Level-set on user research best practices
Continuous research helps ensure that we’re building something of value at each step. Needs and problems live with people, so in order to create value we need a deep understanding of how well we’re solving those problems. This session offers an overview of research best practices in order to align the team prior to the first stakeholder or user interviews they conduct.
Given the importance of research early in the project, this session is typically done as soon as possible after Kickoff in advance of any stakeholder interviews or exploratory user research.
Write the agenda on the whiteboard or shared digital workspace:
First, describe the three main types of research by drawing/showing a three part Venn diagram, complete with a squiggly line representing time beneath it, and explaining how they relate to one another.
Next, describe the main roles involved in research, writing each on the board:
With roles covered, describe the general flow of research by breaking it into discrete steps:
Recruit & Schedule
Share biases to be aware of and key “dos” and “don’ts” when conducting research by printing out or projecting this User Research Dos & Don’ts Guide.
Finally, spend the remaining time role playing to get a feel for what actual research will be like:
Option 1: Pair Role Play
Option 2: Group Role Play
You’ve succeeded when the team feels like they’re confident they can conduct research in a way that the team can garner usable information.
You can make as many or as few visual aids ahead of time as you like to support this session, depending on your preference. It can be equally successful printing/hanging things you want to focus on as it is drawing them as you talk.
If the team feels like they want more practice conducting research before they do it with actual users, don’t hesitate to schedule a follow-up session or two. Role playing can do wonders to prep people who haven’t done a lot of research before but are excited to learn how.
Read through and use the User Research Dos & Don’ts Guide.