User Research is Unnatural (But That's OK)

A session at IA Summit 2012

Saturday 24th March, 2012

9:00am to 9:45am (CST)

"From the perspective of a participant, user research is not very natural. We ask participants to try to act naturally in the artificial environment of a lab, or we impose ourselves on their environment and hope our presence doesn't affect their behavior. We often forget how unnatural user research can be and the negative effects it can have on participants.

In this presentation, we'll first examine the ways in which user research can be unnatural, such as the people recruited, the location of the research, the things we ask participants to do, the effects of thinking aloud, the effect of prototypes, recording, observation, and the interaction with the facilitator. Then we'll discuss ways to minimize or eliminate these unnatural aspects of user research, including recruiting better participants, minimizing the formality, setting the right expectations, minimizing the effect of observers and technology, and conducting more remote and natural research."

About the speaker

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Jim Ross

Design Researcher. I find out what people really need in order to make things better and easier to use. bio from Twitter

Next session in Empire II

10:15am Crowdsourced Unmoderated Usability Testing: How to Make it Work for You by Inge De Bleecker

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Time 9:00am9:45am CST

Date Sat 24th March 2012


Empire II, Hyatt Regency New Orleans

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