Friday Reading Roundup

Avoiding Half-Assed User Research by Jim Ross

Great article with good reminders for all of us working in environments where we’re constantly making tradeoffs around time/cost/quality. I disagree with the idea that remote research is inherently half-assed. When the ability to conduct research remotely came on the scene it opened up so much opportunity for me in terms of getting feedback from users who were geographically distant–I had a project for an Intranet where the budget did not allow me to travel and yet we were able to conduct interviews and usability tests with end users in Brazil, India, and China. It radically enriched my understanding.

I would argue that it is exclusively conducting remote research coupled with a lack of generative research that creates the “half-assed” dynamic, but we should embrace remote research and the opportunities it presents to extend our reach. There is a difference between not reaching an ideal and being half-assed and it is important for practitioners to be able to make this distinction.

Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic In Design Thinking by Jared Spool

“To those of us who’ve been doing this for a long time, design thinking doesn’t mean anything new. But it also doesn’t mean ‘make it pretty.’ And that’s why it works.”

On the Dangers of a Shadow UX by Danielle Cooley

“So what is Shadow UX? Essentially, it’s anything that presents the illusion of a user-centered design process without actually providing the benefits of that process. Usually, it involves some combination of three issues. As it turns out, this case includes flavors of all three:  1) You’re not doing enough user-centered design activities. 2) You’re not doing the right user-centered design activities. 3) You’re doing the right user-centered design activities, but you’re doing them poorly.”

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