User research

Moving away from persona templates: 8 traps and tips to make your personas work

Most UX people have a love-hate relationship with Personas – and for good reasons! They can easily become a checklist item that no-one puts to proper use. In this article we will guide you through the common pitfalls in persona creation and use, and provide you with ideas on how to effectively utilise personas for future projects.

Collaborative Design in Government – The importance of engaging stakeholders

Anyone working in or for government in the digital space should be aware of the wide range of standards, guidelines and methods such as Australia’s Digital Service Standard, UK’s Digital Service Standard and USA’s usability.gov and Web design standards. These standards and frameworks provide excellent resources for providing customer centric websites and systems. One of the common themes across these standards is the importance of having a multidisciplinary team including product managers, business analysts, user researchers, designers and technical roles. However, little is mentioned in these standards about how these multidisciplinary teams should actually work together. Having worked in or for government and many large organisations over 17 years I have learnt hard way about the importance of engaging stakeholders. In this article, I want to outline some of the methods we typically use to take stakeholders on the journey. This article is relevant for anyone working in large organisations as well as in or for government.

Collaborative journey mapping

You’re probably all familiar with customer journey maps as a user research output and/or design tool. But their usefulness can also extend to the research process, especially when you are trying to understand user decision-making. That is, the journey map can be a useful visual tool for both participant and moderator in a one-on-one interview.

Journey maps can be used to map out users’ behaviour and delve into the beliefs, attitudes and emotions that underpin this behaviour. When coupled with some research techniques grounded in cognitive psychology, you have a very sound and rigorous approach to understanding your user’s decision-making.

Analyse early, analyse often

As UX researchers, whether we are working on some early exploratory user research, or working on a quick and ‘lean’ usability testing project, due diligence in analysis is a necessary part of our trade. But have you ever experienced ‘paralysis by analysis’ or felt overwhelmed by the amount of data collected? You may have just spent a month conducting contextual enquiries with your user base, and now face the seemingly impossible task of pulling it all together. Or you may be working in an Agile / Lean UX environment and have just finished 4-6 test sessions and now need to quickly work out what the key insights are – due tomorrow. How do you get a handle on all this information and distil it into some meaningful insights?

Real world UX vs. University UX 101

For those who want to foray into the field of User experience (UX) design, it should be noted that the elements of UX that you learn at university are very different to real life experiences in the industry.

Incorporating UX design into the structured university curriculum is hard when every student is privy to your projects. Nearly all courses where usability testing was a component, were structured in a way that testing with people outside the student cohort was not always feasible.

UX lessons from the 2016 Census

The main issues which had a dramatic effect on data quality and the user experience of the 2016 Australian census were largely related to the design of the delivery and distribution process, offline support and technical issues but we can still learn a lot from the #censusfail both in terms of process and UX design.

The Joy of UXing: The beginner’s guide to UX design

Creating a good customer experience is a lot like baking a cake – there are key ingredients essential to include and a recipe you need to follow to get the best outcome. Sure, there are out of the box solutions nowadays that can make this process much easier, but quality ingredients combined with a methodical approach will yield a much better experience for the consumer (and a more delicious cake).

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