Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Summer 2020

By Kay Corry Aubrey n User Experience Researcher n Usability Resources Inc. n Bedford, MA n kay@usabilityresources.net n LUMINARIES n Steve Portigal is among the best-known user experience researchers. He’s the author of Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights and Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories, a delightful collection of strange tales from more than sixty researchers that describes what it’s like to go out into the world to study real people. Steve and I spoke recently about his work and how he sees UX research evolving as the field he helped create matures. Kay: How would you describe user experience research to a market researcher? Steve: I was thinking about the name because it’s gone through a lot of names that get used simultaneously. Back in the early days, we used to call it “design research,” and then it was called “user research.” And right now, maybe “user experience research, UX research,” is the industry term. That gives you a clue as to what we’re talking about doing research on, trying to drive the design of a product or service, and trying to gather information that will help decisions about what that experience is going to be. It’s foundational information, like what need a group of users has, or what opportunities that we, who are making a thing for those users, have. Maybe it’s evaluating the STEVE PORTIGAL ON THE KEY SKILLS OF A USER EXPERIENCE RESEARCHER 28 QRCA VIEWS SUMMER 2020 www.qrca.org