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Takeaways from My 2020 QRCA Conference Talk: UX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing

In January 2020, I’ll be speaking at the 2020 QRCA Conference in Austin, Texas. The name of my talk is “UX Research Is Not a Synonym for Usability Testing.”

The inspiration for my talk actually came to me immediately while attending the 2019 conference… Sometimes when I introduced myself as a UX researcher to another qualitative researcher, I heard, “I do usability testing, too!” Hhm?

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The Giant List of Edge Cases

Designing for the “average” user? Turns out, there’s no such thing. The average user doesn’t exist.

When building your online surveys, user personas, empathy maps, customer journey maps, user requirement documentation, prototypes, and products—consider edge cases and biases.

Nail polish isn’t just for girls and women; some men wear nail polish. Not all bald people are men; some women shave their heads or lose their hair.

Call out stereotypes and biases whenever you find them. Be empowered to speak up and advocate for all users.

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28 UX Research Deliverables

If you haven’t guessed by now, I love making lists.

And as a futurist, I’m always looking for new ways to grow as a researcher and strategist—whether it’s new research methods or techniques, reasons to invest in UX, or ways to communicate my research findings.

Are you looking for ways to deliver research insights more effectively to stakeholders or the design team? Do you find report writing to be too slow or too redundant? Or do you need a deliverable that the entire design team can collaborate on together?

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Gain a Bird’s Eye View of the User Experience

Want to understand what the user experience is really like from the perspective of a customer? The data collected from web/app analytics, CES, VOC text analytics, video analytics, and session replays can show us where customer problems lie, but they don’t tell us why.

To inform your design decisions with deep, in-context insights, there are 5 different research methods you can use—depending on your research goal.

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Strategies to Bring More Collaboration into Your Everyday Work

Earlier in my UX career, I used to dislike sketching on a whiteboard with a group of colleagues. I preferred working alone, making everything pixel-perfect on my screen and having complete and total control over my deliverable.

I didn’t like the messiness or seemingly slower pace when working with others on the same deliverable—plus, ideas no longer felt like mine.

Then I learned to let go.

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