newsletter #21  |  21-Feb-2017

Figuring out what to explore in a problem-space study is difficult. For problem-space exploration, you ask participants about the larger intent or purpose; for user-research, you ask about your ideas or products. For example, in a problem-space study having to do with drive-through menu design at a fast food chain, we asked participants, “What went through your mind as you decided what to eat for a quick lunch over the past couple of weeks?” The purpose wasn’t to select from a menu, but to eat lunch.

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newsletter #20  |  17-Jan-2017

It’s one thing to say it, quite another to do it. You might agree that broader, deeper understanding of people will strengthen your product strategy and solutions. You might be open to the idea that diverse teams create more sustainable organizations. But getting your own organization to make this shift seems impossible. Because of budget priorities. Because the organization has to get out ahead of the competition faster-than-fast because the market is changing. Because time is money. Because the shareholders need to see profit.
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newsletter #19  |  13-Dec-2016

For a few years, Christina Wodtke has been speaking and writing about using stories in your work. When she says “story,” she means stories with characters and a setting and conflict and resolution. She says stories that develop your concern for the character’s outcome are memorable. And she compares stories with a climax to a typical product decision-making process where the focus is on what can be created or fixed–not why.

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newsletter #18  |  15-Nov-2016

Chances are that if you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you’re interested in techniques for understanding others–specifically in the context of supporting people in your work. Chances are you’ve heard what the U.S. president-elect has promised, and a notable part of it goes against the philosophy of understanding and supporting a variety of different people.
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newsletter #17  |  18-Oct-2016

I’ve taught a few workshops on problem-space research, listening sessions, and developing & applying empathy lately. These workshops always have room for Q&A and discussion, and the brilliance and depth of the topics always impresses me. I thought I’d pass some of them along. Read More

newsletter #16  |  20-Sep-2016

I got involved in a Twitter discussion about how a writer defined “active listening” in a UX Booth article:

Tweet by Steve Portigal August 2016 calling Indi's attention to an article in UX Booth saying I define active listening as eavesdropping.

Tweet by Indi Young in August 2016 agreeing with Steve Portigal that active listening is not eavesdropping.
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newsletter #15  |  16-Aug-2016

We saw your cautions about demographics in personas versus deeper motivations that transcend the easily visible segment — and how Jobs to be Done similarly helps us focus on underlying motivations.” Weston Thompson

How do mental model diagrams compare to Jobs to be Done, or to Outcomes? Read More

newsletter #14  |  19-Jul-2016

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

newsletter #13  |  21-Jun-2016

When I help clients learn to conduct listening sessions, commonly people want an example of what it means to go deep. I will do a demo and several exercises. Sometimes this doesn’t quite illustrate what I mean, so I also do one-on-one coaching. Read More

newsletter #12  |  07-Jun-2016

Winners Announced!

Congratulations to Danny Spitzberg of Peak Agency and Ben Judy of Intuit, who each win a print copy of Mental Models.

I received 15 entries, most with good stories about understanding other people’s mental models and how it helped clarify what to design and what to leave off. Read More