Some tips for user research

  • Keep in mind this is a class project with very limited time. You might not be able to collect all the data you want. Some data is better than none. Even if you collect a lot of data, keep in mind you have to analyze it later, and that takes time, too! So, it might be ideal to conduct 12-20 interviews, but you probably should stop at about 6.

  • Take detailed notes during data collection, in addition to audio recordings. You will probably rely on your notes a lot, because you might not have time to transcribe your recordings. Transcription is very time consuming.

  • Remember to focus on understanding user behavior, but not asking people what they need, want, and how they would build it. It might be wise to run your interview questions by me. Your goal is to observe and understand human behavior very well so you can see opportunities for innovation.

  • DO take advantage of existing secondary research. Look at existing reports and data, and then conduct a bit of qualitative research so you can get a deeper understanding of the issues and gain empathy for the users. For example, I am sure there are reports about how young adults consume news, or about difficulties small businesses face. (I’m not sure on any research about Thirsty Thursday, but there must be something about what constitutes good campus life). Also, there is a lot of information about teaching and teachers and how they should teach things like modeling and simulation. Find some. Don’t reinvent the wheel! You can include a summary of this secondary research in your user research report, or allow it to inform the persona(s). Make sure you cite your sources.

  • In your user research, follow the steps you learned in class and cite your sources for the methods and processes you are using!

  • Do not let your assumptions get in the way. Avoid the risk of seeing what you want to see – especially if you think you already know how to solve problems you haven’t researched yet.

  • ASK ME QUESTIONS. I’m here to help. I believe there is value in you figuring things out, so try, but if you find that you are struggling too much, email me or ask me to a group meeting.

Finally, please remember that reading this blog as well as classmates’ blogs and commenting on them is a requirement of participation in this course. I think/expect that you read my posts within 1-3 days after I post them. Is that the case? Please let me know by interacting with this post as soon as you read it. It is important information and I need to know if you saw it. Like, rate, comment.

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