Evolving Best Practices For Doing In-Person UX Research During Covid-19

Last week, I talked about why I made the decision to accept in-person UX research again even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now in part two, after two weeks of in-person research, I'll go through my first pass at best practices for conducting individual research sessions in the hope that ...

By |2020-12-09T16:11:54-05:00July 26th, 2020|User Research|

Yes, I’ve again starting doing in-person UX research in the age of Covid-19

I’ve read several people’s posts over the past few months saying that no user researcher should do in-person user research until such time as the Covid-19 pandemic has ended. That remote research fully covers all needs until then. That researchers should make a choice not ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:39-05:00July 23rd, 2020|User Research|

When will it be time to resume in-person UX research?

As with probably most of my UX peers around the world, I’ve been working remotely and social distancing because of Covid-19 for about seven weeks now. In that time, I’ve felt very lucky, having managed to go entirely remote without more than perhaps a 10% ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:40-05:00May 4th, 2020|User Research|

In-person and remote interactions are not equal

Before saying anything else, I want to be clear that I’m biased. I love in-person interactions with people. Whether it’s user research or just working with colleagues, I’ll go the extra mile or two or a thousand (really!) to get in-person face time. There is a ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00September 12th, 2019|User Research|

Think about more than just your users: Practice nice UX

As user experience professionals, we’re a passionate lot. We care deeply about the user – the customers that we design for. We look for meaning. We feel empathy, sometimes painfully so. But in our drive to help those users have meaningful interactions with the products ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00March 4th, 2019|Advocating for UX, User Research, UX Career|

What does it mean to do an accessibility audit?

I got a request recently to price out an accessibility audit of a several thousand-page site. The expectation seemed to be that the entirety of the site would be reviewed in some fashion and then the site would be certified in some way to be ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00February 24th, 2019|Accessibility, Heuristic/Expert Review, User Research|

Appropriate expectations –> Happy stakeholders –> Successful usability testing

When I do usability testing, particularly with teams that have not been involved in the process before, I often find myself providing a mini lesson about what usability testing is (and is not!), how the process is going to work, and what they’re going to ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:41-05:00April 30th, 2018|Consulting, User Research|

Observing Usability Studies: A Guide for Stakeholders

One of the most exciting things for me when doing user research is having opportunities to interact with both stakeholders and participants in person. Thus, I gravitate to the kinds of projects where these interactions occur. Most frequently, at least some of the stakeholders who ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00April 9th, 2018|User Research|

How to moderate usability testing with simultaneous translation

In the decades that I’ve done user research, nearly all of my research has been conducted in English. While I’ve done some research in other countries and with products in other languages, either the product itself was still an English-language product or, when I didn’t ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00January 20th, 2018|Consulting, User Research|

Want good usability testing data? Make sure that your participants are comfortable!

“You created a bad survey!” exclaimed a participant as we started off day 1 of a recent usability study. I tried to explain gently that the web application she was working on wasn’t actually a survey we had created but the product we were testing, ...

By |2020-12-04T09:01:42-05:00August 2nd, 2017|User Research|

Research Recruitment Fail! Now what?

I largely do user experience (UX) research activities such as usability testing, cognitive walkthroughs, ethnography, interviews and focus groups all centered around how users and potential users would interact with existing, updated and new interfaces. Sessions and activities are typically scheduled to last about an ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00April 3rd, 2017|Consulting, User Research|

User Error and the UX Implications of Elon Musk’s Brain Implant Ambitions

I’ve been impressed over the years by how Elon Musk consistently seems to achieve his goals, be it with Tesla, Solar City or Space X, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see his new startup, Neuralink, produce as promised. But that scares me. I’ve spent ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:32-05:00March 28th, 2017|User Research|

Race and gender as usability testing screening filters?

Most qualitative usability testing studies that I do involve the creation of a screener early on in the research process. The screener is the product of a necessary effort to determine not only who specifically the expected users are of a product, but also how ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00June 6th, 2016|Consulting, User Research|

UX Magazine – AI Bots and User Research: Adapting Our Methods

Over the years, I’ve heard the same question again and again each time a new type of consumer technology starts trending and becoming part of popular culture: “So,” someone asks, “how is this going to change how you do user research?” I heard this question ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:34-05:00June 2nd, 2016|Posted elsewhere, Publication, User Research|

Don’t be a UX perfectionist. Just do your best.

In high school I was that kid that in theory was supposed to get top grades. I was serious in class, spoke intelligently and appeared studious. Yet my grades were not great – not terrible, just not what teachers were expecting of me.  The truth ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:36-05:00September 29th, 2014|Consulting, User Research|

How sophisticated should your usability test participants be?

Recently I had the opportunity to do a usability test for a client that had previously used another vendor to conduct their research.  As we were working together to develop screening categories for the study, we discussed the technological sophistication of their users. They knew ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:36-05:00June 16th, 2014|User Research|

Quirk’s Marketing Research Media – What Qualitative and UX Researchers Can Learn From Each Other

Article Abstract: This article focuses on how user experience research is unique in the marketing research space and why qualitative researchers must understand the differences to succeed in usability testing. While both marketing research and user experience (UX) research certainly add commercial value, marketing research ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:37-05:00March 24th, 2014|Posted elsewhere, Publication, User Research|

Focus Groups are useful for UX research – to a point

Focus groups, often maligned within the field of user experience for not being able to get the “right” information, are actually a great way to collect information.   But as a tool, the value of focus groups is limited to only certain types of information gathering.  ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:38-05:00March 13th, 2014|User Research|

My Most Memorable Usability Test Participants

I’ve been working with participants in usability studies and other research for nearly 20 years now. I’ve met a myriad of interesting people: some had backgrounds or interests similar to my own, and others had vastly different backgrounds. I have learned a great deal from ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:40-05:00October 18th, 2013|User Research|

The Value of User Research for Accessibility Evaluation

A few years after Section 508 (web accessibility of US Federal sites) became an enforceable law in 2001, government agencies were very interested in having blind users actually try out their web pages to see if the pages were accessible. I remember 2004 – 2005 ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:40-05:00October 15th, 2013|Accessibility, User Research|

Ignite Talks, Jello and Flexibility in User Research: UXPA 2013

At the UXPA 2013 conference that took place three weeks ago here in DC, I got to do my first Ignite talk thanks to Jonathan Strohl and Jen Romano Bergstrom who pulled me into a Fors Marsh led session on research methods. What is Ignite? ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:41-05:00July 30th, 2013|Speaking, User Research, UXPA|

Intercom Magazine – Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of User Research

As a consultant specializing in user research, studying how users interact with Web and mobile resources, I wish I could give my clients a short contract to sign promising that if they work with me, they will definitely incorporate usability into their project. They will ...

Usability: What a Project Manager Needs to Know – Part 2

Update 3/29/13 This blog has been the basis for: Lebson, Cory. 2012. "Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of User Research (PDF)." Intercom Magazine. October 2012. Lebson, Cory. "Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of User Research." Society for Technical Communication (STC) ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:45-05:00February 21st, 2012|Advocating for UX, Project Management, User Research|

Usability: What a Project Manager Needs to Know – Part 1

Update 3/29/13 This blog has been the basis for: A reprint on usability.gov (May 28, 2014) Lebson, Cory. 2012. "Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of User Research (PDF)." Intercom Magazine. October 2012. Lebson, Cory. "Making Usability a Priority: Advocating for the Value of ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:45-05:00February 8th, 2012|Advocating for UX, Project Management, User Research|

If I could just pick one usability participant for the client to observe, who would I pick?

How many sessions should a stakeholder observe? In an ideal world, the stakeholder would be able to observe all of the usability test sessions live. The stakeholder would get to see those that succeed with ease, and those that may have a fair bit of ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:46-05:00January 4th, 2012|User Research|

Importance of a Good Logger in Qualitative Research

A usability test, user interview, or any one-on-one qualitative research really isn’t entirely one-on-one, at least not in an ideal setup. Ideally, it involves two research staff members to do research with a single participant – a moderator and a logger. A focus group should ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:46-05:00December 23rd, 2011|User Research|

How do you convince them to see the world through a different lens?

A friend asked me if I could take a quick look at a web interface that he was building. I reviewed the site and emailed him a few usability suggestions to consider. The suggestions basically focused on his approach to include a number of additional ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:46-05:00December 12th, 2011|Advocating for UX, User Research|

Usability as Sociology: How the Perspectives of Tornado Survivors Differ from those of Other Major Disasters

My initial training in usability occurred during my undergraduate years, within the framework of my bachelor’s degree in psychology. The research methodology that was applied to usability fit well within an experimental psychology approach. After graduating with my psychology degree, I decided to pursue a ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:46-05:00August 14th, 2011|Disaster UX, User Research|

User Research and Emotional Awareness

Although I interned in a usability lab while a psychology undergrad at University of Maryland, my undergraduate senior honors thesis was actually in the field of cognitive neuropsychology. Specifically, I conducted in-depth qualitative research on patients with frontal lobe damage, focusing on their ability (or ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:47-05:00May 16th, 2011|User Research|

On the Importance of Body Language in User Research

I love interacting with people but have never particularly enjoyed those interactions when over the telephone.  No matter how clear the voice on the other end is, no matter how great it is to catch up with someone, I still have the vague impression of ...

By |2020-12-04T09:08:48-05:00February 15th, 2011|User Research|
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