. Danielle Schmitz Martin 10/29

🛠 Methods.

Centring equity and plurality in UX research with survivors
How I practiced the trauma-informed principles of Equity and Plurality, while leading UX research with survivors of sexual assault. Jenny H Winfield 11/01

Introducing the minimum viable taxonomy
Exploration of the three-layer framework of taxonomies for research repositories, and description of the “minimum viable taxonomy” (MVT) approach. Emily DiLeo 10/31

🔍 Case Studies.

Really old UX research #3: A new look at a forty year old case study
Even more lessons from Gould & Lewis (1985) from using a touch-tone phone. Kolja Pluemer 10/29

Study: how researchers can increase design accessibility, with Lenovo
Creating accessible spaces and experiences requires intentionality. See how Lenovo and dscout's research with people in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community shed light on accessibility UX best practices. Karen Eisenhauer 10/29

📆 Events in November

UX Research Meetups & Events in November (Sponsored)
Check out this month's virtual talks, meetups, networking events, and conferences around UX Research in November. 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.

Recruiting participants for user research in B2B companies
In this talk, Matthew will share what’s so challenging about B2B recruiting, how he gets participants to sign up for studies, and how he builds lookalike audiences when reaching our own customers is too difficult. YouTube 10/29

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Navigating gender, religion, and politics in UX research – with Zoë Glas
This week on Awkward Silences, Senior UX Researcher at Google Zoë Glas, stopped by for a thought-provoking conversation about why having a seat at the table isn’t enough, and the importance of inclusion and belonging in UX research. Spotify Apple 10/26

Happy researching
🗞 Jan