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Awkward Silences

Autor: User Interviews

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Welcome to Awkward Silences by User Interviews, where we interview the people who interview people. Listen as we geek out on all things UX research, qualitative data, and the craft of understanding people to build better products and businesses. Hosted by Erin May and JH Forster, VPs of growth/marketing and product at User Interviews.
55 Episodes
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Understanding your product from start to finish is easier said than done. The same goes for integrating research into every stage of a project. Danielle Smith found that she would often work on foundational projects for a product team, then move right along to the next thing, losing sight of the end-to-end experience. When she was tasked with building the research team at Express Scripts, she knew she wanted to have a better view of the big picture. So she brought  data scientists, analysts, pro survey designers, and user researchers together to create a superpowered experience team. Danielle talked about… How combining different disciplines has improved her recruitment process. Being able to support more cross-functional career interests. What she’d do differently if she built a team like this from the ground up again. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
User research and anthropology have more in common that you may realize. Both involve studying the way people interact with their surroundings and make critical decisions, though anthropologists focus on the cultures and societies that shape behavior. This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Vanessa Whatley—a Senior UX Researcher at Google—about what researchers can learn from anthropology. Vanessa talked about… How anthropology can teach user researchers to look more closely at the context of participants’ decisions and behaviors The benefits of a diverse research team, And how she puts insights into perspective for stakeholders. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
People are 22% more likely to remember something when it’s presented as a story, rather than a cut and dry fact. So if you’re struggling to get stakeholders to care about and utilize your research, storytelling can be the key to getting research to stick.  This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Harrison Wheeler, UX Design Manager at LinkedIn and host of Technically Speaking, about the power of storytelling. Harrison talked about how getting everyone on board with storytelling can make the facts of research stick around for longer, learning if your research presentations are engaging, and reminding everyone that it’s all about the users.  Highlights [4:13] Ideally, research is the base for everything. Your whole team starts with research and learns to use it to tell compelling stories about the product. [8:17] Understanding your audience, their expertise, and how they like to consume data is incredibly important to telling a story that sticks. [13:47] Telling your user story by using quotes is really impactful at the beginning of a project. [19:07] Practicing telling fact-based stories about research helps you reflect on how well you know the information. [23:23] Knowing what kinds of media resonates well with your key stakeholders can help you tell a better story on their terms. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
AI is becoming a part of everything we do. With voice-activated smart homes, ad targeting algorithms, and increasingly smart cars, AI is more and more a part of the fabric of daily life. But how do we make sure AI is built in a way that is user-friendly, unbiased, and ethically sound? That's where user research comes in. Erin and JH chatted with Hana Nagel, a Service Designer at Element AI, about how she researches for AI, why inputs are just as important as outputs, and the ethics around improving AI through your data.  Highlights [2:53] Establishing the ethics around AI is a collaboration between private enterprise, governmental organizations, and the civic sector. [4:53] The difficult part of researching for AI is assessing how people may feel about something they've never interacted with before. [9:25] A big challenge for theAI industry as a whole is how comfortable are we with giving up our data in exchange for optimization? [14:42] How the system as a whole is responsible for AI outputs, not just the individuals who work on the AI. [24:59] It is incredibly important to identify our own biases when building AI systems. This involves a lot of self-reflection to root out biases you may not know you have. [32:42] In Hana's dream world, the work of creating and researching AI would be more widely shared among people with different expertise to create something more reflective of many perspectives. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
It's time to take the next step in your research career, but is management right for you? Erin & JH chatted with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible, about her journey as a research manager, how to evaluate what you really want from your career, and who to talk to when you're ready to level up.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
Looking to add a new research method to your stack? Diary studies are a great way to get to know what your users are thinking in context, plus they can be run remotely! We chatted with Tony Turner, Lead UX Researcher at Progressive Insurance, about how his team uses diary studies to build out better customer experiences.  He offered some tips on scaling up diary studies, which tools he uses to get the job done, and how he uses the data he gathers from diary studies to build out customer journey maps.  Highlights [4:03] Diary studies are all about context. [9:08] Tony talks about how he combines self reported data from diary studies with in-app analytics. [10:27] Using a mixture of open ended questions and closed ones is incredibly important to getting the most useful feedback. [12:32] Recruiting early is key in a dairy study because it gives you time to find the best participants for your work. [14:54] It's ok if every participant doesn't answer every prompt, as long as you're getting the moments that matter. [19:37] If diary studies seem intimidating, start small with just a few participants. You can hone your skills and get lots of great insights. [21:44] After each diary study, Tony and his team make individual journey maps for each participant that help them understand how different people experience the process. [28:05] User research is all about helping people share their stories and experiences.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Randy Duke, Senior Research & Design Strategist at Cantina. They covered a topic that's on many people's minds right now, systemic racism and inequality, and how UX research can have a positive (or negative) impact on these systems. Randy talked with us about UXR's role in all this, how we can work to change the systems we work in, and how we can create more inclusive research. Highlights [4:58] A good place to start thinking about how to address inequality is to reflect on the system we work in. [6:03] People in UXR help to bring truth to the organization through research, which puts them in a good position to do it in a greater context. [8:46] Now is the time to really dig into the messiness that comes with the details of user research. [10:22] You need to be actively seeking out feedback and information from all of your users and thinking about their unique situations. If you don't, you're opening yourself up for failure. [12:49] We spend a lot of time asking if we can build something, rather than should we built it. [14:57] Don't look at where you can go wrong when solving a new problem, look at what you can do to get it right. That means including people of diverse backgrounds from the start. [18:25] To make more inclusive panels when you recruit, think about the demographics that are actually important to your study. If you're recruiting for a test of a new keyboard on a mobile phone, does the person's income or location really matter? [26:35] Inclusivity is not only the right thing to do morally, it's also the law. [28:25] Randy talks about the difference between how think something will be used vs. how it is actually used and the importance of checking in. [31:35] It's also important to think about how features and products could be abused. [35:08] At the end of the day, systems work because we allow them to work. Taking the time to stand up and say things should be different is the only way to create change. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
We've been more and more curious about how user research can be used by more than just researchers. This week, Erin and JH chatted with Jon MacDonald, founder of The Good, about how marketers can use research to improve conversion rates. He talked about what conversion rate optimization really is, how to get stakeholders to see the value of research work, and why the key to conversion success is really just giving users what they came to your site for in the first place.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
When Andrew joined Adobe back in November, he faced an interesting design challenge. How do you manage a vast library of help content, spanning tons of different products in different industries, so that users can easily find what they need to know to fix their problems? Andrew has learned a lot about leveraging the power of community to problem solve, experimenting with different formats to make technical explanations more accessible, and proving the value of great help content.  Erin and JH chatted with him about how he positions help content to stakeholders, tackles creating content for products that have evolved from box software to the cloud, and uses research to focus on the right things at the right time.  Highlights [1:43] Great product doesn't need as much help content, but people will always need help, and the more powerful your product is, the more help they will need. [8:53] By connecting customers with the right information through communities, they're 3x less likely to reach out to support for help. [10:59] Early engagement = better retention, so Adobe segments out its customers to focus on what gets them started. [13:35] Adobe has segments and chapters to keep everyone on the same page and communicating well. [25:20] People who get value from help content actually end up having a higher lifetime value. It's all about trust and mutual respect. [27:41] How Adobe creates help content for different languages and cultures. [32:09] How Andrew is thinking about simplifying solutions, and making help content work smarter, not harder [37:58] Help content and product can work together to create even better solutions for users. [39:32] Quantitative information can tell you what some of the issues are, while qualitative can help your team dig deeper into why they're there [43:03] Building out recommendations for other things you may be looking for helps your help content build a story for the user. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Jonathan Hensley, Co-Founder and CEO of Emerge Interactive, about the power of alignment right now. He talked about what alignment means for teams, how it can help speed up your process, and where research fits into the picture.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
There's a lot of data out there. Keeping track of Google Analytics, NPS scores, site metrics, usability test results, industry data, and everything else can be downright overwhelming. Which is why Hannah Shamji, Head of Research at Copyhackers, likes to say she's doing data-informed work, not data-driven work. For Hannah, her team, and her clients, working with tons of data can be overwhelming. Since you can usually find at least one graph to support a research point, it's important to put data in context. Hannah outlined how she gets in the zone with large amounts of data, puts things in context while doing her best to stay unbiased, and frames data around her research questions. Highlights [2:12] The difference between being data-informed and data-driven. [6:21] Why it's important to put data in context and pull from many different sources. [9:25] How Hannah approaches data through the lens of her research question. [16:40] How Hannah tries to build data narratives that tell both sides of the story. [23:21] Digging deep into data is a little bit like meditating. [27:07] Hannah, Erin, and JH chat about data and COVID-19. (This episode was recorded on April 24, 2020.) --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
UX benchmarking can help teams set goals, keep an eye on how their designs are improving, and most importantly, show the ROI value of their work. Kate Moran, a UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joined Erin and JH yesterday for our very first live podcast and gave us all the details on UX benchmarking. She outlined specific case studies of creative benchmarking, walked through how to demonstrate ROI, and highlighted when and how benchmarking is most useful to UX teams. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
Sales demos are a great opportunity to get to know your customers. The person on the other end is interested in your product, looking for a solution to a problem, and likely have some pain points with their current solutions. That's why Jane Portman, co-founder of Userlist, uses demos as an opportunity to connect with potential customers, keep pain points top of mind, and learn how to make her product even better.  She chatted with Erin and JH about why she's doing customer research and sales demos at the same time, how constantly talking to customers helps her develop a better product, and how she came up with the podcast name UI Breakfast.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
We’ve heard from a lot of designers and user researchers on the show, but we’re always looking for fresh perspectives on how research can help your business. So this week, Erin and JH chatted with Aazar Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot, about how research methods are essential to his growth strategy. Aazar started using research methods to find our who his users were but continued using them to grow Userpilot’s business. He talked about how secondary research helped him find the best ways to connect with his target audience, continuous interviews help him identify where to go next, and how he honed his research skills over time.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
With so many research tools on the market, it can be hard to nail down exactly which ones are right for your team. This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith, who are the Directors of User Experience and Research, respectively, at a large insurance company. They wanted to learn more about how Daniel and Leo choose the tools with the best ROI for their team. Daniel and Leo have spent a lot of time building out their tool stack. Since they have a lot of experience working for large organizations with many people conducting research and even more consuming it, it was important to them to get it right. In this episode, they talked about how they evaluate the ROI of tools, the summit they assembled to identify the tools their team could and would use, and how important it is to leave your assumptions at the door when tool-hunting. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
After three failed MVPs, Jonathan Anderson and the team at Candu realized they needed a better strategy for understanding how users interact with their product. So they started doing some user interviews. And they kept doing them. Every day for a year before launching their product. Jonathan chatted with Erin and JH about what he learned from those interviews, how it changed the direction of his company, and how he went from a total newbie to a research pro.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, a suite of tools designed to help teams ship accessible work. They chatted about how accessibility is constantly evolving, what teams can do to get started, and inclusive design.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Joel Klettke, who has 6+ years of experience writing killer conversion copy for clients like Hubspot, Scott's Cheap Flights, and WP Engine. His first piece of advice? "All the best copy [is] words you've stolen from the customers themselves." He also stressed the importance of meeting your customers where they are, involving copy from the start of any new project, and structuring your user research so it's easy to pull out the best insights. He walked us through how he used research to make changes at Hubspot that resulted in a 35% increase in demo requests and a 27% increase in inbound call volume. He also outlined how he used chatbot data to help an online divorce startup net an extra 165k in revenue by answering questions their users needed answers to. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Loic Alix-Brown, CEO of Flick. They talked about how he built his MVP, how his research strategy has changed as his business has grown, how he used research to find the right pricing structure for his customers, and how he's maintained a regular research cadence amidst the chaos of launching a startup.  Read the transcript + highlights here: https://bit.ly/2WpDtBs --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Luke Fraser, Founder & Managing Director of Paper Ventures. They work with insurance innovation and product development teams to get products to market faster. Before starting Paper Ventures, Luke worked at IDEO's Design Lab and Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Product Manager. All in all, he's spent a lot of time working with teams at large enterprise companies, with lots of red tape around user research. He chatted with Erin and JH about how he democratizes research in risk adverse environments, works with legal teams instead of against them, and even how he got teammates from legal to start attending daily standups.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/awkwardsilences/message
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