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🗞 How 1k User Researchers use AI

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?

😌 Humans of User Research with Brian Greene

Brian Greene:
Brian Greene:

Tell us a little about yourself, Brian.
Hey! I’m Brian Greene, Head of Research at StreamYard, a web-based studio that enables creators to easily livestream, record, and share professional quality with their audiences. I also lead our internal R&D Squad, focusing on the far horizon by exploring and defining big bets for our business. Outside of StreamYard, I’m always involved with education and teaching in one way or another. Most recently, I designed, developed, and currently lead a cohort-based Product Discovery course in partnership with Panash, and I also teach User Research and Discovery to aspiring PMs at La Nave Nodriza, a design school in Madrid. Lastly, I’m an American but live on the Mediterranean coast of Spain with my wife and three boys :).

What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
I love stories, so I’m lucky that I get to uncover, explore, and share human experiences for a living. But I also love creating new stories, so for me the best part of what I do is facilitating the transformation of those experiences into products and services that we launch into the world for people to use, changing what’s possible, and creating new narratives. To me, that’s one way we’re privileged as researchers because turning stories into products is special, and that specialness is amplified when we work in a problem space that feeds our already abundant curiosity. This is very much the case for me here at StreamYard because I get to spend my time working with content creators, streamers, and podcasters, all of whom want to make and share new things themselves. I’m grateful that I get to help them share their creativity with the world.

What was the funniest/weirdest experience you had in a user study?
There’s one interview from my time at Etsy that sticks with me. At the time I was working with Etsy sellers, who are creative entrepreneurs, mostly women, with a passion for making handcrafted goods. At the time we’d kicked off an initiative to bring our product org closer to customers by hosting large events where we’d internally broadcast remote interviews that I led. This particular interview was with one of our top sellers in the UK where she lived and worked from a caravan with her husband and kids. She did everything from there, making her clothes, storing them, packaging them, shipping them, and running her entire operation from a laptop.

The interview started more or less as they always do, but was quickly and repeatedly interrupted by her kids. As a parent, I didn’t think much of it until one of the little ones started crying. She said he was hungry and began to breastfeed him. I offered to stop but she was unfazed, effortlessly continuing her explanation of how she thinks about her enterprise and what it means to her until another one of her kids started interrupting. He kept saying “daddy,” “daddy.” And I was so confused until she explained that he thought I was his father. Apparently, I looked just like him. I tried to convince him it wasn’t so, but he never quite believed me. He too was hungry, so the interview continued while the seller fixed him a snack. His hunger sated, and bored by his father/not-father he ran off, leaving us to return to our talk of making and shipping. It was all so unpredictable and serendipitous, like so much of research, but that space is exactly where the magic happens, and this interview was magical, a perfect representation of the authentic lived experience of a successful Etsy seller, who doesn’t bat an eye at the chaos around her, feeding her children while creating, connecting, making and shipping, unperturbed by a person who looks like her husband but isn’t, a person who’s simultaneously sharing her reality with a large room full of colleagues responsible for making her life a little bit easier and her business a little more successful.

How can people find you?
You can find me on LinkedIn. I love talking about the future of our field, and how we can truly unlock the full impact of what we’re capable of. I'm a big believer that AI and the recent shifts within tech make the expertise and specialized skillset we have more valuable than ever before. More tactically, I’m also always up for conversations about the role of Research Leadership in organizations, building systemic continuous learning practices, research enablement, and product discovery.

Thank you, Brian!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

📚 Articles of the Week.

We surveyed 1093 researchers about how they use AI
AI is becoming increasingly prevalent in UX research, with 77.1% of researchers using it in various capacities; while efficiency is a major benefit, concerns about accuracy and completeness of analysis still linger, and 49% of researchers are cautious about the types of data they use with AI. Lizzy Burnam 09/12

Examining UX professionals' attitudes towards AI
UX professionals generally welcome AI in their work with cautious optimism, emphasizing responsible use and the preservation of human involvement; deeper AI knowledge correlates with more favorable attitudes and increased AI tool usage, underscoring the need for AI education and safeguards to prevent 'risk blindness.'. Dr Maria Panagiotidi 09/14

UX research strategies for shaping product roadmaps
To shape effective product roadmaps, UX researchers should educate their teams on the value of UX research, build strong partnerships with product managers, choose research methods wisely based on core questions, and incorporate iterative feedback loops involving both stakeholders and users, ensuring user-centricity and product success in a competitive market. Anastasia Maslakova 09/11

Want on-the-ground insights? Look no further than places and spaces
The "Places and Spaces" approach in UX research involves capturing experiences and moments in their natural settings, providing valuable insights that can enhance product development; remote research is increasingly preferred for its expanded reach, cost efficiency, and participant comfort, allowing researchers to understand how users interact with products in their everyday environments. Joey Alvarez-Rinconeño, Belinda Nam & Julieanne Moore 09/11

Experts’ thoughts on AI-generated responses / AI participants
AI-generated responses and AI-based users lack the complexity, creativity, and human attributes required for meaningful UX research, making them unreliable substitutes for genuine human participants according to a panel of UX experts. Marek Strba 09/12

Pricing research is not just “how much are you willing to pay”
Effective pricing research goes beyond asking customers how much they're willing to pay; it involves continuous iteration and data collection to align pricing with market dynamics, competition, and customer perceptions, according to John Kotowski, co-founder of PricingSaaS, in a comprehensive article on product pricing surveys by Ashley Cheng. Ashley Cheng 09/12

Building a best-in-class research operations team
Noël Lamb shares insights on building a top-notch research operations team, emphasizing the importance of aligning with the business, surveying needs, and making a compelling business case, all while highlighting the critical role research ops plays in streamlining processes, reducing costs, and advancing the field of UX research. Noël Lamb 09/13

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

Beyond research execution: exploring collaborative strategies to maximise UX research impact. YouTube 09/10

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Conducting research with employees
Valuable insights on organizing and executing successful internal research, emphasizing the importance of careful planning and effective communication for meaningful results. Spotify Apple 09/08

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan