What Limbic Resonance Can Provide in UX Research

Limbic resonance is a theory that our brain chemistry and nervous systems are affected by other people (and other mammals, like our dogs, because they also have limbic systems). In A General Theory of Love, three psychiatrists explain the many implications of this theory.

One implication that we have seen in our own work is that we can affect our participants in a way that allows them to be more present and actually combats the observer effect.

The Heart of UX

The Heart of UX

In years past, UX researchers used to watch participants from behind one-way glass and speak to them over microphones. They were trying to avoid the observer effect, the term for influencing people and therefore data with your presence. 

Of course, this set-up feels pretty unnatural for most people (with a setting reminiscent of a police interrogation room, people often feel that they are being tested, rather than the product!). We believe that the heart of UX is not separation but connection between researcher and participant, person to person. 

Understanding the User Experience Through Eye Tracking

Eye tracking gives researchers insight into users’ emotions and unconscious reactions to interfaces. People usually focus their attention on what they are looking at. Because of this, tracking the length of time spent looking at an area can be a good way to indirectly analyze people’s cognitive processes. This is what makes eye tracking such a valuable tool in interface and experience design.

Some Benefits to Remote Research

Sometimes, being able to watch users in the lab is important for understanding their interactions with a product. Other times, requiring participants to come to the lab constrains the pool of participants we are able to recruit. Being able to conduct remote study sessions means that we can cater to the needs of clients with tricky recruiting profiles or a widespread user base, making us and our clients happy with the research process.

Diary Studies for User Research

A typical user research session involves working with a single participant for about an hour. During this hour, we investigate a product or concept that's new to the participant and learn about how easy or difficult it is to discover and learn features of the product. But what about learning how people use the product after this discovery phase has passed?