Category Archives: design research

Showing My Work: 5 Days, 5 Themes

This week I’m trying something new; I love talking about what I’m working on, but I don’t write much about it, and it’s time for that to change. As an experiment, this week I’ll be posting five short pieces about five different themes of my work. In future posts I’ll go into more depth.

My kick in the pants to do this began when I saw this tweet from my indomitable friend Diana Kimball.

I bought Austin’s book, and finally had a chance to read it (in a similarly big gulp) on a long flight home to San Francisco yesterday. Crammed into an economy seat, I tapped out many pages of writing on my tiny iPad keyboard, inspired and ready to start sharing.

Monday: Learning to Love Data
Tuesday: The Story of Hybrid Insights: Skunkworks in the Attic
Wednesday: Learn More: Synthesis is the New Analysis
Thursday: The Most Useful Ways That People are the Same: Better Segmentation
Friday: It’s Simple, But Not Easy

Design Research Fieldwork and Saying Yes

These last 2.5 years as a design researcher at IDEO have involved a lot of saying “yes.” When you’re doing fieldwork you’re entering someone’s life and quickly understanding what they need in order to feel comfortable — so that you can learn what you need in order to inspire a design process. It’s tricky, and also beautifully human.

Here are some ways I’ve said yes:

Yes, I will taste your mysterious spice blend! I will climb to the top of your water tower on the totally rickety ladder! I will attach this thing to my shoe so I don’t create static electricity and blow up the factory! I will ride in the back of your police car! I will eat your favorite granola bar! Yes, I will peer deep inside this vat of paint solvent and almost pass out!

And in return, our research participants say yes.

Yes, strange people, come into my home! Ask me intrusive questions about my favorite vegetables and how I install software! Take photos of my refrigerator/car/insulin pump! Yes, come to my acoustic gig! Yes, I will show you the secrets to sword swallowing and beer brewing! I will tell you when I’m on vacation and how much my electronics cost!

The trust on both sides is extreme and appreciated.

Attention as a skill (UX Magazine)

Yes, yes, I’m a little delayed in posting this. But I wanted to share an article that I wrote back in January for UX Magazine, about developing the skill of paying attention, and how it applies to UX research. I intended the article primarily for those of us who spend most of their time in a lab setting, working with a research script.

Read the article here: Paying Attention: The Most Valuable Skill in UX Research

The sneaky thing is that I really care a lot about attention, and my point in the article is for readers to take what they learn about attention in a research context and apply it to the rest of their lives. As I wrote, “Stay with the present moment with your participants through better attention and discover for yourself what you might have been missing.”

Mobile User Experience Research in Seattle

Next month I’m traveling to Seattle to speak at the first ever Web Directions Unplugged conference. I’ll be talking about research mobile experiences with a focus on remote methods.

Here’s the blurb:

Most user experience research takes place sitting behind a computer. And yet these days, most networked experiences are happening on mobile devices. Some common user experience research methods work well in a mobile environment; others don’t. In this talk, Juliette Melton will guide you through how to use some great existing research methods in a mobile context, how to incorporate some new (and fun!) methods into your arsenal, and propose next generation tools and services to make mobile user experience research even better.

Use the discount code WDMELTON for $50 off registration.