Posts tagged “one knight in product”

Listen to Steve on the One Knight In Product podcast

One Knight in Product, Episode 193
Making Sure You Make an Impact through User Research
Steve Portigal
User Research Consultant & Author
"Interviewing Users"

Thanks to Jason Knight for having me on the One Knight In Produc podcast.

You can listen to our 45-minute conversation (and see links to podcast services) on the episode page. The audio is also embedded below:

Episode highlights

1. Some people are still wary of user research, or think they don’t need it, but it remains as important as ever

It can be tempting for founders to think they know exactly what they need, rely on feedback from customer-facing teams, or not speak to anyone until they’ve already built the thing they want to build. Feedback from sales teams and founders is an incredibly important vector, but should only be the start of the discussion never the end.

2. Continuous discovery and point-in-time research both have a place in a researcher’s armoury

There are methodological constraints to continuous research, alongside the difficulty of finding the time and buy-in to do it but, on the other hand, it can be incredibly impactful to have rapid research tightly coupled to the product team. On the other hand, well-planned up-front research can still help you to find truly disruptive insights for your company. Do both!

3. We all have cognitive biases – we should accept that and be honest with ourselves about their effects

People look at the word “bias” and worry about the negative connotations, but “bias” just represents how our brains are wired. Cognitive biases will affect how we interview people, and we should do our best to counteract their effect and improve on getting better (even if we’re not perfect).

4. The best research has a tangible impact rather than being research for research’s sake

It can be a heavy burden to bear if all of your well-planned and well-executed research ends up having no effect on decision-making at all. It’s important not to get downhearted, and work out ways to build actionable, accessible repositories to enable your stakeholders to make the best decisions possible.

5. There are a lot of similarities between good user research and improv

We don’t need to be able to create 45 minute plays off the cuff, and knowing when to stick to our interview plans and when to deviate from the script, enables us to get to the real generative insights that we need from our users and find out what we don’t know we don’t know.


Sometimes we think that what we’re going to do in research is go ask people what features they want and then figure out somehow among these competing requests which ones to implement. And that’s not what interviewing users is about. It’s about actually finding a new interpretation, a new point of view, a new understanding, a larger framework that’s built up from all those things. And so, yeah, if people tell us what they want to tell us, they’re going to tell us what features they want. But we have other questions for them. How do you work? Why do you work that way? What are your tools you’re using? How has that changed? What has led to the definition of that as like a work process? How do you acquire new tools and technology? What’s been successful when you’ve rolled things out? What’s been a challenge when you’ve rolled things out?

A Zoom video still with Jason in a small corner giving a thumbs up while Steve is in the main window wearing headphones and a dark shirt holding up a copy of Interviewing Users


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