Recently, UserTesting’s Stephen Fleming-Prot, Principal UX Researcher, was a guest on Human Tech, a podcast that explores the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology, hosted by Dr. Susan Weinschenk and Guthrie Weinschenk.
In this episode, Stephen shares his experiences as a designer and researcher and had some great discussions with Susan and Guthrie. Below are some of the insights from their chat.
Boxes and arrows
When asked how he approaches design, Stephen says he starts out with a foundation in empathy. He notes that understanding what you’re hearing from customers is an important first step before you can really understand what it is you want to design. He explains it in terms of creating a diagram:
The first thing that I always do and encourage anybody that I talk to about design, is to create boxes and arrows. If we don’t understand the user’s flow, we’re never going to come up with a good design.
Great designers zoom in and out
Susan shared that great creatives have an ability to constantly flip their perspective from a high-level view down to a more microscopic, detailed view.
Great designers are able to zoom in and zoom out as they’re creating. People who are really great product designers, interaction designers, they’re doing that. They’re zooming in and zooming out all the time.
Come up with multiple designs
One challenge nearly every design team faces is getting too attached to an idea or design. He notes that if you’re too attached to a design, it can be tempting to dismiss feedback after testing with customers which can lead to costly oversights in a design. To help avoid this, he suggests creating multiple designs to test.
Lots of issues = great customer experience research
Susan reminds us that it isn’t the lack of snags that make customer research ‘great’ but actually the finding of them that makes research so valuable.
A great user test is when there are issues, and there are problems, and you know what they are and then you even have some ideas based on the data you’re collecting about how to fix it. That’s a great user test.
Test your test
One topic that came up was the importance of a good study design, whether it’s for a live customer interview or a remote study the participant completes on their own. He noted that a study’s results depend on good design, and the best way to assure you’ve got it right is to test your test before launching it to multiple participants.