Rather large news.
As of today, we have spun off ethnio into a separate company! You can read all about it, appropriately, on the new ethnio blog. It’s been five years since we created ethnio, and it’s finally grown enough to leave the warm embrace of our consulting firm, and this will improve things for our customers and help with a whole slew of changes we’re working on.
Very exciting news today!! We’re welcoming onboard the fabulously accomplished Jodi Leo as Director of UX and the head of our New York office. We’re beyond excited to be leaning more towards interaction design in addition to creative and accurate research, and Jodi will be helping us do both those things from New York. This also means we have started sharing space at the epic Studiomates in Brooklyn, where we expect to both make the world and our work better, and more rainbow-colored.
Slides from my talk at the 2011 Design Research Conference in Chicago.
A few weeks ago, for a study of digital readers in university settings, our client had neither a highly trafficked website nor a large recruiting budget. No problem, we said, we can use Ethnio via Twitter. Normally this method is a great supplement to placing Ethnio code on a website, but for a student audience we were confident we could recruit the whole sample that way. It actually worked. We picked people out of the middle of the internet based on words they used in their conversations or profiles on Twitter. Here’s how it went and what we learned:
It’s becoming increasingly common to want to talk to users of technologies in other countries other than your own. Often times, this means communicating with people who are not native speakers of your language. This can be a very challenging aspect to a project, especially when it comes to recruiting, and it is something that we at Bolt | Peters have had to deal with a number of times. During a recent study of Japanese early adopters, we noticed a very interesting thing - When we tried recruiting Japanese participants over the phone, voicemails in english yielded a 0% response rate. Upon having a Japanese speaker leave the exact same message to the same potential recruits, we received a 50% response rate. The interviews were still in English.
Two days after recommending ‘personalization’ to a client’s site that wasn’t making use of user viewing history, I watched Eli Pariser’s TED talk about the filter bubble. He explains how personalization online—Google, Facebook, etc.— is dangerously limiting our world view. I panicked, thinking I had subconsciously sipped the personalization potion. After all, much user interview analysis seemed to suggest that personalized suggestions—those that were taking into account viewing history—would enhance the already positive experience these users were having. For this client, I had assumed suggestions of relevant learning topics would be beneficial to their users. Am I wrong? I wonder, where do we draw the line between personalization that is harmless or helpful to our UX and that which skews our world view?
Most user researchers feel they get the best results if they recruit and schedule study participants themselves. We agree. There’s an art to it, which makes it hard to outsource, but it takes a lot of time. An awful lot. Take a minute and think about how many hours you or the people you work with on user research spent on recruiting and scheduling last year. And if you’re conducting guerilla-style research with friends and family or any kind of participants, then we love what you’re doing, but this is for the projects that have more specific criteria and typically require an agency or detailed recruiting effort.
If you’re doing that, please click through for more discussion and a poll.
I’m extremely excited to be nearing completion of the first big redesign of Ethnio in over three years, and want to send out a big thank you to everyone who has been using and talking about Ethnio lately for making this possible.
We’re putting the final touches on User Research Friday 2010, which is coming up on November 19th (and the 18th for workshops). As part of making sure the day is filled with learning and joy, we’d love your help with two questions about some of our content:
The guys over at ZDNet who cover all things Mac-related have written up a quick summary of our recent comparison of mobile interaction with the Square payment system between the iPad and iPhone. Cool to see this article get so many comments and shout-outs. Both links below:
Come hang with us in San Francisco or attend remotely on May 6th from 9am – 4:30pm PST. We’re holding our third Escape The Lab workshop on remote UX research methods and tools. You get hands-on training with the latest moderated and un-moderated remote UX research tools.
Space is limited as we’re only allowing 10 in-person and 10 remote attendees, so register soon. It’s about 50% sold-out right now. Also, we’re giving away two FREE spots for whoever tweets the best answer to why they love or hate remote research with the tag #ETLAB.
Date: Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Time: 9am – 4:30pm
Place: Bolt | Peters User Experience at 576 Natoma Street, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $399 In-person or $199 Remote. $299 for URF Alumni.
More info: http://escapethelab.com/
Hope to see you there!
[Guest author: Rolf Molich owns and manages DialogDesign, a small Danish usability consultancy that he founded in 1993. Rolf conceived and coordinated the Comparative Usability Evaluation studies CUE-1 through CUE-8 in which almost 100 professional usability teams tested or reviewed the same applications.]
This was originally posted on the GoGamestorm blog on August 16, 2010. We’ve used this activity in several client brainstorming meetings with much success! Give it a whirl and report back on your results! Objective of play: Improve the onboarding process of a product or service. Number of players: 5-30 Duration of play: 30-60 minutes How to play:
[Guest author: Brynn Evans is a digital anthropologist, design researcher, and author who studies social interaction design and social search. She extends a thousand thanks and a bear hug to Tony Tulathimutte for help in editing this post!]