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User Interviews, Research Ops, Human Hiring Practices & More | The Learners Digest

User Interviews, Research Ops, Human Hiring Practices & More | The Learners Digest
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User Interviews, Research Ops, Human Hiring Practices & More | The Learners Digest

This week we opened the Learners Vault once again! Check out these inspiring talks around UX Research from UXRConf’s past. They’ll teach you lessons you might not learn in a lifetime of experience in the field, so I’d highly recommend you check them out! Topics covered include unique methods in user interviews, conducting research as a designer, ethics and management in UXR, and much more.


Re-released Tuesday, June 1st

Headshots of 6 speakers. Subjects include user interviews, research in funeral care, etc.

Plotting: User Interviews Made Visual by Jing Jing Tan from Uber

What’s it about? User interviews are one of the most versatile tools in a researcher’s toolbox. However, we’ve also dealt with their limitations from time to time. When there are multiple items or topic threads for the researcher to follow up on, there can be significant cognitive load for both researcher and interviewee.

To address this, Jing Jing has experimented with ways of making user interviews visual called plotting. It combines concept-mapping and think-out-loud for the interviewee, which reduces cognitive load and quickens the synthesis process for the researcher. This is a flexible method that is easy to learn and adapt to different situations by all types of practitioners.

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Measuring Trust When Conversion Isn’t Enough by Lingyue Hu from Facebook + Nicole Hill from Groupon

What’s it about? Groupon recognized the importance of customers’ trust, and they needed a way to measure their success. While many qualitative UX research methods exist, none allowed the teams to robustly and precisely measure changes in users’ attitudes, emotions and perceptions as they pertain to consumer trust.

In this talk, Ling and Nicole show how they mixed qualitative UX research with the field of psychometric scale development to create a survey tool for measuring consumer trust in Groupon’s online ratings and reviews. They will introduce this powerful approach, explain the scale creation process and discuss some of the challenges and lessons learned when undertaking such an endeavour.

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How To Serve A Nation by Mithula Naik from Canadian Digital Service / Service numerique canadien

What’s it about? The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) solves large-scale government service problems with federal organizations by conducting meaningful research with people from all walks and stages of life.

This talk focuses on the intricate process of developing inclusive digital solutions for diverse populations including newcomers to Canada, low-income Canadians, Veterans and more. Even in fast-paced, agile development cycles, CDS employs mindful research practices that not only deliver, but are sustainable to work in tandem with Canadians’ ever-fluctuating lives. 

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Researching the End: What Doing User Research in Funeralcare Has Taught Me by Gillian MacDonald from Futuregov

What’s it about? While working for Co-op Digital doing research with product and service teams, Gillian focussed on informing the business about the user experiences of their colleagues in food stores and funeral homes. In this talk, Gillian shares her experiences doing user research with the funeral care business.

This talk will give you insight into:

  • what user research looks like in this type of industry
  • what types of struggles user researchers and in-house product teams face working on a live service for colleagues
  • how this project has made her a better, and more mindful, researcher
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Doing UX Research as a Designer by Kristina Rostorotsky from Loblaw Digital

What’s it about? More and more designers are expected to conduct hands-on research, user interviews, etc. But how do you know you’re doing it the “right” way? And how do you juggle design and research on daily basis? Whether you are a designer at a small startup or a large organization, this talk will give you five ways to be a more effective researcher—and feel more confident in the process. You’ll get a window into UX research at Loblaw Digital with real examples of small wins and plenty of hard-learned lessons. It’s an open and honest look from a designer who’s been there. 

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Re-released Wednesday, June 2nd

Headshots of speakers.

Quantitative Research by Heather O’Neill from Pixels for Humans

What’s it about? Most user research is qualitative – with good reason. We need to understand why people do what they do, to create products that work for them. But that shouldn’t mean excluding hard numbers or quantitative data. Learning a few quantitative research methods can take your research to the next level, and help you make the case for more (and better) qualitative research. In this talk, we’ll cover the key quantitative research methods you can add to your research toolkit, for more impactful results and a better product. 

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The State of ResearchOps: More Than Just Theory by Kate Towsey from Atlassian

What’s it about? In 2018, through the work of the ResearchOps Community and its #WhatisResearchOps initiative, the nascent practice of ResearchOps was given shape: via a series of global workshops by researchers and for researchers, the Community explored what ResearchOps should look like and produced a framework to map its various parts.

But what’s behind the theory? What does ResearchOps actually look like in the world today? And who are the people leading the way? In this talk, Kate shares insight into the state of ResearchOps in 2019, talks about current and potential ResearchOps opportunities and challenges, and shares what she thinks the future holds for this emerging practice.

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Stepping Out from Behind the Two-Way Mirror by Matt Gallivan from Slack

What’s it about? User research has come a long way over the past decade. Gone are the days of lab coats, white rooms and two-way mirrors. Research is moving from the lab to the boardroom and it’s about time we think about what that all means. Matt Gallivan shares his vision for how we can grow research practitioners into organizational leaders.

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How to Succeed as a UXR Manager by Monal Chokshi from Dropbox

What’s it about? Want to be a better manager? Look no further than the skills that got you to where you are. Several of the skills that made you successful as a researcher are key to being a star manager, including: active listening skills, empathy, cultural awareness, strong communication skills, great organizational and project management abilities, and the ability to conduct actionable research.

In this talk, Monal explains what makes for a great manager, especially in the domain of UX Research, and how utilizing your skills learned as a researcher can further enhance your capabilities and success as a people manager and strategic leader for your company.

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A Framework For Scoping Impactful Research by Behzod Sirjani from Yet Another Studio

What’s it about? One of the biggest mistakes researchers make when they start out in an industry setting is doing exactly what is asked of them and collecting the exact data a stakeholder wants. While this often highlights their ability to execute research, it also means that the research is often much less valuable than it could be, if at all.

In this talk, Behzod shares a framework for scoping impactful research that he’s developed through learning from his own mistakes. He covers why doing the exact thing you’re being asked is often not enough and provides the audience with tools for engaging with your team in order for everyone to become better producers and consumers of research overall.

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Re-released Thursday, June 3rd

Headshots of speakers.

Making Hiring Human by Adam Mansour from Google

What’s it about? Between scanning resumes, managing schedules, and coordinating interviews, it’s easy to feel like hiring means spending more time talking to computers than to potential candidates. Recruiters want to develop relationships with candidates and reduce bias in their hiring processes, but all too often, their tools get in the way.

What does it look like to build enterprise products that value personal connections and equity, just as much as scalability and speed? What research methods and deliverables best communicate recruiters’ needs and values to product managers, designers, and data scientists? In this talk, I’ll be sharing how my team conducts and advocates for UX research that helps users feel more human at work, and tools to help you do so too.

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I Don’t Talk Like That! Research Methods and Ethics by Abby Bajuniemi from Gomoll Research + Design, Inc.

What’s it about? Language is a highly complex and socially constructed phenomenon. We use language and our voices to indicate identity, group membership, emotion, and to create closeness/distance, among other things. Language use and voice can change based on factors such as gender, age, region/location, or disability. This intense personal connection to language means that there are particular ethical and sensitivity considerations to researching natural language for the digital space. Not only do people have very strong opinions about language, they often say the exact opposite of what they do. It can be incredibly difficult to get natural language samples, especially in a research setting.

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Mix-and-Match Foundational Research Frameworks by Claire Menke from Facebook

What’s it about? Jobs-to-be-Done; personas; customer journeys; and so many more — the list of UX research frameworks can seem endless. Which one is right for you, and how do you combine multiple methods? Speaking from her previous role as a Sr. UXR Manager at Udemy, Claire shares her approach to combining research frameworks to build powerful custom research tools, perfectly suited to any problem you’re solving.

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Strategies to Equalize the Value of Research and Data Science at Your Organization by Ovetta Sampson from Microsoft

What’s it about? Ovetta shares practical strategies and activities you can use to transform an organization that’s “drunk on data,” into one that realizes the value of marrying data science work with qualitative research. Ovetta led efforts at IDEO to marry design research and data science practices, and offers a step-by-step guide for research leaders to close the gap between these two practices in your organization for better design.

Learn the major challenges to integrating data science work with UX Research and how to address them, including how to bring along key stakeholders, what knowledge gaps to bridge, and how to build your team’s skills so researchers can go beyond mixing methods to actually influencing how data science work is done. You’ll leave this talk with a plan to create positive change within your company. You’ll also find ways to garner support for UX Research as a pathway to address the ethical pitfalls that can befall data science work.

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A Lean Approach to Building a Research Panel by Cha-nese Peterson from Clio – Cloud-Based Legal Technology

What’s it about? Let’s face it — recruiting just the right participants for user research and user interviews can be a big pain. Cha-nese is here to show us that it doesn’t have to be! This practical talk will help make recruitment a breeze with Cha-nese’s lean approach to building a research panel to find your dream users. 

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Plus Talks Re-Releasing Today, June 4th

Headshots of speakers.


A Followup Lesson on Conducting User Interviews

Headshot and info for Sheri Byrne Haber's talk on User Interviews and UXR with participants with disabilities

What’s it about? 18% of the world’s population has one or more disabilities. Yet, the perspective of the disabled user rarely makes it into formal user research. In this talk, Sheri Byrne-Haber discusses why accessibility is important, how user research and user interviews with participants with disabilities are different from user research without disabilities, and how to run a robust UXR program adequately representing the needs of current and future users with disabilities.

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    • Quantitative Research Methods
    • ReOps
    • Research as a Designer
    • Research Panel
    • User Interviews
    • UX Research Methods

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