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 (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/03/choose-your-customers-first.html) “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 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 This course is open to all experience levels, but a baseline understanding of user experience (UX) principles is recommended.
We're Giving Away a Copy of Interviewing Users
Rosenfeld Media has generously donated a copy of Steve Portigal's new book Interviewing Users (http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/). Bring your business card for the drawing at end of class.
About the teacher:
Jess 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, and UX Camp Ottawa. 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.