Living the Job >> Enterprise UX Research by Doing (vs. Observation)
21 Jan 2009 - 5:55pm
5 years ago
Does anyone out there have the experience of actually performing a given job
(for at least a day or three, perhaps longer) as a means of really
researching context, tasks etc.? Specifically, I am thinking of an
enterprise context, where the user doesn't have choice in tools, workflow
and there are some highly developed skills (ie more than the basic web
skills of an e-commerce user). Also, I am contrasting this approach to
on-site observation, empathic modeling and user role playing.
For example, working in a call center as a first line telephone customer
care agent. Sitting down with call center agent, getting some basic
training and having that person watch your back to prevent major
catastrophes, You answer calls, use the system(s) to retrieve and enter
information etc., essentially it is you performing the job.
This was something I though of proposing ages ago when I wanted to analyze
and model the work of a particular type of system analyst. It never came to
fruition (due mainly to technical skills gap, but also legal issues with
outsider using systems) and I ended up doing standard contextual
observations. It was great for insight into high-level aspects of the
product and job that had issues (most of which we were already aware of) but
not much nuance.
It is inspired by a story I heard (circa 2001?) about a financial analyst
getting a job at an Amazon.com warehouse as a means of gauging their
likelihood of hitting/exceeding their numbers.
There are a myriad of reasons not to do this, namely resource/time
constraints, but I am curious to see if other IxDers, particularly those
with a research bent have experience with this and could provide some input
on how it compares to CI. Of course input from people with no experience
is also welcome.
What context was this performed in? (Real vs. Realistic Simulation)
Did you have some basic, prior understanding of the domain?
Did you do training?
What did you call it? (methodology)
Was it disruptive to work setting?
Does it provide a level of insight worth the time/hassle of setting it up?