When co-authors Marty Gage, Spencer Murrell, and Lextant CEO Chris Rockwell embarked on the challenge, they realized that over the course of three decades, they had experimented, refined, and ultimately proven, through numerous, measurable, research-driven consumer experience innovations for leading companies, the efficacy of their structured approach. Together with Six Guiding Principles, and the Anatomy of an Experience, they had, in fact, invented one of the most systematic approaches to design research to date. It should be shared broadly and added to the world’s repertoire of design research theories and methods. The result, User Experience Research: Discover What Customers Really Want.
An indispensable, fully illustrated, step-by-step manual for anyone seeking a more predictable pathway to the design of new or improved experiences that users truly desire and would find valuable.
The first phase of the design thinking process is the most crucial, as this is when human insights are leveraged to define value for customers. Yet, this so-called “empathize” phase is often deemed optional or is executed poorly. This degrades the entire innovation process that follows, permitting preexisting biases and guesswork that make value creation a precarious bet.
In User Experience Research: Discover What Customers Really Want, a human factors psychologist and an industrial designer have devised a foolproof first phase that addresses the shortcomings of the design thinking process. Based on their forty years of generative research experience in multiple industries, this is the definitive guide to user experience research. This repeatable process is grounded in six key principles that connect users’ desired emotional states to an actionable articulation of an experience. It also provides guidance on creating ideal experience frameworks that communicate clearly with all stakeholders, from business leaders to design practitioners.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Design Thinking Process
The Six Key Principles For Successful User Research
How To Use This Book
MAKING EXPERIENCES ACTIONABLE
A User-Driven Perspective On Design Thinking
Defining Value: What People Really Want
Ideal Experience Research
CHOOSING A RESEARCH APPROACH
Define Your Research Objectives
Select A Research Approach
Plan For The End Deliverable
FINDING YOUR TARGET USER
Identify Participation Criteria
Create A Screener
Recruit Your Participants
HAVING EFFECTIVE CONVERSATIONS
Formulate Your Questions
Create A Discussion Guide
CAPTURING CLEAR DATA
Structure Your Data
Use A Spreadsheet Tool
Take Good Notes
DESCRIBING EXPERIENCES WITH STIMULI
Applications Of Collaging
Prepare Collage Exercises
Conduct Collage Exercises
UNDERSTANDING THE SITUATIONS OF USE
Approaches To Contextual Inquiry
Prepare Study Materials
Finalize Your Set-Up
Test Your Approach
FINDING THE BIG IDEAS
Code The Data
TELLING THE STORY OF THE FUTURE
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE
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What is this book about?
User Experience Research describes how to execute a repeatable and proven method for understanding experiences in a way that informs and inspires the creative process. It makes several unique contributions to the theory and techniques of design thinking:
- it has a strong methodological focus on understanding users’ ideal experiences, not merely their current ones;
- it explains how to connect people’s desires and feelings to very specific design attributes, providing a directional clarity that eliminates the so-called fuzzy, in other words, somewhat speculative, subjective, interpretive front end
- it demonstrates how to tell the story by describing desired experiences in a clear and inspiring way for all stakeholders in the company or organization.
Who would benefit from reading it?
Although the book was originally conceptualized for and usability-tested on students and professors, anyone who wants to learn or adopt a step-by-step approach for uncovering their customers’ and users’ desired experiences can benefit from this book, including:
- Market researchers
- Product managers
- Developers, designers (service, product, visual, interaction, package, environments, and architects)
- CEOs or CMOs who want to train their employees in the best design thinking and UX research practices
- Anyone seeking to further their research or design career
- Anyone who wants to know how qualitative consumer research can be made quantitatively rigorous
- Anyone who wants to improve their win rate with new product or service launches, upgrades, and innovations
How did the book originate? Why were the authors inspired to write it?
SCAD, The Savannah College of Art and Design, asked leading experience design research firm Lextant to develop a certification program for both undergraduate and graduate levels. The certification, entitled ‘Design Research and Insight Translation,” helps prepare students for myriad professional careers in the fields of design and business.
When the co-authors and Lextant CEO Chris Rockwell embarked on the challenge, they realized that over the course of three decades, they had experimented, refined, and ultimately proven, through numerous, measurable, research-driven consumer experience innovations for leading companies, the efficacy of their structured approach. Together with Six Guiding Principles, and the Anatomy of an Experience, they had, in fact, invented one of the most systematic approaches to design research to date. It should be shared broadly and added to the world’s repertoire of design research theories and methods.
How is User Experience Research different from other how-to research books? How does its design research approach differ from others?
There are many design thinking reference books that take an encyclopedic approach to design research methods and techniques, so that the reader can learn to make the most appropriate choices for solving a creative challenge. Other books apply design thinking to specific endeavors, such as self-empowerment, social innovation, or organizational change.
User Experience Research focuses on how to execute the first step of design thinking so that every successive step ensures the right problem is being solved, prototyped, and tested. The method is less speculative, experimental, and present-bound, and more consumer-defined and future-facing.
We hope that User Experience Research is itself a master class in usability, as the steps in the process are fully illustrated, and easy to follow, and each chapter explains the tools and related principles, and provides notes on how to execute.
Will this book help me be a better design thinking practitioner?
It will instill confidence in any reader who masters the book’s market-proven principles and its repeatable process, and grasps the book’s bias for ideal experience design rather than incrementally improved design. For those just entering the design profession, the book will help develop a foundational appreciation for a user-centered orientation that eliminates not only guesswork but design team overreach in the process of bringing a new experience to life.
Can you use the book’s frameworks without adopting the approach described in the book?
The Anatomy of an Experience framework by itself can help practitioners think about experiences in a holistic way. The Six Principles can also be used on their own to guide your thinking when you are undertaking any research project.
Have the frameworks and methods described in the book been tested in the marketplace?
Lextant has an extensive body of work that demonstrates the significant business results of their approach in automotive, CPG, consumer durables, healthcare, and financial services. See some of our business results here.
Is the method more suitable for certain industries? Can it work for environmental design, for example?
The thinking in the book has been applied to journeys, products, services, environments, digital interactions, packaging, formulations, food, buildings, and public transportation, and to establish successful brand messaging and delivery criteria. In short, the method’s range of application is quite broad, from the most complex, multi-layered, multi-user environments to packaging redesign.
The strategic design insights derived from our ideal experience research approach have an exceptionally long shelf life as well, remaining relevant within and across corporate functions such as R&D and Sales & Marketing for as long as a decade.
What is the significance of the authors’ SCAD partnership?
We extend our gratitude to SCAD, the University for Creative Careers, for its partnership in the development of a curriculum and certification program that forms the basis of this book. To date, 500 SCAD students have become certified.
The SCAD course curriculum that forms the basis of this book was co-developed with faculty and students, its structure and flow tested and refined over several years.
Is the Savannah College of Art and Design course available to students at other universities and institutes?
We are working with educational institutions throughout the world to enable more people to become certified by training professors and ultimately making educational support materials available on Wiley.com.
Please contact us at email@example.com for updates.
Can I obtain a Certification in User Research and Insight Translation Online?
Eventually. In the coming months we are developing an online course, the successful completion of which will result in a certification. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified when and where the digital certificate and course are available.