Introduction to UX Research: Fundamentals of Contextual Inquiry
Introduction to UX ResearchFundamentals of Contextual Inquiry Marc Niola UX Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
Why UX Research is Important• Users often use products in the most unintend- ed way: Can be a source of innovation• When user research is part of the design process it tends to breakdown silos: Create the co-create• Market studies and surveys have its limits: Putting user research into context is essential• Talking to users can prevent bias: You are not the user
Biases In Usability Testing• Hawthorne Effect • "If youve asked me about – People behavior different it, it must be important“ when being observed – People will over think opinion• Task-Selection Bias a certain question – People make assumptions • Note Taking• Social Desirability – Heightens peoples self- consciousness – People don’t like to look bad• Availability • Tech-Savvy – People’s technical ability – Optimal sample population varies greatly often unavailable, can skew result • Recency & Primacy Effects• Honorariums – People tend to weigh recent events more than earlier – Can motivate people to cheat events or over perform* Every study has bias, but that doesnt mean its not worth doing
Why UX Research is Essential• Helps frame the context: the Where, When and How• Helps frame the user: the Who• Helps frame product objectives with user needs: the So What
Research Objectives• Understand how the user actually uses product in real-world situations, not stimulations• Identify source areas that advance and inhibit efficiency and frustrations• Understand social and work environmentDiscoveries made during the research processshould inform and shape the design anddevelopment process.
Research helps identify user needs• How do users accomplish goals: what tools, work-arounds and method do they use.• What are the constraints and affordances of the environment the user exist in.• How do the needs of the user effect their temperament and ability to cooperate.• Learn by watching: how do users currently accomplish their tasks.
What is Context Inquiry• Context Inquiry is of on-site data collection method used to better understand users’ motivations, desires, intents, and strategies in order to design products and systems that meet both users’ and business’ objectives.• Contextual inquiry reveals what people actually do, why they do it that way, latent needs, and core values. - incontextdesign.com/contextual-design.com
Benefits & Limitations of Contextual Inquiry Benefits Limitations • Helps identify behavior • Intrusive to participant/user patterns • Time-consuming • Helps to make and validate • Travel involved design decisions • Smaller sample size does • Helps reach optimal design not provide statistical solution faster and cheaper significance • Helps build rapport and • Data analysis can be time understanding of actually consuming users • Resource- • Helps build effective personas intensive, expensive
The How to CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY• Recruit: who is the audience;• Plan: what is your focus;• Observe: learn by watching;• Analyze: look for patterns and outliners;• Evanglize the finds: champion findings, but don’t fall in love with them – data is dynamic;• Iterate: interval depends, but creating a continuous feedback loop between users is ideal.
The When to CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY• At the beginning of most projects Contextual Inquiry is an essential process that establishes a customer/user feedback loop with dev team that helps validate difficult design decisions.• The feedback loop provides the dev team with direction, insights and barometer for progress during the project.
Before you leave the officeContextual Inquiry Fundamentals:• Take some time to get to know test participant before meeting: aim to relax participant so they act as natural as possible• Establish rapport and communication styles with test participants: small talk, build trustInquiry process should be motivated by theparticipant’s work and process and not a pre-arranged script of questions.
Engagement Approaches• Master/apprentice – The participant is the master and interviewer is the apprentice eager to learn their craft• Partnership Approaches – Interviewer follows participant, and helps to to Adopt facilitate the demonstration of hidden or obvious sources of work flow• Interviewer/interviewee – Interviewer arrives with list of questions and proceeds to systematically ask participant for answers Approaches• Expert/novice to Avoid – Participant is the established expert and interviewer is passive neophyte
Stages of Inquiry Process: Intro | Observation | Wrap-upBreak the ice – Build rapport and trust quickly – Set a pleasant and relaxed toneBe conscious of body language – Limit negative signals to user – Emphasize interviewers roleBe flexible – Be prepared for curve balls once on-site – Users can be nervous about session and exhibit unusual behavior, try to relieve the stress
Stages of Inquiry Process: Intro | Observation | Wrap-up• Ask for demonstrations not explanations during moments of frustration and delight• Observe the social and physical environment• Observe the work flow participants use to accomplishes taskRecord observations (LiveScribe for combiningaudio recording with note-taking)
Stages of Inquiry Process: Intro | Observation | Wrap-upEnding the session – To close the session, ask questions that were saved during the session that would have unnaturally disrupted the work flow. – Summarize the insights learned for participant to clarify or correct – Ask participant how they felt during the interview and what could be done to improve session.
Analysis Interpreting • cc the data‘It’s not the facts that matter… It’s the interpretation of the facts’ - incontext
Interpreting the DataDo not take participants words on face value – Most people know what they want, they just have a hard time explaining it.Analyze and synthesis data(audio, video, notes, interview questions) and lookfor connections that uncover why user exhibitedcertain behaviors – Focus on actual events (their sequence), non-verbal cues and tools used.Look for patterns and categorize into theme clusters
Affinity DiagramCollaborative Analysis with Affinity Diagrams
Team Analysis: Affinity DiagramsAffinity Diagrams help create collaborative teambrainstorming sessions. – By organizing field interview data into short narratives team members can discuss and organize data into meaningful relationships.Getting the dev team to collaborative discussuser needs and product challenges reducesdocumentation and deepens understanding.
Post AnalysisIn today’s information rich world the mostsuccessful teams are collaborative, multi-disciplinary and transparent. – Breaking silos and getting team members out from behind their desk and talking to one another helps boost productive by building cohesiveness, ownership and accountability.Giving teams boundaries on what to discuss alsohelps improve focus and manageability.
Thank you! Marc Niola UX Consultant email@example.com
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Introduction to User eXperience research with focus on stages of Contextual Inquiry process.