Category Archives: design research

Calling all web designers to Cincinnati

In June, AIGA will be holding “In Control 2009,” a conference in Cincinnati for web designers. The two days of workshops will give participants a solid grounding in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, design standards, and user research.

The roster of speakers includes some pretty great names, and I’m honored to be on the list.

(And you can use my discount code, INCMELT, to get $50 off the early bird discount rate!)

Now Scheduled: SXSW Panel “Tools to Know Your Users”

SXSW is just around the corner! Our panel, “Developing Super Senses: Tools to Know Your Users” has been scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 5pm. Come hear me, Mark Trammell, Nate Bolt, Carla Borsoi, and Andy Budd duke it out over user research best practices.

Here’s the panel description:

You know you need to do user research, but how? Should you write surveys, do focus groups, or develop personas? And how do you act on what you’ve learned? We’ve been in the trenches and have concrete suggestions on what you can, and should do NOW to conduct effective user research.

We expect your attendance. And come equipped with a good question or two. :)

See me speak at SXSW 2009 (

Reflections on Web Directions North

Last week I traveled to Denver to participate in the annual Web Directions North conference. I’m a fan of web conferences, and this one was particularly enjoyable. From watching the sun set behind the Rockies while snacking on still-warm doughnuts to debating the future of SVG with new friends, this was a good week.

On Monday, Mark Trammell and I led a workshop on user research. We focused on helping the workshop participants understand what key challenges their organizations face and how different research methods could help address these challenges. The participants were engaged and thoughtful and really inspiring as I think about my own organization and the user research that I do as part of my daily life.

I also gave a talk about how three companies made significant changes to products and processes based on user research and customer feedback, and how they knew which findings and feedback to act on. I’m still collecting stories of how companies make smart choices about acting on user research findings, so contact me if you have a good story to share.

Many, many thanks to John Allsopp for putting on an awesome conference in a tricky economic environment, and to the friends and colleagues who contributed so much to making this such a great event.

If I had a spaceship I would land in Colorado

In February I’ll be traveling to Denver for the next Web Directions conference. Web Directions is officiallly described as “a highly focused conference and workshops for web designers, developers, UX and ID designers, and other web professionals whose day to day job is building web sites and web applications. It features two dozen world class experts, with a razor sharp focus on practical techniques and technologies you can use right away to build even better sites.”

I’ll be giving a talk on building empathetic corporate cultures and co-leading a workshop with Mark Trammell on setting up a user research program.

Beyond usability: How to build a culture of customer empathy

When everyone at your organization cares deeply about the customer experience you will build better, more inventive, and more delightful products. So how do get everyone to really care about and understand not just the usability but the overall experience of your products? Though it takes time, an empathetic corporate culture is not impossible to create and nurture.
In this session Juliette Melton will share several case studies in how to build a culture of empathy at your organization, including best practices for running usability tests, sharing web usage statistics, and developing user personas.

Know Your Users: How to start tomorrow with guerrilla user testing

Right now, someone, somewhere, is using something you’ve built. Who are they? Are they having a good time? It’s not that hard to find out.
User testing doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, and shouldn’t only happen at the end of the product development cycle. The best and most useful research is distributed throughout the product lifecycle and can be done within a stone’s throw of your office using inexpensive tools. At this workshop, Juliette Melton and Mark Trammell will show you how to build an effective user testing program from scratch and how to keep it going over time.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is for those who want to understand how to learn about user experiences, including project/product managers, designers, and usability professionals.

What will you learn?

  • A structured approach to building a user testing program
  • Web analytics basics
  • Surveying tips
  • How to include coworkers in your research
  • How to perform task analysis
  • Recruiting testing participants tips
  • Best practices when sharing research findings

(Wondering about the spaceship I would land in Colorado? Full lyrics here. Anyone who lived in Colorado as a kid will probably know it by heart.)