(Newsletter #14)

On my latest client project, we experienced the typical madness around recruiting. The people we thought we set out to find didn’t define themselves the way we did, resulting in a mid-course correction. And then even with the new definition of whom we were seeking, the recruiting firm couldn’t find enough people. We had to step in and recruit for ourselves. Read More

Most orgs imagine they understand the problem, but don’t take time to research it. They are content to use what they imagine as the basis for developing their solution. The problem space is where they’ll get their strongest insights and innovations, but you wouldn’t suspect this based on the amount of effort put toward exploring their solution and the people using it. Read More

(Newsletter #3)

I Want to Go to the Park!

Maybe “research” is not your core job description. But you (and your organization) believe in making informed decisions. You’ve been thinking that it’s time to hear from outside people (again). It’s time to understand their larger intentions and purposes. It’s time to map your way through the next decade of product development, rather than just looking a year ahead. Yeah, it may be time to do this, but getting started–and finished–can be … doggone difficult.

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This case study aims to encourage you to get some problem-facing research started, using practical empathy and mental model diagrams. Researching the problem (as opposed to the solution) is a lot easier than you might suspect. So here’s the example: I studied how dogs maximize their experiences of the last day or two. Read More

I spent the 2014 UX Poland conference running around doing listening sessions with attendees about what concerns were on their minds at work, while simultaneously watching as many local presentations as I could. Then I did summaries and pattern-finding to see how well the conference material matched these concerns. There were some very strong matches! This presentation covers the themes I found. (Here is a follow-up interview about the research I did for my presentation.)

why get a book signed?

When I was a new author, one of the more disorienting experiences was the first time someone came up to me with their copy of my book and asked me to sign it. I was happy to do it. I was also bemused–not that I wasn’t familiar with the behavior, but why would a person ask me to sign their copy of my book? I’m not famous. It seemed to be a habitual thing: people who have a hardcopy of the book with them when they encounter the author ask for a signature. I was curious about this decision. What was going on in that person’s mind? My curiosity grew when another fellow said sadly, “Oh. I bought an electronic copy. I guess I can’t have your signature.” (This point is probably part of the ongoing discussion out there about digital rights and value.) Read More

the future of eReaders: what goes on in your mind while you are reading?

What Can Research Help You Discover?

I’ve been experimenting with eReaders. Google’s announcement of its software for several platforms helped me consolidate my thoughts on the subject. My conclusion is that eReaders are not where I want them to be, functionally. I believe this first few years worth of effort behind eReaders represents a transparent reach by companies for my pocketbook. There’s no heart behind their products yet, no deep attempt on their part to support my reading in a better way. They merely allow me to read in an obvious, flat, linear way. I am convinced that they need to understand the things people currently do in the real world in reaction to their reading, which will open up many options for functionality that will truly bring a change to the experience of reading. Read More