Insight machines

A couple of years ago, during a particularly busy time at work (cough GOV.UK just before Brexit), a colleague added a UX research request to our already overflowing backlog of projects. It was more than we could take on. While we were discussing how to manage our workload fellow UX researcher, the lovely Louise Petre, […]

A more qualitative look at analytics data

Analytics data is typically used to better understand behaviour at scale: where do users go first? Where do they go next? Which pages do they spend most time on? Where do they get stuck? These questions are usually answered by looking at the aggregate data of many users. Looking across many users helps spot patterns. […]

EPIC2022 analogies

From 10 to 12 October 2022, the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) took place in Amsterdam, with this year’s theme being ‘resilience’ (unlike many conferences, EPIC takes its theme seriously and talks actually address the theme). It’s a conference that I have been wanting to attend for a number of years, and I was […]

Mapping the messy

On 10 October 2022 I gave a Pecha Kucha presentation at the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) about messy user journeys. Pecha Kuchas have a 20×20 format: 20 slides with 20 seconds of text. Below the transcript of this talk. I would like to start with a quote. “Publishing is basically my job. I […]

Calendar analysis: my day-to-day as a Principal UX Researcher

How do you assess whether a job matches what you are looking for? How do you get a sense of the day-to-day work, beyond what a job advert, organisation’s website, and interview panel may disclose? I’ve done dozens of hiring interviews – some from the perspective of a candidate – but I can’t say any […]

HCI/UX research: what methods do we use?

Does HCI/UX research rely more on qualitative or quantitative measures? How many participants do we typically involve? And for how long? I had a look at 1014 studies published at the CHI2020 conference to investigate which research methods are typically used. Data First a bit of context: at CHI2020 a total of 756 papers made […]

When user research doesn’t matter

A user researcher’s influence diminishes as a product develops. That’s not meant as a clickbait-y controversial statement about the obsolescence of researchers. I mean: in an ideal world, their impact decreases – relatively – during the product lifecycle. There are two key reasons for this. Reason 1: the team gains more understanding of users If […]

A tiny data story

The value of data increases with size: the more data you have, the more your dataset is worth. But, personally, I’ve always been fascinated with tiny data – the stuff that is perhaps more collection than dataset, more anecdote than evidence. Last year I stumbled upon some tiny data. On my late grandmother’s desk, right […]

Experiencing English jury service

A white envelope. A reference to ‘Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service’ on the back. Inside there is a pink letter with big bold letters: jury summons. That’s how it starts. In 2018 I served as a juror on a long court case at a crown court in London. Think several months, rather than days […]

How many participants do researchers recruit? A look at 678 UX/HCI studies

While the number of participants is only one of many factors in producing a good study, I thought it would be interesting to see how many participants are typically involved in UX/HCI research. So I had a look at all the papers published at CHI2018, the largest – and arguably most prestigious – Human-Computer Interaction […]