One of the major quandaries for a UX researcher is determining the most effective way of disseminating UX research results to a project team. This is particularly true for UX researchers who focus on qualitative research, where identifying contextual issues requires broad and varied descriptive tools. This process of ensuring research findings are heard and understood, can also be time consuming; as translating a text-based analysis to visual formats is complex, and often outside the skillset of researchers who have trained in the social sciences, not design or data visualization.
However, the technology industry is known for its fast pace, and learning to identify appropriate ways of disseminating information to a project team and stakeholders is a must for UX researchers. Moreover, isn’t relationship building and communication strategies what UX research is all about? It should be impossible for us to ignore the contextual issues and character traits that prevent people from reading, or being interested in, full written reports. It is simply part of our job.
So, how does a project team achieve a common understanding of users and their context? Below, I have listed a few general examples of methods used at Aditi for disseminating such information.
- Frequent or strategic presentations – Making sure to present analysis and findings as the project moves along. This keeps everyone on the same page, starts to ingrain some key ideas, starts conversations, builds trust with the client, and does not overwhelm.
- Co-working – Placing project teams in the same space, so after overarching findings have been presented, the UX researcher is consistently present to answer questions and engage in conversations. This allows for even minor design decisions to be backed by research findings.
- Data Visualizations and Information Graphics – Quantifying qualitative data or visualizing qualitative information in a way that is easily and quickly consumed. These can be posted on walls in the workplace or included in final presentations or reports.
- Final Report and Presentation – While this is standard, it is important to remember that an engaging final report and presentation that shows the full picture of the problem space and how a project can best serve its user populations is an important piece of UX research.
While many can see the value of above activities anecdotally, UX research would do well to add further formalized activities or guidelines for choosing activities to their UX research toolkit. This would help to ensure creative understanding had been reached, and begin to build a dialogue surrounding which activities work best for certain projects, industries, teams, and companies.
For one example of research working to set guidelines for research to design activities, see this article.