“Informal economies are society’s sandbox, where early experimentation can take place freely. In the same way that thoughtless acts inspire us to rethink products and services, the way people conduct everyday business outside traditional legal frameworks forces us to rethink entire societies. Free from political and institutional constraints, informal entrepreneurs can respond to needs on the ground and challenge the status quo. Their patterns of innovation are particularly hard to replicate in formal organizations because they also tend to innovate out of necessity.
This is why informal economies are the world’s biggest opportunity for design research, and yet we walk right by them every day.”
Posts in category 'User research'
Julie Marie Norvaisas and Jonathan “Yoni” Karpfen of LinkedIn’s User Experience Design (UED) Research Team share how their team discovers and uses “little data” to inform and inspire, in the context of a company driven by “big data”.
“LinkedIn’s User Experience Design (UED) Research team is relatively small. The data we gather is even more drastically outnumbered. LinkedIn’s design and product development process is steeped in behavioral data, real-time metrics, and predictive models. Working alongside teams generating and focused on big numbers, our group of qualitative researchers helps decision makers understand how our products fit into members’ lives, envision future experiences, and take a peek behind the numbers.”
Julie Norvaisas is the Manager of User Experience Research at LinkedIn. while Jonathan (Yoni) Karpfen is a Senior User Experience Researcher at LinkedIn.
Last week I was at Toronto’s OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design – University), where Suzanne Stein showed me around in her Super Ordinary lab. One hidden gem was hanging on the wall, but it is luckily also available online: an online tool for design research techniques for every stage of the process.
The framework is divided into six key phases of research process. Clicking each phase shows all the techniques that are used within that phase and clicking each technique shows its synopsis, full description, case study and useful references.
It should be beneficial to researchers who is particularly planning a study, designing a methodology or writing up a thesis.
It was produced by CFC Medialab as part of the IdeaBoost Accelerator in conjunction with Professor Suzanne Stein of OCAD University.
Earlier in 2014, two consecutive Mondato Insights examined the role of Human Centered Design (HCD) in enhancing the user experience and closing the gap between registered and active users of Mobile Money.
In the six months since then, reports Mondato, the value of the HCD approach in creating MFS (Mobile Financial Services) products that meet the needs of, and are attractive to, low-income customers has further been highlighted by a number of research projects in Southeast Asia. Once again, many of the assumptions made by MFS providers about the market segments they hope to target have been challenged, showing that significant knowledge gaps persist between providers and potential customers, and these must be addressed by anyone hoping to create attractive value propositions for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) consumers.
“Central to the HCD approach are deep dive interviews that seek to understand BoP customers not merely as individuals, but as the totality of their relationships as members of families, communities and business networks. Interviews take place in a very unstructured fashion, allowing free-flowing discussion that gives subjects the confidence and space to express themselves in their own terms, without the potential for design bias that formal questionnaires carry with them. The goal of the research is to form a number of “personas”, which are representative of market segments, and to identify what are their needs.”
If Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design, could achieve one thing with her time here on earth, Ishemight be content if that one thing could be burning to the ground the practice of running focus groups in place of actual user research.
“A focus group is an artificial construct that is so much about the group dynamic. No one buys shoes, cooks dinner, votes, banks, or even buys movie tickets sitting at a table under florescent lights while engaged in a moderated group discussion. I am certain a lot of productive work takes place sitting around tables at Starbucks with homogenous groups of random strangers, but none of them are interacting with each other. Unless you are designing something for use in a focus group, focus groups are absolutely meaningless as an ethnographic research tool.”
Dan Perkel of IDEO Labs shares how he and his colleagues use digital methods and tools to enhance the research process in five distinct activities:
– Exploring the terrain and seeking quick inspiration
– Recruiting research participants
– Obtaining deep insights into people’s lives and everyday contexts
– Eliciting feedback on concepts, insights, or value propositions
– Analyzing and synthesizing research
Perkel describes 16 tools in total.
Today, music is as emotionally relevant as ever – and consumers have a myriad of ways to experience it, from streaming and downloading to live concerts and more. Thanks to social media, fans also have unprecedented access to their favorite artists.
Given these changes in the music landscape, the Music Group, which includes MTV, VH1 and CMT, conducted research into the “Music Experience,” taking a deep look into the ever-evolving process of discovering and obtaining music among teens, 20- and 30-somethings, as well as what the fan-music-artist connection looks like in 2014.
The study is based on a quantitative survey with more than 1,200 participants 13-40 years old; “blographies” with 34 participants; secondary research; as well as check-ins with proprietary panels and Facebook groups.
As healthcare shifts from the hospital to the home, design research must also morph to keep up, writes Shana Leonard.
Who is the typical user of your medical product and what is the use environment? These used to be easy questions for medical device companies to answer. But the increasing shift in healthcare from the hospital to the home has many designers scratching their heads in response.
As the industry adapts to serve these new stakeholders, the focus on user-centered design, observational research, human factors engineering, and generally designing with the user in mind is becoming increasingly critical in order to ensure compliance, minimize risk, and promote market adoption. Designers must be creative and nimble in the face of these complex new challenges.
UX teams are responsible for creating desirable experiences for users. Yet many organizations fail to include users in the development process. Without customer input, organizations risk creating interfaces that fail, writes Hoa Loranger of the Nielsen Norman Group.
“User experience cannot exist without users. Creating user interfaces involves intricate and complex decisions. User research is a tool that can help you achieve your goals.
Even the most well thought out designs are assumptions until they are tested by real users. Different types of research can answer different types of questions. Know the tools and apply them accordingly. Leaving the user out is not an option.”
The World Economic Forum has released three new reports on strengthening trust, transparency and privacy in personal data usage.
Rethinking Personal Data: A New Lens for Strengthening Trust, prepared in collaboration with A.T. Kearney, looks at how to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of personal data. It argues that a user-centred approach is the best way of achieving this. Individuals must have more of a say in how their data is used and should be able to use the data for their own purposes.
Supporting this analysis are two quantitative studies that look at the issues of trust, privacy and framework through the eyes of users. Rethinking Personal Data: Trust and Context in User-Centred Data Ecosystems, an empirical study across different countries, examines the importance of context-aware data usage and how it impacts trust.
The Internet Trust Bubble: Global Values, Beliefs and Practices uses the results from a survey of 16,000 respondents to assess the attitudes and behaviour of internet users globally.
NAACE, a UK association of educators, technologists and policy makers who share a vision for the role of technology in advancing education, has published two studies on the role of tablets in secondary school education:
Evolving Pedagogies for Mobile Technology in Schools
A study of how tablets are being used in schools by Naace on behalf of Besa (British Educational Suppliers Association)
This project was not a large scale research project but provides an insight into how tablets are being used in school and the direction of travel that pedagogies take within the first year of tablet implementation. Check out the summary of the findings and the full study.
The iPad as a Tool for Education
A study of the introduction of iPads at Longfield Academy, Kent
In the first two terms of implementing an iPad programme, Longfield Academy in Kent have noticed a great impact on teaching and learning. The research was carried out on behalf of Naace and supported by 9ine consulting.
TABLETS FOR SCHOOLS
Check also these downloads from Tablets for Schools, a UK charity that presents itself as being “supported by industry leaders in education and technology” and “believes in the transformative effect of tablets on teaching and learning, aiming to share best practice about implementing and using tablets successfully in the classroom.”
Stage 3 Research Report
This report attempts to quantify some of the findings in the previous reports. The Stage 3 objectives were to examine teacher, student and parent engagement, and impact on pedagogy. The research also measured teacher, student, and parent perception of benefits and drawbacks, in addition to reviewing the process of introducing tablets, and summarising the global picture of the use of educational tablets.
19 case studies on the introduction of one-to-one tablets in UK schools
In spring 2013, Family Kids and Youth identified a total of 24 secondary schools across the UK that had introduced or were in the process of introducing one-to-one Tablets. These included the schools from Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the research. Twenty-one of these schools responded to a comprehensive online questionnaire. Twenty schools allowed our team of researchers to visit them and during these visits interviews were carried out with Leadership and ethnographic observation was carried out in classes that were using one-to-one Tablets. From these interviews and observations, and the completed questionnaires, as well as on-going dialogue with the schools, nineteen individual case studies have been compiled.
Updated Literature Review on the Use of Tablets in Education
14 April 2014
An increasing number of publications have debated the effects these devices have on teachers and pupils. The following report, carried out by independent researchers Family, Kids & Youth, updates the findings from previous publications and discusses the findings from recent studies, as well as the limitations of the research to date. It also discusses how tablets in particular contribute to learning benefits as well as the issues surrounding tablet use in different educational contexts ranging from nurseries to universities.
Facebook recently made profiles more “contextual” on their iOS app, writes John Paul Titlow in Fast Company. That means that like Google searches or other personalized experiences, Facebook profiles will now appear differently based on who’s viewing.
“We wanted to know what people find useful when they look at their friends’ profiles.” says Facebook UX researcher Shivani Mohan. “And what do they not find very useful? When people are going to the profile of a person who is not their friend, we wanted to know the same thing.”
To figure out the look and feel of these dynamic layouts, Mohan and her team did tons of user research, both digital and analog. Here’s what they learned.
Criticizing Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs is like speaking out against motherhood and apple pie, writes marketing consultant Ron Shevlin. Yet, he says, there are (at least) two problems with the “voice of the customer” that many marketers don’t take into consideration:
1. It’s not really the customer’s voice.
The prompts included in survey questions may or may not reflect what respondents really think or what they’ve done. They often select a prompt because it most closely matches the answer they want to give. Given the opportunity, they might describe it differently.
If that wasn’t bad enough, market researchers take the linguistic limitations they create, then go and misinterpret the responses.
2. Customers don’t always have a voice to contribute.
Market researchers routinely ask consumers “what influenced you to buy this product?”
Often, consumers don’t really know what influences their decisions. Even when we think we know, we often lie to ourselves–as well as to researchers–about those reasons because we don’t want to appear (even to ourselves) to make decisions for the wrong reasons.
In conclusion, What we really need to focus on is understanding the gap between voice and behavior. That is: Why do consumers say one thing, yet do another?
Only a few years ago, the corporate view of retirement planning at San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank tended to focus on dollars and cents — how much an individual needed to invest, by when and for how many years,” write Julien Cayla, Robin Beers and Eric Arnould, authors of the article “Stories That Deliver Business Insights,” in the Winter 2014 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review. This segmentation did not account for context such as whether a person was inclined to think about long-term financial goals.
“As part of an ethnographic project commissioned by the bank, researchers had customers walk through a life timeline and recount activities they engaged in that related to retirement planning in each decade of their lives — their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond,” write the authors. The stories showed that baby boomers faced “a complex phenomenon of continually negotiated personal travails and marketplace dynamics.”
As a result of what they heard, the Wells Fargo team reworked how they think of customers. The bank developed a behavior-based segmentation that divided retirement approaches into three groups — Reactor, Pooler and Maximizer. […]
As a result, the bank adjusted its marketing strategy and “designed its retirement planning site to include the various life stages used in the ethnographic research to convey the message ‘we meet you where you are’ and provide relevant, unintimidating guidance — as opposed to producing numbers-dense material filled with endless financial projections.”
Lauren Ruiz of Cooper in San Francisco has published two new instalments of the Designers Toolkit:
A Primer On Capturing Research
How you choose to conduct and capture your research will greatly impact your outcomes, and ultimately your client outcomes. I’m going to highlight a variety of research capturing tools, and then we’ll have a future post about how to effectively videotape research. Both the type of research you’re conducting and its purpose will help you decide which capture method is best.
A Primer On Using Video In Research
How can you effectively use video in your research without influencing the participants?
Here are some tips and tricks to minimize the impact of using video in research engagements. Keep in mind, these tips are focused on conducting research in North America—the rules of engagement will vary based on where you are around the world.
The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems
by Christian Madsbjerg, Mikkel Rasmussen
Harvard Business Review Press
2014, 224 pages
Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning.
In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the business world’s assumptions about human behavior and show how these assumptions can lead businesses off track. But the authors chart a way forward. Using theories and tools from the human sciences—anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology—The Moment of Clarity introduces a practical framework called sensemaking. Sensemaking’s nonlinear problem-solving approach gives executives a better way to understand business challenges involving shifts in human behavior.
This new methodology, a fundamentally different way to think about strategy, is already taking off in Fortune 100 companies around the world. Through compelling case studies and their direct experience with LEGO, Samsung, Adidas, Coloplast, and Intel, Madsbjerg and Rasmussen will show you how to solve problems as diverse as setting company direction, driving growth, improving sales models, understanding the real culture of your organization, and finding your way in new markets.
Over and over again, executives say the same thing after engaging in a process of sensemaking: “Now I see it . . .” This experience—the moment of clarity—has the potential to drive the entire strategic future of your company. Isn’t it time you and your firm started getting people right?
Christian Madsbjerg is one of the founding partners of ReD Associates, an innovation and strategy consultancy. Madsbjerg advises the executive suite of many Fortune 300 companies on top-level strategic issues, integrating sophisticated techniques traditionally used in the human sciences into each company’s problem-solving processes. His work has had a significant impact in the market for each of his clients, and he is known for debunking more traditional market research practices.
Mikkel B. Rasmussen, also a founding partner of ReD Associates, is an expert in innovation and business creativity. As the director of ReD Associates Europe, he works closely with the top management of some of Europe’s most forward-looking companies, including Adidas, LEGO, and Novo Nordisk.
Experientia has lately been doing a lot of work on mobile OSes, from feature evaluations of some of the more interesting new arrivals, to comparisons of some of the classics. We have also conducted user research into people’s behaviours and attitudes to OSes, exploring their relationships with mobile phones, internet, brands, and with OSes themselves.
In 2013, Experientia worked with Mozilla’s User Experience Research team as they prepared to enter new, emerging markets with FireFox OS. Experientia led an ethnographic research project exploring mobile and internet behaviours in Poland and Hungary. The project involved observation, shadowing and interviews in the two Central European countries.
In keeping with their open source roots, the Mozilla team has shared some key insights from these intriguing emerging markets in a three part blog series on mobile behaviours in Poland and Hungary. Among other insights, the project discovered a uniquely Hungarian mobile culture, where traditions of close family networks and group buying have left a legacy of complicated mobile contracts and ownership
Mozilla blog posts:
- Mobile Research in Hungary: Five Highlights from the Field
by Bill Selman, Mozilla User Researcher
- Poland & Hungary Series #1: Understanding how people use their mobile phones
by Dominik Strohmeier and Lindsay Kenzig, Mozilla User Researchers
- Poland & Hungary Series #2: The Phone is in My Life, not My Life is in the Phone
by Lindsay Kenzig and Dominik Strohmeier, Mozilla User Researchers
Qualitative 360 Asia Pacific 2013 took place in Singapore in November 2013, and some videos are now available:
Winning with shoppers via qualitative research [23:57]
Michael Biscocho, Consumer and Market Knowledge Manager, Procter & Gamble
• Leveraging qualitative techniques to complement quantitative methods in consumer behavior
• Exploring FMCG consumer decision making through qualitative research engagement
• Harnessing different methodologies of qualitative research to gain better understanding of market trends
• Implementing qualitative methodologies as part of overall research to develop retail strategies
Taking qualitative research to the cloud [33:38]
Jasmeet Sethi, Regional Head of ConsumerLab, Ericsson
• Learning the art of how to transform qualitative research from a 12 year old kid.
• How could you build and run on-demand insight communities with zero investment?
• Case study from Ericsson on the first ever ‘Over the Top Qualitative Research’
Tapping into the informal economy to create new opportunities for innovation. A case study in recycling and push cart aunties [24:45]
Juliana Koh, Director, Consumer Faces
Manisha Dikshit, Managing Director, Consumer Faces
• Informal economy is a large contributor to the global economy and presents several opportunities/learning for the commercial world
• This paper presents a case study to understand the role of informal economy and how it can be applied in commercial businesses
• The paper further provides pointers on how the corporate/formal world can implement this
Achieving maximum insights from challenging consumers using ethnography for product development in China and Vietnam [27:38]
Christelle Michon, APAC Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager, Symrise
• Understanding the culinary habits of low income consumers in Vietnam through ethnography
• Observing the fun and excitement of kids related to foods in China
• Benefits and challenges of using ethnography: what were the lessons learned?
• How actionable insight were achieved and used for new product development in Symrise
Exploring the meaning of digital: a case of ethnographic research on mobile life in Singapore [26:33]
Masao Kakihara, Senior Research Manager, Google
• How Google does research globally and locally
• Making sense of the meaning of digital life in Asia
• Methodological challenges in the age of big data
Great Wall, Great Reward: finding design-actionable insights for medical devices in China [28:43]
Tico Blumenthal, Global Customer Insights Manager, Medtronic
• Learn how qualitative research is used to drive applied medical device innovations
• Hear a thought-leader introduce examples of how medical devices can be optimized for Chinese customers
• Understand the designer’s viewpoint when filtering observational data
• Hear about some of the unique challenges doing qual. in China
• Tips and tricks for getting better insights
Performance discovery project: emerging market update [25:31]
Ajay Mohan, Director of Partner & Web Marketing APAC, Intel
• Understanding what “performance” means to customers and how they respond to advertising and branding
• Using visualisation techniques to gain unarticulated emotional drivers and emotions behind “performance”
• Employing trained professionals to conduct “therapy” interviews across US, Brazil, China, Germany and India
• Discussing the outcome of the research: What have we learned and how new insights help answer business questions
Digital Qualitative: from add-on to core research [29:25]
Nehal Medh, Managing Director, Consumer Experiences, GfK
• Can online qual methods replace offline qual?
• What advantages do they offer?
• What are the pitfalls we should be aware of
• What are the best ways to engage and motivate the participants in an online qual research?
• Within online what potential does mobile qual research have?
• Going beyond the obvious online tools such as bulletin board, focus group?
Consumer understanding through unarticulated responses and points of expression [26:48]
Marilyne Chew, Head of Qualitative, Nielsen
• Understand how Neuroscience insights are working to make a discussion flow sharper and more precise
• Identifying ways Neuroscience and Qualitative works best together
• Overcoming the challenges of combining the two methodologies in a research study
What are the advantages and challenges inherent in working with children in the design process for creating games or apps? How do you stop them getting bored, and get useful information?
This case study by Monica Ferraro (a UX Researcher at City University London) looks in detail at a project that tried to do just that, and provides some handy tips at the end.
The case study builds on Ferraro’s dissertation, Designing applications for children, that she submitted as part of the Masters course in Human-Centred Systems at City University London in September 2012. For her dissertation, she worked with children aged 4-5 years old to design an iPad application to learn the names and sounds of the letters, and to read and spell simple words.
At the center of this kerfuffle is an anthropologist, Daniel Miller, his ethnographic research with teenagers in a small town in the UK, and a press report on a blog post about his research that went viral.
What’s exciting about this story — leaving aside the business implications for Facebook for a moment — is that we get to observe the treatment of qualitative research in its moment in the spotlight. It’s not pretty.
Much of the drama came from the manner in which it was reported, which certainly is worthy of some discussion. Most came to the story with hyped expectations. But there is more to the story. Namely, how qualitative aids decision-making by giving access to insights unavailable to quantitative.
Peter Spear revisits the story, and particularly the bias towards quantitative and against qualitative understanding in the modern business world.