Bonus research: Do the recruiting yourself

There are some brilliant questions on Quora. This morning, I was prompted to answer one about recruiting.

The question asker asked, How do I recruit prospective customers to shadow as a part of a user-centered design approach? The asker expanded, thusly:

I’m interested in shadowing prospective customers in order to better understand how my tool can fit into their life and complement, supplement, or replace the existing tools that they use. How do I find prospective customers? How do I convince them to let me shadow them?

Seemed like a very thoughtful question. I have some experience with recruiting for field studies and other user research, so I thought I might share my lessons learned. Here’s my answer. Would love to hear yours. Continue reading Bonus research: Do the recruiting yourself

Translating research questions to data

There’s an art to asking a question and then coming up with a way to answer it. I find myself asking, What do you want to find out? The next question is How do we know what the answer is?

Maybe the easiest thing is to take you through an example.

Forming the right question

On a study I’m working on now, we have about 10 research questions, but the heart of the research is about this one:

Do people make more errors on one version of the system than the other?

Note that this is not a hypothesis, which would be worded something more like, “We expect people to make more mistakes and to be more likely to not complete tasks on the B version of the system than on the A version of the system.” (Some would argue that there are multiple hypotheses embedded in that statement.)

But in our study, we’re not out to prove or disprove anything. Rather, we just want to compare two versions to see what works well about each one and what doesn’t.


Choosing data to answer the question

There are dozens of possible measures you can look at in a usability test. Here are just a few examples:

Continue reading Translating research questions to data