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🗞 UXR's "Wet Blanket" Reputation?

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
4 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?

Hello everyone! 🌞 This week, I'm writing to you freshly back from a trip to NYC, where I led some (3 in fact) workshops with my teams on YouTube. Despite the excitement, Lufthansa decided to spice things up by misplacing my luggage. Silver lining? I finally grabbed those waterproof running shoes I've been eyeing, just in time to ramp up my marathon training. I'm hopeful that Lufthansa will come through on their promise to reimburse them!

This week’s newsletter is packed with goodies like a chat with the legendary Steve Portigal, a seasoned expert who’s spent over two decades helping organizations refine their UX practices. Alongside, I've curated a selection of must-read articles, videos, and podcasts that tackle everything from overcoming UXR's "wet blanket" reputation to actionable advice on becoming a UXR consultant. Let’s explore these resources together and continue to push the boundaries of what we can achieve with User Research. 🐾 🏃‍♂️

Enjoy the read!
PS: Connect with me on LinkedIn if you haven't already! 😊

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

😌 Humans of User Research with Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal
Steve Portigal

Hi Steve, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a user research consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’ve run my own practice for more than 20 years. I help organizations to build more mature user research practices. I lead research studies, run workshops, and training sessions. I’ve written two books: the classic Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights (now in a second edition) and Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories. I also host the Dollars to Donuts podcast, where I talk with people who lead user research in their organization.

What aspect of your current job brings you the most satisfaction?
As much as I love that point in a research project where my brain lights up with a new insight or implication, the best part is when I can help (through deliverables, discussion, workshops, and so on) turn that same light on for my clients. Often their aha will build on mine, and that makes it even better.

If you could design a product for any fictional figure, who would you choose and why?
I don’t really want to design something for Murderbot, but I’d be interested in the research that would inform the design of Murderbot’s media browser. They use media in some ways that we recognize as familiar (as a way to retreat from the real world, especially when times are stressful, for example), but I assume that their overall mental model would challenge a lot of defaults. For SecUnit, is browsing enjoyable on its own? Do they manage their own index of what’s available, and what characters, moments, etc. are in any piece of content? What would discovery or serendipity look like for them? So many questions!

How can people learn more about you and your work?
I’m at and on LinkedIn.

Thank you, Steve!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

📚 Articles of the Week.

Overcoming UXR's "Wet blanket" reputation in the age of GenAI
User researchers are often unfairly pinned as being sticks in the mud. How can we evolve our roles in the fast-moving world of AI developments?. Karen Eisenhauer 02/06

How to create UX research benchmarks for your org
Learn how to prove the effectiveness of your research operations with practical benchmarks and actionable advice, enhancing your professional standing and personal wellbeing in the process. Mia Mishek 01/16

Immediate value of CX/UX Research, Part 1
Busting the myth on proving CX and UX value, this piece highlights the immediate impact of qualitative research and ways to identify research shortcomings during and after product releases. Debbie Levitt 02/02, Part1 Part 2

Designer-researcher collaboration during prototyping
Addressing challenges in designer-researcher collaboration during prototyping, this resource offers insights into enhancing communication efficiency and avoiding discrepancies, providing practical solutions for researchers and designers alike. Réka Pető 02/01

Studying users who switch products? Try jobs to be done
Many people misunderstand the best applications for the JTBD framework. These questions will set you on the right path. Nikki Anderson-Stanier 02/06

Best UX research courses
Surveying 327 UX professionals, discover the top eight recommended UX courses in this guide, offering actionable insights for skill enhancement in the field. 01/25

Is there pent-up demand for UX research?
Forecasting the 2024 job market using historical data and original research. Lawton Pybus 01/21

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

Do you want to be a UXR consultant?
Considering a leap into UXR consulting? Gain actionable insights on timing, part-time vs. full-time decisions, business building, branding, client selection, and pricing to guide your transition effectively. YouTube 01/26

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

AI and the Future of User Research
A Deep Dive with Kate Moran. Spotify Apple 02/01

Happy Researching,