Lessons from a Jazz Musician: Improvisation in Research
User research is easy to do…technically. With the development of online tools and self-serve recruiting platforms, it’s getting easier and cheaper to throw moderated user research together at the drop of a hat. Too bad facilitating all that research isn’t nearly as easy. It doesn’t matter how much research we do, if we facilitate it poorly, we’re wasting time and money. Worse still, it’s likely we’ll end up with misleading results and the research could actually have a negative impact on design. So how do we learn to be better facilitators?
Like jazz, there is an art to good research facilitation, but its components are learnable and you can get better if you know what to practice. Using methods from jazz improvisation, this talk will break down the qualities of great user research facilitation into bite-sized methods and techniques that you can actually practice. You will learn the components of good facilitation and exercises for each component, so you can put those qualities into practice immediately. Become a better facilitator with every interview and get more insights out of research than you knew you could.
Rachel Price is an information architect and user researcher. With a background in information science, she designs experiences rooted in user needs and powered by thoughtfully crafted information architecture, working in a broad swath of territories from digital therapy to astronomy, startup MVPs to enterprise tools. She is currently a Senior Information Architect for Microsoft Docs.
Rachel is also a speaker and workshop facilitator for educational institutions in Seattle and conferences around the world, including the IA Summit, World IA Day, and Knowledge Management World. When not knolling post-its, you can find her playing the saxophone.