Discovery on a Budget: Part III

Rounding out her series of articles on how to conduct value-adding user research when resources are limited, Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek takes us on a journey through the results of the fake door A/B test set up in Part II. After shedding light on the darker side of surveys, and offering guidelines to maximize their value for minimum input, she concludes by touching on that that old favorite: how to know when the research is done and it’s time to start building.

Working with External User Researchers: Part II

Most people agree that it’s important to get feedback from users, but in reality, not everyone can afford a dedicated user researcher on their team. In this second and final installment on working with external user researchers, we focus on how to get things done once you’ve found the right person to bring onto your project. With these best practices around on-boarding and collaboration, you’ll be able to get the most value for your money, and get the most candid insights into what your users really think.

Designing for Research

Image quality may be about striking the balance between speed and quality, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. What if, despite having methods to develop better and better image experiences for the web, the user disagrees? In a quest to find answers, Jeremy Wagner takes us through an image quality study that he designs, develops, and iterates on with user feedback. Asking “Why?” is no easy undertaking in research. His lossy is your gain.

Discovery on a Budget: Part II

When it comes to evaluating the next “big idea”, not everyone has a pot of money, crowds of existing customers and a roomful of eager researchers and analysts. So in this second installment of her three-part series, Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek leads us through the next steps in budget-conscious discovery—analyzing the data gathered from initial research, refining the problem hypothesis, and setting up a fresh round of more-targeted research. For Meg’s fictitious startup, Candor Network, it’s clear that a new focus is needed …

Working with External User Researchers: Part I

So you need to bring on an external user researcher. How do you start? Authors Chelsey Glasson, Jeff Sauro, and Cory Lebson have run a user research agency, hired external researchers, and worked as freelancers. Via their different perspectives, they provide a solid guide to hiring researchers as contractors. Part I of two articles.

No More FAQs: Create Purposeful Information for a More Effective User Experience

Putting the right information in the right place to best support user (and company) goals requires carefully targeted content and good information architecture (IA) … and definitely no FAQs! However attractive the FAQ “solution” might seem at times, using it makes information hard to find, access and maintain, and generally hinders task completion. Discussing the limitations of—and alternatives to—FAQs, Lisa Wright is on a mission to banish them forever, or at the very least make them more effective if you have to include them.

Discovery on a Budget: Part I

“Discovery” is a key phase of design. It’s the starting point, where you define and clarify the problem you’re about to solve. For established or big businesses with dedicated budgets, teams, and customers to interview, the process is straightforward. But what about small companies, startups, and nonprofits that lack these resources? How can lean organizations participate in and benefit from discovery? Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek shows us, in Part I of “Discovery on a Budget.”

What the Failure of New Coke Can Teach Us About User Research And Design

Coca-Cola conducted extensive market research before launching New Coke in 1985, yet the product still turned out to be one of the great marketing failures of all time. Designer Adam Silver draws on Coca-Cola’s infamous blunder to offer some important lessons for conducting successful user research for websites and digital services.

Design, White Lies & Ethics

Most of us would say we’re honest in our designs—but what if tiny deviations from the truth made a design easier for users? What if usability testing showed that fibs in an interface actually helped users accomplish their goals? How can we keep design decisions from turning deceptive? Dan Turner shares the lessons learned from a recent design problem, and proposes a potential framework for working ethically with false affordances.

The Distance to Here

The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.