User Research War Stories with Steve Portigal

Public group
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Bizarre, hilarious, unbelievable. No matter how well planned or executed, we've all had days in the field where the inevitable mishaps ensue. Steve Portigal chronicled researchers' worst field days to uncover what we know and what we don't know about contextual research. Join Steve in uncovering the bizarre, comic, tragic and generally astonishing experiences that happen in the field.

Steve’s collection of stories fills a longstanding need for the design and research community; to share what can go wrong. For a practice that is not always well-understood or trusted, there’s pressure for us to only speak to the successes, but examining the human messiness of this work can help develop our skills and our community.

In this presentation, drawn from years of gathering war stories ( and his book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries (, Steve will share some of the best stories, examine patterns that emerged from them, and articulate the different lessons revealed by this large collection of stories. Then, Steve will lead an activity to help us extract the most valuable lessons from the stories he shared, as well as our own.


6:00 - 6:30: Networking & Socializing
6:45 - 7:30: Presentation
7:30 - 7:50: Workshop
7:50 - 8:15: Group Presentations
8:15 - 9:00: Networking & Socializing

About Steve Portigal:

Steve Portigal helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights. He is principal of Portigal Consulting (, and the author of two books: The classic Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights ( and new, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories ( He’s also the host of the Dollars to Donuts podcast (, where he interviews people who lead user research in their organizations (including Citrix, Airbnb, eBay and Pinterest). Steve lives in a small coastal town just outside of San Francisco and actively seeks out new ramen restaurants.

Food, Beverage and Venue Sponsor:

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Event Sponsor:

Hopscotch Labs is your consumer engagement partner. We help businesses
leverage human experiences to build better products and services. An innovation consultancy, Hopscotch Labs utilizes human-centered research to uncover hidden opportunities; and design thinking to connect business offerings more meaningfully with consumer needs. Each engagement builds significant improvements to core business and product offerings. Get closer to your customer.

For more information about Hopscotch Labs, visit them at ( or follow them on Twitter (