Archive — Focus groups

How to avoid common mistakes in user engagementWebsite and Communications Blog

Have you ever participated in a user engagement session designed for you to share your views, but felt that you weren’t properly included, or that your views wouldn’t be acted on? Fed up with bad surveys and poorly planned focus groups?

Most of us want to engage with our users and stakeholders. We all want to make sure our users have a voice in projects that will affect them. But the approach you take can have a major effect on the success or failure of your engagement.

There are some basic truths about human behaviour that we know from psychology and other social sciences. But in many projects, these basic truths tend to be ignored.

Read this post on my team’s blog for tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of poorly planned user engagement, and how to make user research effective.

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The secret cost of research

The secret cost of research

A belter of an article on why it is difficult to persuade people to undertake user research:

Research is simply asking questions about how the world works. And asking questions about how the world works threatens established authority.

I especially love the section “Bad research is good theatre”:

Focus groups look like how people imagine research looks. In a special room, controlled. But just because you have a 2-way mirror doesn’t make it anything more than a tea party. Actual ethnographic research happens where the people you’re studying do the thing you want to learn about. It’s often unsatisfyingly messy and low tech.

Fake research makes people money, and it makes people in charge feel good, but it’s useless and potentially dangerous to a design project.

So how do you get decision-makers to see the light? Understand them as people, like a good UXer should!

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