User Experience Research Facilitation
User experience research requires special facilitation skills. It is grounded in observational research and qualitative research. User experience facilitation is designed to get insights from users in a typical user interaction and it can be gained in many ways. However, there is a lot of design research that is not good research. Designers can be tempted to intrude or lack good observational techniques to ensure all pain points are accounted for. That is the real point of User experience research.
The most important thing is to ensure you are using good facilitation techniques to observe behaviour and gain quality insight. Observational style facilitation techniques can feel quite unnatural, and it is very possible for designers or stakeholders to bias results. This usually happens as designers can feel uncomfortable in the process, stepping in to assist, or offer suggestions which skews research outcomes. That is why it is best to get an objective Ux researcher to conduct the interviews at arm’s length. You only often need 5 or 6 interviews so budgets can be small and affordable.
You can set up a test in a specially designed prototype lab (which can be conducted virtually or face to face) or you can ‘test’ an idea with internal stakeholders or external stakeholders at the early design phase. Ensuring you have the right design testing environments is also part of the faciliation skillset.
8 rules for getting the best results from Ux facilitation
For the best facilitation, there are some important rules to consider or to insist on when others are conducting the research. Keep the participant free from distractions, put them at ease and make sure you have your best reflective listening skills in place. Good qualitative research skills help with Ux research.
- Put the participant at ease with the process.
- Make them feel comfortable and assure them that you are testing the product or service, not their skills. You can also be clear that you want a wart and all feedback process, honest feedback is the most useful, no matter how seemingly trivial.
- Set the scene
- We often use scenarios to set the scene for a use case. Help them immerse into the scenario and ask any questions before starting. Ensure they understand there are no right or wrong answers. If they ask if they are doing things right, reflect with a response that encourages them to work that out themselves – for example…” does it feel right?” “Is that what you would expect to happen?”
- Minimise distractions
- Ensure mobiles off, quite space, time set aside to complete the tasks without interruption. Incentivising participants helps with this part of the process.
- Avoid asking them what they want
- Instead, the job to be done is to understand what people need. Wants and needs are very different. We must ensure that the object of the research is meeting the needs of a broad range of people, rather than the desires of one person. This is true for the designer as well.
- Observation is the name of the game
- There is a difference between what people say and what they do. You must observe actual behaviour to get the right information about your prototype or proposition ability to meet the user’s needs or typical actions.
- In usability testing it can be hard to watch people struggle or ‘get it wrong’. But that is what we need to understand. The pain points the design creates for the user
- Questions matter
- When you are trying to find out motivations and behaviours, it is always best to get users to think back to a time they have done something, rather than what they might do in the future. Asking about a previous experience helps ground the need and motivation rather than a hypothesised experience.
- If you are conducting research that requires users to fulfil a series of tasks, then asking them what they would do next is fine. That question tests the proposition’s ability to anticipate a clear and present need.
- The 5 Ws are the best probes
- Instead of jumping in to help, use the 5 Ws. What might you do next? Where else could you look? What drew you here? Who would need that aspect? How might you do that differently?
- This allows you to probe into what the user is doing, what they are looking for and why the product is so hard to navigate in the first place.
- Reflective listening – using the language of the user
- To ensure you are not leading them with your questioning, use their language and repeat it back to them. Repeating user words back creates rapport and ensures that the user will elaborate more. For example, if they say, “this is terribly cluttered” you can ask “cluttered?” to get them to elaborate on their meaning, rather than assuming you have the right meaning.
Want to know more?
The key to successful user research is observation, not intrusion Its a crucial skill that experienced user experience and qualitative market researchers use regularly. Ruby Cha Cha has loads of experience with user experience testing and would be happy to help you with your Ux, Px, Hx or any other design needs. If you would like to know more, drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +612 80946800.