Here’s a round-up of the useful and thought provoking user research resources we’ve come across recently.

How to prioritise customer research when everything is a priority (Google Ventures)

“It’s well known that it’s best to test ideas early and often. But at a startup you can’t do research for everything.” Google Ventures shares the approach they use with start-ups to prioritize competing research requests by assessing the potential impact, urgency, and effort of each request.

Link to article

My 2 Years as an Anthropologist on the PhotoShop Team (Medium)

“Almost two years ago, the Photoshop team pivoted to focus its energies and resources on design features and workflows. To be successful, the team needed to understand trends in design and tools, as well as develop connections and empathy to design and designers. Worth noting, the pivot happened not long after Adobe moved to a subscription service and away from big box releases every 1–2 years. The subscription model provided an opportunity for development to be more iterative, but so much had to be re-thought, including research and customer feedback loops. This was the task then: build deeper knowledge and empathy around UI design, as well as develop feedback loops suited to new development cycles. As an anthropologist and ethnographer (the first ever at Adobe!), I was hired as a consultant to help address those gaps.”

Link to article

Escaping a Strategic Cul de Sac: Using Ethnographic Insights to Challenge Organisational Bias (EPIC)

“Almost all business leaders now acknowledge that they would love to engage in the deep learning that long-term customer observation can foster, but in practice such endeavours are methodically undermined in the fast paced corporate environment.

As a result, researchers can find themselves making trade-offs as their proposals are greenlit by the relevant stakeholders. Time constraints, money constraints, and ultimately scope constraints – all are the realities of working in most corporate environments. We have to be nimble. We address business problems in a way that satisfies this executive conundrum – by using the principles of ethnography within the constraints we are given.”

Link to article

Set the Research Aflame (UX Booth)

“One of the challenges of product design is ensuring customer insight is baked into the design process. Typically it’s a researcher or other UX practitioner who gathers and communicates customer insight. However, this is only one input into the design process—product owners, developers, testers, and business analysts all contribute to the design process by bringing their own perspectives and priorities. Customer insight, business value and technical feasibility must all align.”

Link to article

The Complete Guide to the Kano Model (Folding Burritos)

This is an incredibly well-researched step-by-step guide that contains everything you need to know about the Kano Model (which is a technique used to determine customers’ (and prospects’) satisfaction with product features.

Link to article


Are personas past their prime? (UserFocus)

“Personas get a mixed reception from design teams, with some questioning their value. A typical criticism is that persona descriptions are superficially elegant, but they lack substance. Another criticism is that persona descriptions are too ‘final’, and hard to update with new data. Adopting a lightweight persona description, such as the 2½D sketch, addresses these issues while retaining the strengths of traditional personas.”

Link to article

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François Roshdy

François is director of user experience at Border Crossing UX. He specialises in helping clients continuously improve the experiences they deliver.