Guerilla/DIY Usability & Ethnography Research- Lazyweb, advisement...

15 Oct 2008 - 4:39pm
5 years ago
13 replies
1314 reads
Nina Alter
2008

Hi Gang:

So, I'm working with a startup right now, that has zero funding (for
real, not because they don't understand/support design) for Usability
and User Research studies... and I'm trying to get creative with how
to gap this void, with tangible information of some sort.

Our users are in other countries- and as point-people there, I have a
few sales reps, tho that's it.

My immediate craving is to just get to know our users beyond our own
(and industry-wide) assumptions about them- and for Christmas, a
chewy Ethnography study falling out of the sky would shoot this
designer straight over the moon.

So I'm asking y'all here for suggestions/recommendations of resources
(books or online stuff) to help me develop some initial "getting-to-
know-our-users" work... and then guidance with how to collect/analyze/
assemble findings from mid-process usability studies. Initially I'm
thinking that surveys might be my only option in this- and
suggestions to help in composing/planning those would be awesome- as
would be other ideas of additional/alternate/better devices to employ.

I'm very lucky in that I've worked with some incredible individual
researchers and research firms over the last 5 years, and have
learned so much from them... but one of the greatest things I've
learned from all of my involvement with research/study projects, is
simply how little I really know at all.

Any suggestions, feedback, or guidance would be truly appreciated.

Thanks!!
: ) nina

Comments

16 Oct 2008 - 5:33pm
Steve Baty
2009

Nina,

I wrote a piece for UXMatters a little while back which might be of
interest, although it doesn't quite touch on your particular circumstance -
it may trigger some thoughts, though -
http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000287.php

One of the first things I suggest you do is to get a hold of any call-centre
logs from your various support areas. And talk to the sales reps with a
semi-structured interview.

It sounds like you'd have a difficult time getting an overseas trip
approved, so I'll leave that out for the moment.

However, try and get your sales reps to identify users - or potential
customers - who would be happy to talk to you about their decision-making
processes or experiences with the product itself. Then conduct a series of
phone interviews and work through the results as a purely qualitative
process.

This may help you target some specific research opportunities, and be in a
position to argue the case for that overseas ethnographic research project
:)

Steve

2008/10/16 Nina Alter <nina at bigwheel.net>

> Hi Gang:
>
> So, I'm working with a startup right now, that has zero funding (for real,
> not because they don't understand/support design) for Usability and User
> Research studies... and I'm trying to get creative with how to gap this
> void, with tangible information of some sort.
>
> Our users are in other countries- and as point-people there, I have a few
> sales reps, tho that's it.
>
> My immediate craving is to just get to know our users beyond our own (and
> industry-wide) assumptions about them- and for Christmas, a chewy
> Ethnography study falling out of the sky would shoot this designer straight
> over the moon.
>
> So I'm asking y'all here for suggestions/recommendations of resources
> (books or online stuff) to help me develop some initial
> "getting-to-know-our-users" work... and then guidance with how to
> collect/analyze/assemble findings from mid-process usability studies.
> Initially I'm thinking that surveys might be my only option in this- and
> suggestions to help in composing/planning those would be awesome- as would
> be other ideas of additional/alternate/better devices to employ.
>
> I'm very lucky in that I've worked with some incredible individual
> researchers and research firms over the last 5 years, and have learned so
> much from them... but one of the greatest things I've learned from all of my
> involvement with research/study projects, is simply how little I really know
> at all.
>
> Any suggestions, feedback, or guidance would be truly appreciated.
>
> Thanks!!
> : ) nina
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
----------------------------------------------
Steve 'Doc' Baty B.Sc (Maths), M.EC, MBA
Principal Consultant
Meld Consulting
M: +61 417 061 292
E: stevebaty at meld.com.au

UX Statistics: http://uxstats.blogspot.com

Member, UPA - www.upassoc.org
Member, IA Institute - www.iainstitute.org
Member, IxDA - www.ixda.org
Contributor - UXMatters - www.uxmatters.com

16 Oct 2008 - 10:39pm
Chan FoongYeen
2008

Contextual inquiry will be good. You should go to the field where the user
or your potential end user's environment (e.g. working place, community,
home, etc) to observe and conduct a face-to-tace interview with them.

You might get some result of what they really need, and you can come out
with something new to enhance their task, process, etc of how they are doing
things currently.

cheers,
CHAN, F.Y.

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 5:39 AM, Nina Alter <nina at bigwheel.net> wrote:

> Hi Gang:
>
> So, I'm working with a startup right now, that has zero funding (for real,
> not because they don't understand/support design) for Usability and User
> Research studies... and I'm trying to get creative with how to gap this
> void, with tangible information of some sort.
>
> Our users are in other countries- and as point-people there, I have a few
> sales reps, tho that's it.
>
> My immediate craving is to just get to know our users beyond our own (and
> industry-wide) assumptions about them- and for Christmas, a chewy
> Ethnography study falling out of the sky would shoot this designer straight
> over the moon.
>
> So I'm asking y'all here for suggestions/recommendations of resources
> (books or online stuff) to help me develop some initial
> "getting-to-know-our-users" work... and then guidance with how to
> collect/analyze/assemble findings from mid-process usability studies.
> Initially I'm thinking that surveys might be my only option in this- and
> suggestions to help in composing/planning those would be awesome- as would
> be other ideas of additional/alternate/better devices to employ.
>
> I'm very lucky in that I've worked with some incredible individual
> researchers and research firms over the last 5 years, and have learned so
> much from them... but one of the greatest things I've learned from all of my
> involvement with research/study projects, is simply how little I really know
> at all.
>
> Any suggestions, feedback, or guidance would be truly appreciated.
>
> Thanks!!
> : ) nina
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

16 Oct 2008 - 11:14pm
Nina Alter
2008

So... that's the problem: our users are in India and China, and
there's not a budget for me to fly out there and visit/observe. Hence
the quandry.

I fully agree with many of the direct suggestions that have been sent
to me, regarding personas- and the need to build 'em.

Problem is, that to build a persona, you need research about who the
person is- beyond your assumptions.

How to acquire that research, using sales-reps as my sole point-
people to do face-to-face interaction with folks, is my challenge.

Any further ideas would be deeply appreciated- thanks all, for the
wonderful ideas I've gotten so far!

:) nina

On Oct 16, 2008, at 8:39 PM, FoongYeen Chan wrote:

> Contextual inquiry will be good. You should go to the field where
> the user or your potential end user's environment (e.g. working
> place, community, home, etc) to observe and conduct a face-to-tace
> interview with them.
>
> You might get some result of what they really need, and you can
> come out with something new to enhance their task, process, etc of
> how they are doing things currently.
>
>
> cheers,
> CHAN, F.Y.

17 Oct 2008 - 2:27pm
Tom Neveril
2008

Nina,
I'm a brand strategist who has conducted several usability studies. Your instinct of wanting to sit with someone while they use the product is right on. The next best thing is to use the phone.
To understand more about their lives and what they're seeking from the product experience, ask them about their experiences. Keep in mind, actions speak louder than words. So focus on behavior. It's far more authentic than the overly rational way people describe their decision-making.

For product usability, try to remotely observe what the user is doing on their computer, while you are on the phone with them. Dell services all of their customers this way and it works quite well in that application. For research consider, for example:
http://www.techsmith.com/uservue.asp

For more details... tom@storybrandconsulting.com

17 Oct 2008 - 4:24am
schepop
2008

Hey Nina,

I have being reading and completing/or adapting this UCD tools
descriptions. Hopefully we (Industrial Design, TU Delft, NL) will have
a card format (Like IDEO ones:http://www.ideo.com/publications/item/ideo-method-cards/)
, based on this opensource data.

On this wiki, I guess you can find some tools to help you on context
mapping abroad with low tech solutions. As you don't have money to
invest, you could have help from students willing to do context
research in their home-countries.

I hope it can help you.

seeyaa,
Bernardo.

On Oct 17, 2008, at 6:14 AM, Nina Alter wrote:

> So... that's the problem: our users are in India and China, and
> there's not a budget for me to fly out there and visit/observe.
> Hence the quandry.
>
> I fully agree with many of the direct suggestions that have been
> sent to me, regarding personas- and the need to build 'em.
>
> Problem is, that to build a persona, you need research about who the
> person is- beyond your assumptions.
>
> How to acquire that research, using sales-reps as my sole point-
> people to do face-to-face interaction with folks, is my challenge.
>
> Any further ideas would be deeply appreciated- thanks all, for the
> wonderful ideas I've gotten so far!
>
> :) nina
>
>
> On Oct 16, 2008, at 8:39 PM, FoongYeen Chan wrote:
>
>> Contextual inquiry will be good. You should go to the field where
>> the user or your potential end user's environment (e.g. working
>> place, community, home, etc) to observe and conduct a face-to-tace
>> interview with them.
>>
>> You might get some result of what they really need, and you can
>> come out with something new to enhance their task, process, etc of
>> how they are doing things currently.
>>
>>
>> cheers,
>> CHAN, F.Y.
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

18 Oct 2008 - 8:59am
Alessandra Talamo
2008

Hi Nina,

maybe this could be useful for you just to start.
The idea of on line focus group (independently
from 3D environments)might be of help:

KATE STEWART AND MATTHEW WILLIAMS (2005)-
Researching online populations: the use of online
focus groups for social research - Qualitative Research-

Vol 5(4) pag.395-416.

it is not THE solution but maybe you might find some ideas.

good luck

Alessandra

At 23.39 15/10/2008, you wrote:
>Hi Gang:
>
>So, I'm working with a startup right now, that has zero funding (for
>real, not because they don't understand/support design) for Usability
>and User Research studies... and I'm trying to get creative with how
>to gap this void, with tangible information of some sort.
>
>Our users are in other countries- and as point-people there, I have a
>few sales reps, tho that's it.
>
>My immediate craving is to just get to know our users beyond our own
>(and industry-wide) assumptions about them- and for Christmas, a
>chewy Ethnography study falling out of the sky would shoot this
>designer straight over the moon.
>
>So I'm asking y'all here for suggestions/recommendations of resources
>(books or online stuff) to help me develop some
>initial "getting-to- know-our-users" work... and
>then guidance with how to collect/analyze/
>assemble findings from mid-process usability studies. Initially I'm
>thinking that surveys might be my only option in this- and
>suggestions to help in composing/planning those would be awesome- as
>would be other ideas of additional/alternate/better devices to employ.
>
>I'm very lucky in that I've worked with some incredible individual
>researchers and research firms over the last 5 years, and have
>learned so much from them... but one of the greatest things I've
>learned from all of my involvement with research/study projects, is
>simply how little I really know at all.
>
>Any suggestions, feedback, or guidance would be truly appreciated.
>
>Thanks!!
>: ) nina
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

--------------------------
Alessandra Talamo
Associate Professor

DIPARTIMENTO DI PSICOLOGIA DEI PROCESSI DI SVILUPPO E SOCIALIZZAZIONE

SAPIENZA - Università di Roma
Via dei Marsi 78, 00185 Roma
Tel. (+39) 06 49917671
Fax (+39) 06 49917652
alessandra.talamo at uniroma1.it543

IDEaCT Lab
http://www.sapienzainnovazione.com/eng/joint_dett.asp?id=12

20 Oct 2008 - 9:35am
Itamar Medeiros
2006

There was a recent article posted at GUUUI - The interaction Designers
Coffee Break (http://www.guuui.com/) called "How to get the most out
of your usability budget". Check out these tips:

1. Fix the basics by focusing on the main goals that the users are
trying to achieve
2. Learn to love paper prototyping
3. Test with fewer users
4. Shelve the 1-way mirror
5. Embrace remote testing
6. Get out of the office and you will find users everywhere
7. Eradicate pre-test bloopers with expert reviews
8. Create your own participant pool instead of hiring expensive
recruiting agencies
9. Skip the pointless tests where there isn't time to fix problems
anyway
10. Train your designers and engineers in the basics of usability

read on:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/guuui/~3/423065322/posting.php

{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
designing clear, understandable communication by
carefully structuring, contextualizing, and presenting
data and information

mobile ::: 86 13671503252
website ::: http://designative.info/
aim ::: itamarlmedeiros
skype ::: designative

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34403

20 Oct 2008 - 10:39am
Andy Polaine
2008

Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think is still one of my favourites and has
a great section on low-budget testing: http://www.sensible.com/

Best,

Andy

20 Oct 2008 - 6:04pm
Alla Zollers
2008

Hi Nina,

I would recommend that you actually try a mixed approach to get as
much data as possible.

1) Use screen sharing software (such as Silverback) and the phone to
talk to participants

2) After a few chats, come up with questions and send out a survey
(you can use SurveyMonkey to capture and analyze the results)

3) Consider recruiting users who currently live in your country but
have come from India or China. Students are always good for this :)
They can still provide you insights.

4) Interview the sales reps regarding the users. They actually have a
lot of insights from daily interaction and are a great source of
information.

Good luck!

Best,
Alla

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34403

21 Oct 2008 - 7:21am
Gustavo Gawry
2006

Bernardo,

Do you have any idea of when the TU Delft wiki of methods will be available?

I think that this resource might help you...
http://dpl.kaist.ac.kr/design-methodology/Main_Page

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 9:04 PM, Alla Zollers <azollers em gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Nina,
>
> I would recommend that you actually try a mixed approach to get as
> much data as possible.
>
> 1) Use screen sharing software (such as Silverback) and the phone to
> talk to participants
>
> 2) After a few chats, come up with questions and send out a survey
> (you can use SurveyMonkey to capture and analyze the results)
>
> 3) Consider recruiting users who currently live in your country but
> have come from India or China. Students are always good for this :)
> They can still provide you insights.
>
> 4) Interview the sales reps regarding the users. They actually have a
> lot of insights from daily interaction and are a great source of
> information.
>
> Good luck!
>
> Best,
> Alla
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34403
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss em ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Gustavo Gawry
User Experience Analyst
Voice: +55 21 9498-7923
Email: gustavogawry at gmail.com
Blog: http://gawry.com (in portuguese)
Twitter: gawry

21 Oct 2008 - 11:22am
Ian Fenn
2007

Hi,

On 20/10/2008 16:04, "Alla Zollers" <azollers at gmail.com> wrote:
> 1) Use screen sharing software (such as Silverback)

Silverback is a great screen capture application, but unless I'm mistaken, I
don't believe it offers screen sharing.

http://www.silverbackapp.com/

All the best,

--
Ian Fenn
Certified Usability Analyst
http://www.chopstixmedia.com/

This e-mail is [ ] bloggable [x] ask first [ ] private

21 Oct 2008 - 3:50pm
Alla Zollers
2008

Thanks for the correction Ian! Silverback is a screen *capture*
application.

If you are doing remote testing and have a Mac you can use iChat for
screen *sharing*. Other (pricey) screen sharing software include
GoToMeeting and UserVue.

Best,
Alla

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=34403

22 Oct 2008 - 1:13am
Andy Polaine
2008

Using ScreenSharing on Leopard or any other free VNC client (like
Chicken of the VNC) you can view a remote screen on any machine -
Windoze, Unix and Mac.

> If you are doing remote testing and have a Mac you can use iChat for
> screen *sharing*. Other (pricey) screen sharing software include
> GoToMeeting and UserVue.

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