Seeing the Elephant: Defragmenting User Research

by Lou Rosenfeld

10 Reader Comments

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  1. Good article, and I have encountered the same, where research becomes an end unto itself. But I feel the bigger issue with getting these Big Companies to even marginal experiences is implementation. This is not a rant about developers, but about higher level processes, and organizations. Many places I consult or have worked at, there is NO ONE who can champion, much less approve a project across the enterprise. No, not even the CEO, because if you get to chief officer level and they all nod, then it has to go operational, and operations are about money more than anything. While we can sneak in design exercises and pattern libraries, who is going to pay for implementing and maintaining Sitewide Search. I mean, not a common UI, but a single search server and experience. Not to mention making stores and bills and call centers and the 28 websites (as in, different domains, yes for a single Fortune 50 company) talk the same language. Etc.
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  2. Do you think a tool to manage different techniques in an integrated manner would help to see the full elephant? I mean something like this: UCDmanager
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  3. This is a great article.  Thanks for taking such time and thoughtful care to layout the common issues and suggested ways to address them. Just remembering that there is an elephant (bigger picture) is key to making all this great data and research work for the end goal of a better customer solution and experience.
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  4. Thanks Steve and Carey. I agree: how do you get someone to champion cross-silo initiatives? My only advice is to show decision-makers that user research is essentially where they get the evidence (which they’ve paid for) to make well-informed decisions. Looking at it that way, you might get them to see that if they were going to design this evidence-generating apparatus from scratch, it would look NOTHING LIKE the disorganized, disconnected dog’s breakfast of teams, methods, applications, and data stores that’s currently in place in their organizations. Really, they should be both horrified and embarrassed at what’s there now. Jordi, will have a look at your tool soon.
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  5. Lou,
    Thanks for the article. As for the cross-silo initiatives, I believe the only solution is to eradicate them, and that can only come from the top. Everyone has to be focused on the company’s raison d’être and not their own department objectives.
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  6. It is great article!
    Thank you for sharing.
    一番安い引越し業者
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  7. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!
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  8. THIS! I’m working on a post for my own blog and stumbled on this from Inbound.  Big Data comes with a lot of problems and the “bigger problem is fragmented data that comes from siloed user research teams.”  This is perfect and it happens far too often.
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  9. Your story about the Silicon Valley company with the well-staffed “trophy” teams of researchers was very poignant, and explains a lot. Samantha Starmer’s guerrilla methods have worked best for me…find the right people and get the conversation going informally. Look for opportunities to use your skills to make them look good and they’ll keep coming back for more.
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  10. user research makes impact only when the data is shared across organizations to build the big picture. Hoarding data in organizational silos is detrimental to the cause of building great experiences
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