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🗞 Scaling UX Research

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 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 Marty Gage

Marty Gage
Marty Gage

Tell us a little about yourself, Marty.
Hi, I’m Marty. I’ve been doing generative user research since 1989, consulting for Fortune 500 companies to help them figure out what to design. For the last 17 years I’ve been the Vice President of User Experience Research at Lextant, the human experience firm. I’m one of the authors of USER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH: Discover what customers really want. The book was written to support a certification in generative research for the Savannah College of Art and Design.

What do you wish you knew when you began your research journey?
How to describe the business value of upfront user research.

  1. No one wants to read a long boring research report. Put all the big ideas on one page with lots of whitespace. Make it visually engaging!
  2. Alignment is critical. Work hard to make sure everyone in the organization agrees upon what the user desires and the choices the organization needs to make to get there.
  3. The stuff in the book. It took 30 years to figure it all out.

What is the most fun experience you have had in a user study?
It’s all been so fun. I love what I do. I’ve been in million-dollar homes and drab concrete high rises sitting on a couch with no cushions, farms, hospitals, job sites, trade shows, military bases, factories, and more. Meeting people from all over the world, having them welcome me into their homes and workplaces, offer me food, and share intimate details about their lives and dreams for the future has been so incredible. I’m lucky to have had so many great clients and co-workers to share all these adventures with. Also, working with students!

What would you like to talk about with other researchers?
Desired experiences. People’s ideal emotional state when interacting with products, services, spaces, architecture, food, formulations, screens, anything. These are future focused and not constrained by the world of today. This enables a description of the ideal “thing” in a very actionable way. It fuels design criteria and opportunity spaces. It’s easier than you would think to get this information from people. It really does work every time in the marketplace. It’s covered in the book: Hit me up anytime on LinkedIn. I love to talk about this stuff.

Thank you, Marty!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

📚 Articles of the Week.

AI-powered tools for UX research: issues and limitations
Beware of AI-powered tools for UX research that make lofty claims but often fall short. This article evaluates several AI insight generators and collaborators, highlighting their limitations in areas such as contextual understanding, inability to process visual input, and provision of vague recommendations, emphasizing the need for caution when considering their use. Feifei Liu and Kate Moran 07/02

Effective scheduling strategies for impactful user research
Efficient and effective scheduling is crucial for successful user research. This article provides best practices for scheduling user research sessions, reducing no-shows, and utilizing a user research CRM like Rally to simplify the process, ensuring more time can be dedicated to the research itself. Lauren Gibson 06/27

Speed up the UXR process by overcoming common hurdles
Learn how to speed up the user research process without compromising quality by exploring different research methods, determining levels of support, removing cognitive load, automating manual tasks, and working ahead in an agile environment. These strategies can help you deliver valuable results within tight deadlines while maintaining the rigor of your research. Nikki Anderson-Stanier 06/27

How to scale your UXR team for maximum impact
Scale your UX research team effectively with specialized roles like market research, research democratization, research operations, and survey research. Build a strong leadership team and break down organizational silos for impactful and strategic research. Andy Warr 06/27

What are you weighting for: A guide to weighting surveys for market research
Weighting surveys is crucial for user research to ensure that the sample of respondents accurately represents the broader user population. This guide explains how weighting surveys can improve user research insights by creating representative profiles, eliminating misleading trends, and gathering insights across multiple target audiences using the same data. Soubhik Barari 06/27

Scaling a service quickly, with the help of user research
Scaling a digital service in the public sector comes with challenges of both scale and time. In this article, the author shares their approach to user research during the private beta phase, emphasizing the importance of method triangulation, being brave and trying new research methods, and being pragmatic by doing just enough research to gather insights and iterate effectively. Kate Stulberg 07/05

When user testing sessions bring up trauma
Conducting user interviews in sensitive areas like healthcare requires empathy and thoughtful consideration. This article offers actionable tips, including expanding pre-screening questions, using reflective language, reviewing prototypes for triggers, fostering rapport, involving colleagues, and following up with participants. Ally Tutkaluk 07/05

Evidence-based interviewing deep dive: The case against some common interview questions
Learn why collecting specific stories about past behavior is crucial in interviews and how to do it effectively. Discover why verbal reports often differ from actual behavior and how past behavior serves as a better indicator of future actions, along with tips to formulate insightful interview questions. Riikka Iivanainen 07/04

From archetypes to personas and mindsets (a compendium)
Archetypes, personas, and mindsets are often used interchangeably in user research, but understanding their differences is crucial for effective communication. Archetypes provide a collective definition of personality types, while personas reflect model examples of archetypes and are subject to bias. Mindsets shed light on a person's decision-making process, helping researchers and designers understand their needs. Joanna Jaoudie 07/01

Quantitative prioritization frameworks
Quantitative prioritization frameworks, such as RICE, Kano, opportunity scoring, story mapping, and cost of delay, offer valuable tools for product teams to make informed decisions about feature prioritization. These frameworks help teams assess and allocate priorities objectively, foster alignment, and save time and resources through data-driven decision-making. Abe 06/29

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

How UX research is changing the automotive landscape
Thomas Vöhringer-Kuhnt, Director of Advanced User and Product Research at Lotus Tech Innovation Centre, join host Julian Brinkley as they delve into the fascinating world of HMI/UX research, design, development, and prototyping. YouTube 07/01

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Harnessing AI to powerfully augment user research
Views on how a new generation of AI-based tooling can help us powerfully rethink, democratise and unlock the way product teams plan and conduct research with their users. Spotify Apple 06/29

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan