UX Series: Understanding Audience Needs through User Research

This course will cover user research, a crucial part of the design process that allows you to understand your audience's needs before any design or development work begins. We'll primarily focus on user interview techniques, but we'll highlight other research methods as well.

When designing a site, app, or other piece of software, we often find ourselves wrapped up in opinion wars. We say things like “If I were the user, I would want a dropdown menu,” or “Of course the user needs to see all 100 widgets at once. Why would we show one at a time?”

But in reality, we are not our users. We’re biased about how technology works, and we very rarely share the same needs and context of our audience. To make matters worse, we often focus our efforts on features, design, and development techniques rather than the needs of our customers. No matter how beautiful or responsive our site is, the target audience will become frustrated or leave if it doesn’t meet their expectations.

What better way to understand your audience than to talk with them firsthand? Enter user research. Interviewing your target audience, a method of conducting user research, yields invaluable insight to their needs, pain points, and expectations. The recently popular Lean Startup movement encourages vetting ideas with your audience before any formal design begins. Seth Godin also says “Too often, we pick the product or service first... and then rush to market, sure that the audience will sort itself out. Too often, though, we end up with nothing.” The UX field has known the value of meeting your audience’s needs first and foremost for years.

In this course, we will cover:

• Why user research (particularly user interviews) is important

• Planning a user research study

• How to recruit participants from your target audience

• Conducting in-person vs. remote interviews

• Why you should compensate your participants, and how much

• We'll touch on usability testing, though we'll have a full course on usability testing later in the series

• Tools and technologies available for every budget

• Fitting user research into your process if you have little budget, time, or support

• Getting buy-in for user research from your colleagues and clients

We recommend Intro to User Experience (UX) as a prerequisite to this course. Otherwise a baseline understanding of user experience (UX) principles is recommended, but not required.

We're Giving Away Two UX Books

Rosenfeld Media has generously donated two user research books for this class: Interviewing Users and Remote Research. Bring your business card for a chance to win one of these books at the end of class.

About the teacher:

Jessica Ivins is a Philadelphia-based UX designer and researcher who speaks, writes, and volunteers for many things UX. She has spoken internationally at conferences such as SXSW, Midwest UX, IA Summit, UX Camp Ottawa, and UX Cambridge (UK). She’s the main organizer for UX Book Club Philly and served as an officer for PhillyCHI, Philadelphia’s UX community. Previously a senior experience designer at Happy Cog, she is now senior UX specialist at AWeber.

Refund policy: To receive a refund, we must be notified within 7 days of the event. If you have already paid and must miss the class for whatever reason, you can make it up again if it is offered with the same instructor. Please contact [masked] with refund or cancelation requests.


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  • Linsey

    Excellent venue- even better class! Looking forward to the next one.

    2 · May 6, 2014

    • Jessica I.

      Thanks Linsey! Glad you enjoyed it.

      May 6, 2014

  • Becky

    Haven't been to this site before. Any recommendations for parking?
    Thanks!

    May 2, 2014

    • Jessica I.

      Hi Becky, there's a parking garage above the Fresh Grocer about a block away. I'm away from my computer but I'll resend the welcome email tonight that has more details. See you soon!

      May 2, 2014

  • Kristi C.

    Would SO love to go to this, but have a must-go wedding to attend. Will catch the next time!

    1 · May 2, 2014

  • Becca N.

    I can't make it to this session either, but I would definitely attend if you offer it again. I really enjoyed the first UX session!!

    1 · April 28, 2014

    • Jessica I.

      Sorry we'll miss you. Hope to see you at the next one. :)

      April 28, 2014

  • Lauren G.

    I can't make this session, but would definitely take this class when offered again!

    1 · April 14, 2014

    • Jessica I.

      Sorry you can't join us. Hope to see you next time!

      April 14, 2014

Your organizer's refund policy for UX Series: Understanding Audience Needs through User Research

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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