For humans: a monthly UX Research reading list
by Sarah Rink
Yes, we know that you know what UX is, but imagine someone is talking to you about UX research… does most of it go through one ear and out the other? We understand, it even happens to us sometimes! But not to fear, we’ve created For Humans: a monthly UX Research reading list for those of you who want to learn insights from the world of UX researchers and better understand their processes and methodologies. It aims to help you get a better grasp on people, bring added value to clients, while giving us the chance to evangelize a bit about our wonderful discipline and who knows, maybe even inspire you to find your true calling in life.
All the sngulars already design and construct products or services for people, so that’s why getting to know a little bit more about this field, which helps us to better understand and serve said people, is relevant across the board. And besides that, we must say, UX Research is actually quite cool.
So don’t be shy, go on and take a look at the first For Humans reading list. Every month you’ll be able to find all the best articles recommended or written by the Design Team.
When you think about user research, the first thought that jumps into many people’s minds is usability testing. It’s true that this technique is important to ensure that your design is easy to use, but there are many other ways to work with user-centered processes. This article talks about what UX Research is and how to use it during the design process so that your products are truly relevant, intuitive and pleasant to use. It also helps you understand the return on investment that UX design can produce.
This is a phrase that we hear so often that it is starting to sound like nails on a chalkboard. UX is not a quantifiable concept, you can’t say “I have three UXs, I’ll give you one and I’ll keep two.” It’s something that can simply be added to an interface or a project as if it were ketchup or perfume. And yes, it really hurts our ears when someone asks us to: “put a little bit of UX on their screen.”
UX is a way of working and it can’t be carried out with just one professional or a magic wand. User experience should be the final goal of any digital design project because if the public cannot or does not want to use the software/application/website that you’ve made, everything else is useless.
Do you know what the 80/20 rule is? What about Hick’s Law? At Sngular there are more designers than UX researchers, and many, many more engineers. In this article, which is a little old but still very relevant, Guy Ligertwood has created a fairly exhaustive list of things that everyone should know when they work in an environment where user experience is important in terms of designing and developing products.
I always get the same question: “Ok, I’ve done all my quantitative research, now how can I analyze all of the data?” One of the easiest ways to make sense of quantitative research is by making an Affinity Diagram. There’s no big secret to it – sort similar items into groups. It almost seems too easy, to the point that it doesn’t have any methodological value, but that’s not the case at all. What affinity diagrams do is work off of the nature of the human mind, which is constantly organizing the world into categories to make it easier to navigate. In this article, Zack Naylor from Aurelius makes it all crystal-clear.
How can you read someone’s mind?
I regret to inform you that we still don’t have mind-reading skills. But, short of discovering telepathy, understanding mental models is extremely important.
It allows us to reduce the biases that come from our own perceptions. It makes experiences more intuitive and easy to assimilate, according to how people think and organize information.
How do we do it?
The Card Sorting and Tree Testing techniques help us categorize and define information architecture from the final user’s point of view. This article outlines six principles that we should keep in mind when it comes to putting these UX research techniques into practice.