The Art of User Research | Yana Knight | Skillshare

The Art of User Research

Yana Knight, Story of Yana

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7 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Hello and welcome

      1:15
    • 2. What is user research?

      9:02
    • 3. Supplies and project

      2:07
    • 4. Collect your data: observe, ask, get involved

      16:16
    • 5. Make sense of your data

      4:52
    • 6. Why is user research important?

      2:47
    • 7. Thank you!

      1:06

About This Class

User research can sound confusing and strange but it is something we can all benefit from in our creative work, be it designing an app or writing a novel. User research is really about working with the skills we already have: observation, curiosity, understanding, learning to see the invisible and all the things that art teaches you. Whether you're designing a product or writing a novel, having a good understanding of the people behind it can make all the difference!

I'm an artist and I do use research in a lot of my work, which spans painting, writing and designing various (real and virtual) products. In this class I share with you some of my tips, techniques and ideas that I've put together over the years and I hope to show you how they can improve your creative work, process, and results as well as life in general. The class is complemented with a few fun exercises for you to practice and grow your magic powers! Enjoy!

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Transcripts

1. Hello and welcome: hi guys. When people hear the term, here's a research. They're completely confused. Don't know what you're talking about, all they're always scared, thinking you're talking about something technological, only finances. And I do use the research in pretty much all of my work, which spends painting, writing or designing various things, sometimes real. Sometimes our Children and I want to share with you some of my technique some of my ideas that have put together over the years on to show you that doing user research can really help you any creative task, whether you're designing up for website, writing a novel or doing a serious of paintings because really, essentially, it's about seeing the invisible leading to see the invisible and learning to understand people. And it's not at all about learning any specific software or a set off terms or written any specific books, although it helps. But it's simply additional and not essential. So I want to show you how your creative tasks can also improve with knowing some of these techniques. Eso thank you guys for joining the glass and enjoy it. And I hope you get to do some of the exercises from that you make many discovers on your way and thanks again 2. What is user research?: So what issues? A research? I It sounds like a bit of a confusing and strange name. Maybe so. Let's see. So it has something about user in. It isn't about drugs. Unfortunately, no, it's about people and people using technology. So I think maybe it makes more sense to just call it people research like this little couple that, uh, off course. When you think research, you also start thinking, Oh, this could be a numbers class and I already numbers. I'm not a scientist, but no, actually, this isn't the number course, this is people's class, so that's because there are different forms of research and because I said something like, it's not exactly probably nobody ever recorded him saying exactly, but it's something along the lines off. I haven't made a single painting. It's all research. So act is just another way to research the world's Andi. Just because many people using science to research it doesn't mean that that's the only possible way. So we just look at the outside off years of research eso good news, No numbers, Uh, and then is it going to be a hip cost teaching latest trends because, you know you hear user on all the kind of terms and isn't gonna be all about hip stuff? Not at all. Probably disappointing. Or maybe, maybe not. But it's, ah, class about letting TC and so building a bottom level from the middle skills which will help you not just for your job but also for things like writing a book, painting off or anything creative in general. So this skills are not specific, and they have nothing to do really, with Project that you're working on A with a tool over the stuff to whether you've discovered the much more General Andi. It's really about learning to see firstly and then about learning how to show what you see . So just a quick note on buzz words and terminology that we always hear. People are using things like personas and empathy and all this kinds of stuff on. Maybe it's helpful to turn people I don't know, but I think that it's easier to describe it justice, trying to put yourself in another person's shoes and then seeing the world through their eyes. So it's really just understanding people, you know, it's it's a much a much more broad on general idea. I want to do that. What? We are able to see the world through someone else's eyes, a lot of things in people's behaviors, then start to make sense on. We can understand the reasons behind them, so we don't think that so And so. It's such a strange guy anymore, we think. Okay, it's quite obvious Wake is doing this as though it's a bit like opposite off projection, if you want, when we're using our own. Told you to explain everybody else's behavior like we know why they're doing this so that we attribute qualities to people without understanding why they actually do things in the first place. But in this course I want to try to avoid name ings on terminologies. It's ah yeah, just it's not really about that. Started it, uh, does. He was a research only apply to technology than because, you know, we were saying that it's ah about people using technology, but no, it's absolutely not at all people to research, which is what we decided to use. A research to be is what you do every time you observe people, for instance, every time you try to get to understand them multiple questions and people research ISS What any good writer, for example, would do before writing a book. And it's the reason why good writing feels like good writing. Feels like you're walking the characters shoes, and you can relate to the character many dimensions to him. Andi, you can empathize with them. Of course, you can share the burdens that Joyce everything on. The reasons for that is that the person who wrote it had a good understanding of where these people are coming from. Also, some of examples of such user or people. Research is a, well, good writing, as we said, so people like those lying first. They were great researchers. They really understood the characters. They've I walked in their shoes to some degree or their from they're known people, and they have done their bit of research before writing such novels, Um, then painting. Of course, it's also the same thing for painters, for example, to lose. The trick is really a good example of this French artist because he portrayed 19th century Bahamian society but Parisian society in one of the most sympathetic on kind ways. And there are so many ways to portray certain things in life that it doesn't, you know, it's it's up to the Isis, the lens that he's deciding to choose and the trick because he really empathized with they were his friends on people that he really loved, lived with on. He portrayed them in a way that we're able to see those amazing qualities that kills. Or so I know just the kind of a shallow portrait off, you know, for the sake off, how something looks or to make a flattering portrait of someone. It's not that at all. He tried to really show their suffering, and you can see it in every picture and every portrait or every landscape that anything that he made, you can see the suffering. You can see the pain and you can see that she really lived it and understood it portrayed it in that way because of having that understanding. So in the sense he was able to change some of the society's perceptions off some of his friends it by portraying them us riel, humans. You know it's Z, portraying how how things are and not just stereotypes or some judgments and misconceptions on, of course, any kind of design in general should start with also people research. So this would be, you know, someone using household appliances or on a simple things that it doesn't doesn't even have to be anything technological, close things. People wear accessories. At the heart of it all is a person that's gonna be wearing it. But even if we focus on Leon Technological, all product problems are really social problems. I'm not tech problems, technologies and means to an end to building a better society. Teoh Helping people lead more successful, more full feeling, better lives, Um, in its self technologies a bit meaningless, really. It serves people, and therefore it starts with people without having people, and they needs, and it wouldn't really be any tech problems. So instead of seeing this is some kind of isolated bubble somewhere, we have to understand that technology is a very powerful thing that can change lives for the better. But we have to always consider who is changing lives for and not just an abstract ain't here off from technology. So I used the research, then is in a way of people's research. On is really a starting point of any creative solution as it discussed it could be any object that could be an experience that you're creating or a work of art. But it has to start with understanding your the people that you're designing full s. So it's not a sideline of some kind of luxury. Just think of this in terms off. If you read a novel like Warren Peace, for example, but none of the characters that any death to them it was just describing advances. It happened. Maybe some of them did something, said something to each other. But there is really no dimension, no ability to relate to any of them. Would you still want to read something like that? Would probably it would be very boring. Or maybe funny for a while. Hey, I don't know if you had lost his longer as people last on warranties. So what is then? I user researcher, got it Selves. Very strange. But what is this kinds off person that performs? People research well, because art is really about seeing and showing the visible, and that's in any form of art literature, painting, design, anything. So in that sense, your job is our use of researcher is to show that invisible to first state on that show. So you're the artist. You have to bring things that no one sees the light. Your job is be very observant of this things. Do you want to bring them to the light? 3. Supplies and project: so supplies. Ah, well, like with all the arts very basic. You just need an open mind, a pencil and some paper. If you want, a notebook will be quite handy. But this could be just the waiters bother or anything that you can draw right on. You can just do it, even make it yourself. This doesn't have to cost anything. In fact, to take this glass shouldn't cost you anything at all. So long as you have an open mind, A little tiny bit of a pencil, Still one from like year on a few bits of paper. You should be fine. So that's just the point. Not to escape to some kind of latest software or to run to the Huckster just so you could get the newest latest brush Pens are notes sticking about. So whatever it is, these are nice, but they just tools. They help you achieve things. They're not gonna teach you how to see you how to think. And for your project in the resource section, you will see an exercise sheet that I've put together on the contains many off different exercises that I've put together for you so that you can practices them in any order you wish, Andi. Quantity. You wish you could just do one. You can do a few. It's so you can do all of them on. Repeat as many times, if you like, as you like. But remember that even even if you do just just a couple. This is really a practical class. Eso. Without those exercises, she would really get us as many benefits out of it on. What you need to do is you need Teoh develop your way of seeing things to discover things, whether they seem smaller or bigger, important or not important that those are the things that you should be discovering. So once you you've done an exercise once you have some results or just your process or progress to show us, please take a photo on. I put it in the Persian gallery. We would love to see what kind of things kind of results in discoveries you having daily. No matter how important they seem to you, It's it's even better if you think they're not important. So, yeah, I would love to see what kind of discoveries you make 4. Collect your data: observe, ask, get involved: well process of research, and it could be split into two kind of distinct faces off which one is data collection. I don't want his dates analysis, and it's quite important not to mix those two. Because if you are starting data analysis with too little data, be careful because you will protect your own judgments onto the data. You don't have enough information to be able to make a new conclusion, so you will use something pre existing, even upset subconsciously. Andi. Yeah, so it's like re Bradbury wrote for everything. There is a season time to break, time to build. So remember that you have Teoh do those things kind of separately. So the data collection, then, is our breaking face and think of it is the autumn off our research. So here you take something a problem or whatever it is a group of people, anything you want, Teoh focus on on Do pick it to pieces. So at this point you don't make any assumptions. And you just approached this task with a completely open mind on trying not to make any edits, just like a stream of consciousness. That's everything all in. So you're just What do you see what you're observing? You just have to read it all. You know, let it kind of flow around you and feel it. Seats, contours and shapes. So when you've broken some system down to pieces so you can build it up from those pieces that are high in front of you, So you're building it from them, but not from the assumed and bottles that she already had. So, for example, why is it important? Why can't I just work with what I got? I mean, someone gives you it's ask, tells you, for example. Go and find a solution for a messaging problems and white contact. Just just do that. But, oh, well, this is a simple example, because you could be looking in a completely role direction stuck in a totally wrong corner because people might see a lot of complaints about the messaging problem. But they don't really otherwise there and where it's coming from. And maybe there isn't at all a messaging problem, so to say so this thing happened to me once. That was somebody asked me to to look out at a messaging problem inside a system and then, after observing some staff on interviewing the Yeah, I turned down. A lot of people are complaining about this messaging messaging thing, but it's actually because they're trying to use it to record the actions, to log the actions and then to update the status of each open issue. So they're kind of using a wrong functionality. They just adopted it for their needs. But from the boss, this point of view, it was the messages that were broken, not the the fact that they were using it to achievable big, a different task. So if I just going and listen to what the boss thought of this problem, I could have been sitting for hours sketching different solutions do the messaging problem . But actually it wasn't that at all. It was The what's needed was they are a different kind of communication channel for people where they could make status updates and where they could do some blogging. So this was a bit of a different task, actually, from the original one on. This is obviously not just time money with a little frustration, trying to solve our own problems. And imagine if you did self some messaging problems or Actually, you didn't need to. That would have been quite the bum of So then, what are some of the data collection method that we could use that could be effective? Well, one of them is observation, and that's a really a big one. Here, you can go without a kind of a more casual observation. That's basically when you're just looking around. Are people or something mawr specific. So it's kind of observing people in action, like doing a specific task. Then you can also do interviews, which lets you ask specific questions, and you can get directly involved so to work and live with a group of people that you're researching. So let's just look individually at each one of these points. So observation is obviously about learning to see broadly speaking. And it's something that you can do today, and it's totally irrespective of what kind of job before. There are people everywhere, so you can just look around some of the examples you can go to a conference on what people's behavior there. Uh, you could get a authority, and instead of being involved in the heat of the action, just stand in the corner for a while and watch what everybody is doing. It's a lot of fun. I can promise you that. See what kind of characters you spot, what they saying to each other, What they how did they dance? What is the interaction like? What is the body? Language like better language is a huge part of our communications, so it's very interesting. Teoh observe from a distance without sometimes being able to hear what people say just to observe their general shapes, the kinds of behaviors they the exhibit. When you don't understand the context so much, it's also nice to do in foreign languages. Burn away. If you don't understand the language, just stand and watch. It's it's really funny. But that's because distance makes things clearer as you remove yourself from your subjects , even from yourself. If you observe yourself doing things and actions and you can really clearly see most of the time how strange and absurd there actually what? But also you see some very funny things and things you never thought off. So, yeah, just get some distance between yourself on people. I see where you can get out of that, and then you can get a notebook and just start judging things down. So you have to kind of accept that the first you might not have so many things to see or to write down because your perception is very much habit driven. You see only what you're used to seeing, actually. So what we're trying to do is to train ourselves to see other things, the invisible at the moment, those things. And so yes, so some of the things that you can do just to try and get your brain thinking in this director it is still up for simple and funny things. Like what? Colors? Shadows, for example, e on snow. So if you don't have really snow Google some pictures since he it is something you expect. Are you surprised about what you see? But really, look, look what color they are on Ben before you before you jump to conclusions, because in the beginning you will see something your brain is expecting to see. And yes, so you could also do this with a sketchbook, a few more of a visual person on just kind of sketch people's overall shapes behaviors When you as you go Teoh observation walks or fewer to parks, cafes and shopping malls. Um, and then there is observation in action, which is a bit more specific. So if there isn't like on object or tool that you want, you can observe people doing it on this. You can do just very casually because you've noticed people are using it, or you can do it specifically like in the range of session and have a person performs something in front of you. This is a big more awkward than because they know you're looking. But if it's just a more of a casual thing, sometimes it helps more to just put things. So, um, put aside your expectation and just write down whatever you see. So however you see this person using something, just write it down, even if it's completely know what do you expect? It's surprising, wrong in a way, seemingly tiu. Write it down and and then, if you're doing it for a specific project, this gives you a really nice pool of questions for the interviews because you saw something happened, for instance, but you no idea why they did it to you. It seems completely like a necessary step, so you can ask them later, which is really nice. Um, and this is also something you can do just casually on your own, like a few in the bar. Just watch how many ways there had to use a lighter musical Us. How do people stand around or do they talk? How does someone use Ah, Toothpick? Ah, yes. So things like this just recovering there. There are much more natural because you didn't ask them to stand there and use it to pick. It's just something that you happen to spot on training yourself on this kind of natural things. It's really, really valuable, much more valuable than getting people in the room and doing an experiment. Another method is then introduce, which could be also quite effective is it lets you actually ask direct questions. I But I remember that you have to start with more broad questions. So if you come in and if you tell the person Hey, what is your biggest problem using up so and so Well, actually, if you try to ask this question, a lot of people, surprisingly would say, I don't by the way, I don't use it at all. So That's already a bit of a problem, then. I mean, you can always always ask why is the case that they don't use it at all? But it's better if you start with broads. Brushstrokes. Think of it. Is painting a canvas doing the under painting or just kind of defining the largest shapes? You are not trying to make anything into anything. You just trying to see what kind off shapes and objects e there are in front of you. So So ask you something like, um, describe your day. Oh, are, um you know, I describe a particular task that they do is much better than just saying Oh, OK, show me how you use it or what is your problem with it? It's it's already too limiting. And interviews are still nice because you can ask questions like why? Which is the simplest of probably most effective questions asked, Did you get immediate feedback so person will tell you why, Annika NASCAR as many times as you want. Even if you don't understand that, you just continue asking. Uh, you could be a as inquisitive as you wish, and the data is given to you, so you don't have to think off assumption yourself for trying to explain something yourself . You could just ask the person. And of course, you have to remember that you are asking to be your skin because you're curious you're not asking the judge to make any kind of conclusions or confirm your own assumptions. That's really a terrible who way to perform in interview. This is to find out this is to stay open. Teoh. Do you see their point of view? So you are the one listening. You're just asking something that not just them in a direction, but you are not making assumptions. Okay, thanks to kind of look out for when you waken interviews is that people look for social approval, so try to talk to each person alone. That's because, you know, imagine if you're sitting next to two people in one of them is the person of reporting problems, and the other one is the person that made the first version of this app, for instance, and it's really terrible. Well, it probably will tell you it's quick, bad. What isn't going to really Maybe I've described the full extent of it might be might not want to go into detail off. Really? How awful it is, Andi. And it does not affect his friend Just started flight. Or maybe then the fight start. But this class isn't really about starting a fight in the meeting, unfortunately, But I would love to do in later, but I think that topic is already covered completely by the participants themselves. So there's no real need to make a close on. Of course, you have to remember how people tend to assume a lot of things. And we all very good editors as that's something we're learned from childhood. So what is okay to say and what is not? So people would give you information they consider important. So you have to kind off, dig around and maybe not give up, even if you think I understand something that maybe continue a little bit probing in March because the reasons for for this might be completely different, and people would just give you the kind of a story that they think, Oh, this is cohesive forever. This subconscious is not that they mean to do something terrible is just that on them. I think our But why should I tell her how I opened it. It doesn't. Doesn't matter how. Open this file. That's of course, maybe does. Who knows? So the same goes for you, obviously, because you you could be just a skillful in what you ask. Uh oh. I shouldn't be asking. These things can be important. This kind of stuff. 00 I shouldn't write this down because your pride doesn't sound like an important thing. But that's exactly the same problem. It's editing, editing to to student. So this phase, while you're on data collecting, interviewing people, just write everything down on, especially if something seems like if you get that feeling out, whatever, don't write it down for sure. You're gonna need this, Andi. Lastly, way had off. Well, it's not lastly, but these are the message that I'm discussing in this class. Now we have direct involvement, So this would be living as part of ah group or a tribe or part of anything any kind of people that you want to understand or you that you trained Teoh on being basically one of them. So it's firsthand experience on Do you can think of boys like World Wittman and Jack Kerouac and again our friend to lose its trek from earlier. The reason he could understand people so well was because he waas living with those groups of people from all his life, and he lived and loved loved them. So of course, he had a very fair understanding. He was one of them. So this is about throwing yourself in completely and fully on. If you are concerned with using some tool than you are using it, just like typically, a typical person would. That's using it, and not by just observing someone and making notes. But you're using it every day, just like they are. And if you need an example, maybe that's already something more familiar. It's a bit like language immersion. So it's when you living with a family to learn the language and somehow you just after a while in the beginning it's into CellStar. But then after a while, somehow you just catch on the convention on, Just like by Magic, you have become speaker of that language as well. It's just the convention that's a society has. So you're kind of taking on that same you find a key to his convincing and then you become one of them. So if you were to write a book about something extreme character, it would be a great idea to give and live with them. But really alongside them on, um, I experienced this Asare your real life just as well. You put your body through this, but you just have to remember that Don't get too close because you could get the bed blinded on. Um, although things might that close up, they might make a lot of sense a lot more sense than maybe they do. For our I'm just a bystander. They also well, you have a risk of kind of too much involvement. And when actions become habits just as well. So you get used to using a tour, an object of something every day, and you become just another person using it in exactly the same way you stop questioning you stop thinking what to improve. So you have to be careful over that 5. Make sense of your data: so spring time, so time to build things up. Datanalisis. So we have a huge full of stuff that we've gathered from all the different types off observation or interviews. Andi. Now we're thinking right, So what can we seen there? So it's right, really in front of you. You can organize it, how you want it in pieces of paper and sticky notes on on anything daring around anything and a computer. There's plenty of free diagram software that you can use. It is completely up to you. So one thing you have to make sure, though, it's as I said already before you have enough data on, then you start to see some things recurring again on No new information is coming in, so it could be a good place to start drawing some conclusions, but never tried to analyze on dry and on, especially if you're if you feel like you might be getting an explanation. But you're still very much in the data collection phase. You maybe had like, two interviews, and you have 20 more lined up, but you start to see something emerging, don't jumping and trying to shape the data that that person is giving you their responses by your If you don't lead them, don't ask leading questions like are so it doesn't work because off would you say it's broken? Or would you? You know, these kinds of little leading questions that's put people in corners just because you think you understand this too? It's not a good practice at all. You're shaping the direction of the data, but you have to basically just shut up and listen. Sorry, right Everything you found on, if you if you find yourself in the position where you should be in the data, nicest race because you have so many interviews you've you really don't a lot of observation, you know, it's been months of work, for they're aren't any partners at all. Then maybe you should go back to data collection there because otherwise you could You're completely wrong. Conclusions. So So cautions, aside from what I just said is that what you've discovered is what you discovered. So do not waste your explanations. So if you if you see something totally unexpected you have no idea how to explain this. But it's there. Well, is there? That's it. Don't try to come up with a way of explaining. That's if, if you see the people are bypassing certain phase on the website are owning up, which they should really be using. Well, don't try to explain for and they are bypassing it. And that's it. Um, and of course, remember, always frequency is not an indication of high importance just because something is prevalent and there's loads of it well and doesn't think that's important. Otherwise, maybe rats would be the best animals on that, some kind of coming back to the messages system case that I mentioned before. It's a case when you have, um, probably a problem somewhere. But it might not be where everyone is saying it ISS. So don't just follow what people say. First, you break down this problem completely. Look at it from the smallest, smallest pieces, which means observing, asking, interviewing, probably also using this tool yourself or living with the stool for a long time on. Once you've got your own data, then you can build up what you see and what this problems are. But don't try to solve some problem before you've had a really, really, really good thing around. So this is why we training observation on intuition and skills like this, because there really vital in this tasks. Otherwise, she went up curing the symptoms, which so often happens and not the illness. And this kind of shallow cure is basically the same as the example I give you with a novel where characters are no, didn't dimension to them at all. It was just all about events that happened around them. So then you think, Oh my God, how do I get better at this? It seems like it's impossible. Well, that's I'm coming back to when I said that this close is very practical. So what I would like because you always really practise the skills that I just found being talking about so observation and curiosity and asking questions on really living and working in someone else's shoes. And it's only really been practicing this core skills that you can improve in them in specific challenges. But these skills could be practised anywhere at any time. There are people absolutely everywhere and what you clean from observing people in some kind of action in some kind of situation, doing almost anything. You can always apply in your future challenges 6. Why is user research important?: on. Well, I don't have to explain why this is important, but the value of understanding people aren't having curiosity about them is really a one on one human skill. And if you don't understand people that you're serving, you will most likely miss serve them, misinterpret them on at very least, you going to improve their lives. So creating some tools that are not just useless but actually missed the point, it's, well, you might as well not have it at all. And, um, well, the importance of paying attention it's obviously vital because it directs you to think that stick out to you on those things, show you where the problem might be whether issue lies probably. And it might not be at all where you thought it waas. So by targeting some specific areas, you could get really good results. Or you could just waste your time on doing everything, uniformly addressing all the issues that right, for example, on your complaint list, I'm not really getting anywhere at all because you don't know what's going on. So you're just going one by one to try to kind of tick the boxes. But if you don't pay attention if you get good at picking the things that stick out to you , and you learn to trust that this could be important, Um, with those things, you can have a long way and, of course, learning to think from data and not from peers. And as I said, frequency is not indicative off importance or quality or superiority. So instead of what everyone else is saying and repeating it, um, just because everybody's a good so we're coping each other round subconsciously, even whatever it still we're coping Instead of doing that, just simply because is the prevailing view. Learn to break it down on your own and then build it back up from your own data. So if everybody is saying there's something here doing, trust it, why should you? You should go and have a look for yourself and then decide if there is something there or not. So there's no need to say that that's an important skill. Well, with time things, you know, just change your perception because your perception is a set of having driven, and it's the direct result of your experiences. So the more you trained to notice things, the more you will, in fact, notice things. So the more observant you become, the more opportunities will present themselves in the future. And that way you can start to shape your perception right now and then affect the world. You build around you in the future. So that's that's how you can use this valuable user research skills to then I rebuild a completely shape the world around you. 7. Thank you!: so thank you guys for taking the class. I hope you enjoyed it on the hope that we've demystified. Some of this confusing terms have shown you that these are really discussed priority half, which is really good news. We just could do with improving on them and then we can use them and apply them in various areas and for all of our creative tasks, really. But also really good news is that it's not just for work, and it's not just for jobs what it's really for our life's as well. Because, of course, if you known to understand people better, if you become more compassionate than your relationships will improve as well. So that's really also good news. That's the most amazing thing. I think about doing every such about the world, the acts way, because you also get to grow and develop a person on the world around you improves the same time, which is amazing. So thanks, guys, and I really hope to see some of your discoveries in the project section. Please feel free to share because that's how we improve on the hope that you get to see the world through new eyes and different ways off looking at things. And so thanks again on duh hope to you next time