Interviewing the Interviewer – Steve Portigal talks with Maish Nichani
UX Booth has published a two-part conversation I had with Maish Nichani of Pebble Road.
In Part 1, Maish interviews me (excerpt below). We explore a few aspects of the research process, including how a project plan is negotiated.
MN: What is an appropriate response to give clients who insist on specifying aspects of your research methodology?
SP: Whenever a client approaches me and has already specified the approach we should take with their study, that’s usually time for a conversation. Sometimes teams create a research plan as a stake in the ground when what they actually want is feedback and a recommended approach. Sometimes, though, their plan is a good one, and we might just suggest one or two changes to see if they are amenable. I can’t count the number of times I’ve received a detailed request, exclaimed “what?!” and then had a really excellent conversation to better understand the reasons behind it. Obviously, no one should take a project where they don’t believe the method is going to produce results. An examination of a prescribed approach is one of the first tests of (the potential for) good collaboration.
In Part 2, I interview Maish (excerpt below). We talk about how to improve the organizational learning user research.
SP: If you could wave a magic wand and create any kind of tool or artifact to support the research process, what would it be?
MN: Research is really all about creating new knowledge and the more people who have access to that knowledge, the better. Currently, our research findings and insights are all locked up in (what Karen McGrane calls) “blobs.” We need it, instead, to be “chunked” (as Sara Wachter-Boettcher says) so that it can travel more freely and be mixed and mashed up to create, again, new knowledge. I don’t know of any existing project or initiative but I was thinking about using a schema (like what is already available on schema.org) for research findings. That way anyone writing up research findings could use the same markup and then search engines and specialist apps could read and move those findings more efficiently.