4 September 2012

Qualitative research, UX strategy and wicked problems

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These are the topics of the latest update on UX Matters:

Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative and Qualitative Research
By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain
Both qualitative and quantitative methods of user research play important roles in product development. Data from quantitative research—such as market size, demographics, and user preferences—provides important information for business decisions. Qualitative research provides valuable data for use in the design of a product—including data about user needs, behavior patterns, and use cases. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses, and each can benefit from our combining them with one another. This month, we’ll take a look at these two approaches to user research and discuss how and when to apply them.

UX Strategy: The Heart of User-Centered Design
By April McGee
Today, organizations interact with their customers through multiple digital channels such as call centers, mobile devices, applications, and Web sites. It is not enough to create a strategy for these channels from business, technology, and marketing perspectives. Rather, it is essential that an organization’s UX strategy be at the core of user-centered design. A UX strategy establishes goals for a cohesive user experience across all channels and touchpoints. The success of a UX strategy across multiple channels and offerings depends especially on identifying the business objectives of the channel leadership and relating them to the user experience, and understanding the overall ecosystem of the customer—in particular, what motivates them
Organizations must translate this information into a cross-channel user experience that meets the needs and aspirations of both its business and its customers.

Book Review: Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (Author: John Kolko)
Review by Arun Joseph Martin, Calvin Chun-yu Chan, Erico Fileno, Noriko Osaka, and Yohan Creemers
In this “Handbook & Call to Action,” Kolko introduces the idea of wicked problems—large-scale social issues that plague humanity, like poverty and malnutrition—then describes the role of design in mitigating these problems. Kolko points out that traditional approaches cannot deal effectively with complex social and cultural problems. Such wicked problems always interconnect with other problems, are costly to solve, and often lack clear methods for understanding and evaluating them.
Kolko suggests that it is possible to mitigate wicked problems through what he calls social entrepreneurship—entrepreneurship that aims to create social capital by adding value to the community rather than focusing only on creating economic wealth.

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