Looking through my parents’ storage boxes, I found letters that my mother and father sent one another prior to my existence. This unfathomable world was decades away from mobile phones, public internet connectivity, and social networking. Along with explanations of humorous or ordinary everyday episodes and proclamations of love, the letters included doodles, crossed out words, and long postscriptums. I don’t know if my mother or father ever dabbed some perfume on their letters hoping to evoke butterflies in the other’s stomach; it would not have been out of place.
My parents may not have thought about it, but their craftsmanship likely had an impact on the recipient. Perhaps my dad’s use of smiley faces (predating by 45 years when the word “emoji” was selected as Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year) made my mom smile. Maybe crooked handwriting or spelling mistakes hinted that one of them was anxious or hurried. The intuitive idea that the recipient of a letter responds not just to the dictionary meaning of the words within but also to the tone, paper, calligraphy, neatness, and presentation would be wrapped up by the behavioral science concept that “context matters.” When my parents customized their letters they were in control of said context. They manipulated the context to amplify their love or neutralize a piece of sad news. Continue reading Don’t Send Personal Messages Through LinkedIn (Unless You Want People to Hate You)
In the world of user research, no idea is a bad idea.
If you have an idea for a great piece of research, act on it. In fact, your first epiphany is the seed from which all great things will grow. Your idea will eventually shape your hypothesis—your very best idea. This is your proposed explanation based on your current and limited evidence, paving the way from your starting point.
The investigation to follow is where your user research comes in.
For far too long, concepts such as Agile and Minimum Viable Product have been used by companies as a way of accelerating their strategy through design and development process. The problem with such concepts is that they allow a team to collect the maximum amount of validated customer research with the least amount of effort. Simply put, customer insight isn’t established until much later in the research piece, if it all. But, if you’re like me, you’ll fall into the camp that believe that at the heart of each and every methodology is learning. Learning should always involve your users. Continue reading The Lessons Learned Running User Research Interviews
In May and November of 2018, I traveled to Norway to do user research. I don’t have any depth of experience with Norwegian culture. What follows is my outsider’s view and interpretation. I doubt it’s the whole story.
I tried hard to understand my surprising findings by chatting with Scandinavian friends and by researching cultural norms, but there are always limitations in how much an outsider can truly understand.
I still have more questions than answers.
“You should never assume. You know what happens when you assume. It makes an ass of you and me. Because that’s how it’s spelled.”
Ellen DeGeneris said that, but I’ve heard it all of my life. I’m sure you have too.
I’m going to tell you a story about making assumptions in some design thinking sessions in Norway. Continue reading No! We’re Not All Just the Same
As I stare down the tiny leaf-shaped fruit well of my yogurt container, I stop to think, why can’t I ever get ALL of the fruit from this little reservoir?
There is always some fruit left over. My spoon is too wide to reach the corners. After trying other options in the silverware drawer, a closer look at the back of my spoon reveals the solution; the small and narrow curve of the spoon handle turns out to be a perfect fit to fulfill my fruity yogurt need! Using the handle of the spoon to dig out the fruit bits from my yogurt container is a great example of a workaround—an unintended solution to a problem.
That’s what this article is about: Workarounds as not just solutions but also as opportunities to innovate on an existing solution. How can we identify workarounds and assess their value in order to come up with an even better solution?
Continue reading Understanding the Value of Workarounds
Stepping into an artificial world is an exceptional experience, but just how do you gauge the success of a virtual reality (VR) experience?
Well, there are many different methods to gauge success, and each method gives different results. VR is used in a variety of industries—primarily in gaming—but it has been used for informative 360-degree videos and tours of buildings. Despite the different purposes, the success of these experiences can be gauged using the same methods.
Within this article, we will go through the different ways the gaming industry gauges the success of a VR experience.
Continue reading How Do You Gauge the Success of a VR Experience?