Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

The First Thing I Learnt About UX Research

When I was just starting out on my UX journey I was lucky enough to attend a four day conference in Dublin, run my Adaptive Path. It totally blew my mind and set me on the path to persuing UX as a career.

The four days were split into lectures and workshops and we were constantly being mixed up with different people and there was soooooo much to learn.

But the one thing that I really remember and keep going back to did not come from the fine people running the conference but from one of the other delegates.

We were doing a ‘research’ session and I was interviewing this chap about something. He started to tell me how the thing worked, I forget the subject now, but it was something I knew a little about and so started to agree with him. ‘Yes I know about this too’ just like you would when in conversation with someone.

But he stopped me and explained, if I did that I would stop the person from going into the detail that I would need as a researcher, because they would assume I knew exactly what they were talking about. I would miss out on that nugget that might be the very thing I was talking to them for.

And so now when I do research with someone I assume the role of ignorance. When they ask me to clarify something I ask them to tell me. I know nothing. They are the subject expert here.

Recently I was running sessions about holiday homes. In the weeks leading up to the session I had learnt everything you could possibly know about these holiday homes, but on the day I pleaded ignorance and let them tell me all about how these holiday homes work. It led to a much more interesting day and meant that I learnt some things that I would not have, if I had told them ‘yeah I know all about that too’.

I can not remember that chaps name now, but it was good advice he gave me, so thank you.

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