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Approaches to User Research When Designing for Children

Children’s exposure to computing devices depends on a great variety of factors—including cultural traditions, economic power, and family values. But there is no doubt that, in general, children’s access to technological devices and interactive products has increased dramatically in recent years. We are now seeing even higher adoption of technology among children—thanks to the unpredictably intuitive interaction of youngsters with touchscreen technologies and mobile devices that they can carry everywhere and use at any time. As a result, it is important that we, as designers of interactive products, understand what is different in the development of digital applications that we’re targeting specifically for children. What are the implications for the UX design and user research methods we have traditionally followed?

Naranjo-Bock, Catalina. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Methods>Children


Bite-Sized UX Research

Regardless of the cause for your company’s resource crunch, focus on getting small wins as often as possible throughout your involvement in a project. This is a fairly common piece of advice that crops up time and time again, but it’s very much worth repeating. And it applies just as readily to both situations where time is short and those when there’s just not enough of you to go around.

Baty, Steve. UXmatters (2008). Articles>User Experience>Research>Methods


Constructing a User Experience: The Cost-Benefits Compass

A common frustration among UX professionals who are employed in the software development industry is the perception that executive-level management gives lip service to user experience rather than supporting specific UX activities by allocating sufficient resources for them.

Werner, Ben. UXmatters (2008). Articles>User Experience>Methods


The Dangers of Design by User

In last month’s column, we talked about ways to include users in the design process by employing Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs). While it is always advisable to understand the user perspective, there are certain dangers that are associated with an overreliance on user input. As we’ve mentioned in the past, improperly conducted user research can be a liability that could lead you down the wrong path. These kinds of mistakes are extremely costly and easily avoidable. The trick is to know where the pitfalls lie and ensure that you navigate them properly. This month, we’ll talk about ways to be a critical consumer of user research.

Madrigal, Demetrius and Bryan McClain. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Research>Methods


Design Research Methods for Experience Design

There is a trend among some in the UX community to take the U out of UX and refer to our discipline simply as experience design. One reason for this change in terminology is that it lets us talk about a specific target audience in terms that resonate with business stakeholders more than the generic term user—for example, customer experience, patient experience, or member experience. The other reason for using the term experience design rather than user experience design is that it recognizes the fact that most customer interactions are multifaceted and complex and include all aspects of a customer’s interaction with a company or other organizational entity, including its people, services, and products.

Hawley, Michael. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Experience>Research>Methods


Integrating Prototyping Into Your Design Process

Prototyping is a big deal right now. We get wrapped up in mailing list threads, new tools are released at an astonishing pace, books are being published, and articles show up on Boxes & Arrows. Clients are even asking for prototypes. But here’s the thing… prototyping is not a silver bullet. There is no one right way to do it. However, prototyping is a high silver content bullet. When aimed well, a prototype can answer design questions and communicate design ideas. In this article, I talk about the dimensions of prototype fidelity and how you can use them to choose the most effective prototyping method for the questions you need answered.

Beecher, Frederick. Boxes and Arrows (2009). Articles>User Experience>Prototyping>Methods


The Kano Model

The Kano model is both a precious User Centered Design tool and a precious decision-making aid tool. The Kano model seeks to connect requirements (response to needs, product attributes) and customer satisfaction, and classifies 3 types of requirements, that will influence the final customer satisfaction.

Agile UX (2009). Articles>User Experience>Agile>Methods


Metaphorical Analysis

Every UX designer faced with a 6-inch stack of research notes and a looming deadline has wanted to take a nap and wake up with the most important insights neatly tagged. While we can’t offer that exactly, there is an incredibly powerful and fun shortcut that many designers aren’t using: working with metaphor.

Harrell, Cyd and Jodi Leo. UX Magazine (2013). Articles>User Experience>Methods>Tropes


A New Way to Listen

Empathy can have an enormous impact on how we work. By learning to better understand others—what they think, how they feel, what guides their decisions and behaviors—we add balance, clarity, and depth to our business practices. In this excerpt from Chapter 4 of Practical Empathy, Indi Young explains how listening intently can lay the groundwork for developing empathy.

Young, Indi. List Apart, A (2015). Articles>User Experience>Ethnographies>Methods


User Research Methods: Has-beens and Stars

Of all the user research methods that have emerged over last few decades, why did some catch on and become renowned, while others are still waiting for their big break or have declined from their previous glory to has-been status? By comparing the user research methods that never really caught on to those that have become popular, we can determine what it is that makes user research techniques valuable to UX professionals.

Ross, Jim. UXmatters (2013). Articles>User Experience>Methods>History


User Strategies: Considerations for UX Analysis and Design

A complicating factor in UX analysis and design is that people starting with the same goal can often pursue different strategies in achieving that goal. I once experienced this complication when conducting generative user research prior to designing a user interface. Once I had collected data from one group of participants, I decided to collect additional data from a second group to extend and validate the initial data. To my consternation, the data from the second group was strikingly different. Far from providing guidance for designing the user interface, this additional data left me feeling like a person with two clocks that tell different times. Further analysis revealed that, through some fluke, people in the first group tended to work in one type of situation, while those in the second group tended to work in another type of situation. This research led to the insight that our user population uses two different strategies depending on their work situation. This example represents just one of the many times when I’ve had to account for multiple user strategies in a UX project.

McInerney, Paul. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Research>Methods


UX Ideas in the Cards

Often I return to my library of UX books and tools, but in particular, I like to return to my collection of UX card sets. By "UX card sets" I mean a collection of ideas, concepts, or approaches assembled into a card deck. My collection of card sets includes ones that are, for me, relevant to UX work. Like playing cards, cards are generally printed on heavy paper, board, or plastic, and are usually palm size, which makes them easy to handle and share.

Baldwin, Scott. UX Magazine (2011). Articles>User Experience>Methods


When to Use Which User Experience Research Methods

Modern day user experience research methods can now answer a wide range of questions. Knowing when to use each method can be understood by mapping them in 3 key dimensions and across typical product development phases.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>User Experience>Usability>Methods


Effective and Efficient: Conducting UX and Design Reviews

With the three-step process of reviews introduced in this article, creativity can be restored and your team can help clients and stakeholders achieve their goals. This process will ultimately lead to better UX and designs because it starts with defining a clear UX strategy and limits the design project to three rounds of review.

Zibell, Kristin. User Experience Magazine (2016). Articles>Research>Methods>User Experience

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