7483Re: Agile User Research
- Feb 15, 2012Brett,
I love analytics and totally admire your desire to to create repeatable and quantifiable tests. But as I read this I think the type of testing you are looking to do may be enriched and more supportable with a qualitative approach that emphasizes high touch. For example, when I test early sketches, I'm looking to identify big gaps in the UI or functionality. I'll pick a small set of representative customers, I customer I know who would use this functionality, and see if they can achieve their task. I've also done these via webex and gotomeeting for distance clients. During this, I'm asking them to think outloud and we're having a conversation. When I have a polished UI mock-up, I might use a remote usability testing tool. But not at rough mocks. And I would do this work as look ahead planning to groom a story to be accepted into the sprint.
Post Sprint - depending what you want to learn might I might do an remote usability test but also may go back to the mock-up group to see if the implementation works for them. If I want to test pure learn-ability, then the prior group is tainted. So i would find some new research subjects. And asynchronous remote usability testing works well if you're not needing to manage the relationship with client.
For identifying current user needs, beyond what's going through support, I'd get out of the office and spend time watching users use your product, what is the trigger for using your product, what are they trying to accomplish in your product, and what is the output they create with your product, who consumes that output, and what action do they take with that output.
Just to reiterate, I'm not knocking quantifiable research. I'm a big advocate of it. And you will want to use it. But I don't think it's effective to apply for every change in every sprint and in the usage scenarios you mentioned, I just want to make sure you're not overlooking the good old fashioned qualitative methods of going deep with a smaller sample of customers.
Author: Agile Excellence for Product Managers | 42 Rules of Product Management | Lean Product Management
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "brett.christenson" <bchristenson@...> wrote:
> I have been working in agile development environment for some years now and just moving to working with engineers has proven to be beneficial. Now I want to gather feedback beyond inside our company and before product is officially released. I have never done in depth user testing but I am looking to gather user feedback in a couple areas:
> 1. Early sketch mock ups and storyboards. I think that it is important that we get user input to make sure we are starting in the right direction. My thought is that this feedback should be able to be gathered at any point in a sprint or even as way to create stories. Great use case for this would be new product or major functionality development with select beta partners or focus group.
> 2. Post sprint user testing - Can users accomplish task? My concern is how to get this feedback in a timely manor to incorporate that feedback in a product release time.
> 3. Identify current user needs - Where do we need to focus on the user experience? I see this more outside active sprints as a way to help generate user stories.
> I have been looking into tools like http://www.usabilla.com/ so that I can perform more structured testing on focused areas. I am also looking into using surveys to help further support ideas/concepts and direction without to much design overhead.
> Any process or methods we use need to be repeatable (can we always generate survey or user test after each sprint?)and allow designers to gather maybe some metrics that can be used to show the effect of changes on the user experience. Simple example - UI test 1 users could not complete task x. Test 2 40% users completed task x. Test 3 80% users completed task x.
> Again I know that these things are all possible but I wonder if there are any tools or techniques that other designers have used during agile development with high level of success.
> --- In email@example.com, Adrian Howard <adrianh@> wrote:
> > Hi Brett,
> > On 9 Feb 2012, at 14:15, brett.christenson wrote:
> > > I am looking for repeatable and measurable user research methods/tools that I can incorporate into agile development. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
> > That's a pretty broad question :-)
> > Can you talk a little bit more about your context and the kind of problems that you're looking to solve?
> > Cheers,
> > Adrian
> > --
> > http://quietstars.com adrianh@ twitter.com/adrianh
> > t. +44 (0)7752 419080 skype adrianjohnhoward del.icio.us/adrianh
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