Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Demystifying data analysis

The UX a-ha moment ...

"I always get a little miffed when I hear user-experience folk describe their data analysis process as looking for “a-ha moments.” It seems like an evasive answer to a simple process question. But more importantly, it leaves one with the impression that coming up with research insights is an experience of epiphany, like Newton sitting under the apple tree discovering gravity.

In a recent talk about his current book, The Myths of Innovation, Scott Berkun emphasized that humans love stories of epiphanies because they diminish the sweat-effort, failure and plain old hard work that goes into coming up with something that is truly innovative. He explained how the story of Newton sitting under the apple tree conveniently de-emphasizes his 15 years of dedication and study to the subject.

Similarly, “a-ha” moments seem like an easy epiphany story; and that at the end of all your field interviews, research insights will come to you like apples falling from a tree. In truth, the end of field interviews leaves most teams with a mountain of videotapes, transcripts, and digital photos — and the daunting task of translating it all into something that is insightful, thought-provoking and actionable.

So what do you do? What process do you follow? I’ve asked user experience industry folks these very questions. They invariably described their process as “deep thinking” and “marinating in the data” or “cranking it out.” Descriptive? Yes. Helpful? Not really.

A recent project allowed me to reflect on my own data analysis. I found there are three general phases that I follow when climbing the mountain of data in search of research insights."    (Continued via adaptive path)    [Usability Resources]

Three Phases of Searching Data - Usability, User Interface Design

Three Phases of Searching Data

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