Posts tagged “faq”

A User Research FAQ

In Patterns in design research, Nick Bowmast looks at one of my recent talks and realizes that the Q&A discussion deals with many of the standard questions he often faces. He wrote up a tersely-worded FAQ based on the discussion. Thanks, Nick!

Q: One on one’s or Groups? A = One on ones. (Don’t say the other F word).
Q: How do you know when you’ve done enough interviews? A = Depends, but 30 is a big number.
Q: How do you avoid bias from the client or in the sample? A = Accept and work with it.
Q: When should we do it ourselves vs have other people’s go out and do the interviews for us? A = Depends, and collaboration can work in many ways. [Also see this – SP]
Q: How do you prioritize all the questions to be able to answer all of them right? A = Work with the client to nail it down.
Q: What would be the right team size in the field? A = Two
Q: Can you use something like Skype or Google Hangouts to interview them? A = Yes, but there are significant tradeoffs.
Q: How to deal with users who just keep on talking in an interview? A = Be polite but firm. Cut your losses if necessary.
Q: How do you go about recruiting people / how do you convince strangers to do interviews? A = Use a recruiter. Respect and honour people’s time.

Survey Revenge?

I’ve written so much about surveys as of late and was so amused to receive one in the mail from the research arm of my HMO, Kaiser Permanente. The focus of the survey is Genes, Environment, and Health.

It’s a very sophisticated effort, with a two-page FAQ (some parts are interesting/amusing: Does this research involve cloning, or stem cells, or genetic engineering? and What do you mean by “genes” and “environment”?). See Page 1 and Page 2 for the full FAQ.

Here’s the last page, showing questions 30 through 37.
(click to enlarge)

This is a serious survey, it’s obviously been assembled by specialists in medical quantitative research, and has no doubt gone through human subjects approval/ethics guidelines, etc. I’d say this is an example of survey best practice. However, I’m not going to participate; the user experience for me is not pleasant; there’s very little upside (being asked to provide a saliva sample later on? Whoopee!) and although it’s funny out of context to look at question 36 (getting and keeping an erection (or hard-on) that is rigid enough…), it’s a not so interesting (or turn-off) to fill out a survey about that sort of thing.

I really want to say that the whole survey seems long, and hard. But that would bring the level of discourse way way way down on this blog and I pride myself on setting high standards here.


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