By the very act of asking a question, we are forming the field of data that we are seeking to measure. It’s simply the nature of investigation to influence the thing we’re researching but we must do so mindfully and not get confused by the way we seek to gain answers and direction.
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.
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We are excited about our mindful, compassionate approach to UX research, and we want to talk about it! Specifically, we have submitted a proposal for a SXSW Interactive panel. We have partnered with two phenomenal experts in inquiry...
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.
Over the past few years, we have been geeking out on how empathy and compassion enriches our research. We are so into it, we finally decided to start a club so we can hang out and talk about it with others! You’re invited--join our Meetup group UX for the People.
Teams perform better when people are sensitive to each other. It might sound sentimental, but it is now backed up by data. (Hurray! We love when caring is backed by research!) Google poured three years of research into discovering what makes high-performing teams work.
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.
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.