Portigal year in review, 2013
December 20th, 2013
It’s time to sum up some of the noteworthy writings/happenings of the year. Let’s get to it!
- The highlight of the year was the publication of Interviewing Users, my first book! Check out reviews by Garrett Moon, QRCA Views Magazine, and Digital Anthropologist, as well as Goodreads and Amazon.
- Some book goodies online include: cover, foreword, excerpt, acknowledgements, FAQ, testimonials and images and diagrams.
- We had book fun celebrations, with book launch parties in New York and San Francisco.
- I co-organized and hosted the IxDA Student Design Challenge in Toronto and helped with the judging for the 2014 event.
- While we’ve only done one episode so far, Dave Gray and I (along with special guest Chris Reimer) did an online show called We Might Do A Show called We Might Swear
- It was a big year for speaking. I debuted a new workshop at Fluxible called The Designer is Present. I talked about (and led workshops in) Interviewing Users at Catapult Labs, Twitter, Yammer, Citrix, Mozilla, UX Week, MIMA Summit, UX Book Club DC, UX Book Club Philly, Rome UX Book Club, O’Reilly, IxDA NYC and IxDA Los Angeles/LA UX Meetup (slides, video).
- I spoke about Bad Ideas at the Silicon Valley IxDA, SVA’s Products of Design, SJSU Human Factors/Ergonomics Alumni Symposium and SXSW.
- I spoke about improv at Walmart, mobile research at PayPal, design-led innovation at TiE Silicon Valley and Skill Building for Design Innovators at TorCHI.
- I spoke about analyzing research data at UC Berkeley’s New Product Development class and about interviewing users SVA’s Interaction Design class in Research Methods.
- We gathered and shared a huge number of compelling user research War Stories (and are still looking for more).
- Around the blog, we examined social norms around taking pictures of your food, took umbrage at rescinded bonuses, the commoditization of innovation and inauthentic customer stories, considered the impact of activist avatar changes, and explored motivations for behavior change in customers.
- We found interesting sites like Awkward Chatbot and Does The Dog Die?
- We mused about design and meaning and form, self-referential products, socializing death, sex toy design, innovation as eevolution not revolution and the limitations of data.
- In globalization, we looked at the appeal of a Friends cafe in Beijing and importing lowrider culture.
- We found an amazing healthcare case study about sweeping cultural change that wholly reinvented the way services were conceived of and delivered.
- We looked at the role of pop culture and the Bieb specifically.
- In support of Interviewing Users we did interviews with Tomer Sharon, Denise Lee Yohn, Ethnography Matters, Huffington Post, Maish Nichani, Business 901, UIE Book Corner, UX Matters, 33 Voices, UX Magazine and the eLearning Coach podcast.
- We wrote extensively about user research and interviewing, with pieces about robot interviewers, self-reporting in the YouTube era, Harry Dean Stanton and silence, Marc Maron and listening, empathy, pattern-recognition, how body language changes you inside, an approach to interviewing without questions, eye contact or rapport, the art of the interview,
a curious way to get participants, how stories fuel listening and the dangerous power of the interviewer.
- While we didn’t travel overseas this year (gasp!) we did get around and shared some of what we saw in Austin for SXSW, Baltimore, Kitchener-Waterloo, LA, Minneapolis, New York , and again, Portland, San Diego and Denver, Tampa, Toronto, and again.
All those years ago: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.
Portigal year in review, 2012
December 20th, 2012
Lots of emotions as the year winds down, with another one waiting just around the corner. Here’s some of what went down this past year.
- We welcomed Beth Toland to the team. Yeah!!!!!
- Steve is closing in on the last of the writing for Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights to be published by Rosenfeld Media in 2013.
- Our columns for interactions magazine included Content, the Once and Future King (with an associated quickies) and Never Eat Anything Raw.
- We looked at the naturalness (or not) in talking to strangers in this post and this one.
- We found perspectives on interviewing people, including a funny take on journalistic norms in in Birbigs’ short film, dark patterns in this article about conversation, Deborah Tannen on interrupting, Henry Thomas and the power of silence, rapport building at Safeway, and the hilarious BBC Radio series People Like Us
- We addressed user research best practices in Tips to Improve Your Interviewing Skills (with a ton of great stuff in the comments), Seventeen types of interviewing questions and Interviewing past the platitudes.
- We really got going with a series of posts called Curating Consumption (co-published on Johnny Holland until they shuttered), with this year’s posts here, here, here, here, here, here and (whew) here.
- We hit the road and took pictures this year, going to NYC (and again), Dublin (and more), LA, (SXSW, Lisbon (and more), Phoenix, Atlanta, Barcelona (and more), Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney (and more), and Ottawa.
- Observations like Stupid computers and our tolerance for them were inspiration for a strong editorial, Stick to the Knitting, in the Journal of Usability Studies
- We began collecting fieldwork War Stories and built up over 35 fantastic, real, dismaying, insightful, hilarious and frustrating stories from the experiences of fieldworkers. More stories still to come; meanwhile go to that link and just keep reading as they are great!
- We drew inspiration from Gotye, Richard Saul Wurman, and Kevin Kelly.
- Steve presented Championing Contextual Research in Your Organization (slides) as a UIE Virtual Seminar and at WebVisions Barcelona and WebVisions Chicago. This exploration informed (and was informed by) our own breakfast roundtable on the same topic.
- We did at a heap-load of other workshops and talks including the Phoenix Design Summit, UX Lisbon (including slides and sketchnotes for two talks), and CPSI. Steve spoke about Early-Stage User Research at General Assembly, Skill Building for Design Innovators at Service Design Melbourne (and at Carleton University in Ottawa), Qualitative Data Analysis for the University of Dundee, best practices for user research to the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s “Design Thinking for Business” class (and Academy of Art University in San Francisco) and led an Immersive Field Techniques workshop at UX Australia (Sketchnotes 1, 2, 3 and also here). Steve also presented We’ve done all this research, now what? at Mozilla and The Power of Bad Ideas as the closing keynote for UX Camp Ottawa
- Video are available for We’ve done all this research, now what? (from Mozilla), Skill Building for Design Innovators (from Service Design Melbourne), and Discover and act on insights about people from UX Lisbon.
- Core77 published Steve’s Power of Bad Ideas and we found even more bad ideas here and here. The exploration of Bad Ideas led to the aforementioned closing keynote at UX Camp Ottawa.
- Steve presented Yes My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha about design, improv, and creativity at IDSA SV, Carleton University, Schwab’s “Brain Circus, and Silicon Valley ACM. Read a great writeup of the talk here.
- Earlier this year Steve helped organize the Interaction 12 Student Design Challenge. Check out the winners. Planning ahead to early 2013, Steve is involved in the challenge again and our participants are here.
- We considered packaging design as experience design, pondered the moral calculus of offsets and noticed financial pings.
- Some cool patterns in media projects included reframing the image-heavy web by removing text and going beyond the frames of existing content.
- Where was the umbrage this year? We held it in check, focusing only on Hertz.
- We reviewed disturbing but enlightening video projects that explore social norms, including handholding breaching experiment and Surveillance Camera Man.
- While the Omni project ended up going dormant, we published two thought-provoking interviews with brilliant women: Molly Wright Steenson: Shifting time and Lucy Kimbell: Expanding the visible and sayable.
- ChittahChattah turned 11, we shared a bit about the life at Portigal every week, and kept it up with lots and lots of ChittahChattah Quickies.
Journey through the past: 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.
This Week @ Portigal
January 9th, 2012
We here at Portigal are off to a bustling start of the week (contrary to the wispy, relaxing vibe that tune implies).
- We spent the morning ideating approaches and tools for upcoming ethnographic interviews. Imagine three dedicated research geeks in a room surrounded by whiteboards, post-it notes, laptops, and lots of markers. In addition to sharing our own ways of thinking about interviewing tactics, we had the chance to explore ways others are are practicing this magic.
- We are excited to dive back in to the Omni project this week as we welcome back Kristine Ng to review her primary research efforts and craft a plan for more collaboration this year.
- In lieu of tempting our latent gambling and tech addictions, we will be watching the flurry of CES excitement from the sidelines (er, our desks) this week.
- Julie is vying for Crock Pot Champion this week but it’s going to take a transformational eating experience to top Tamara’s Beefy Barley Vegetable Stew from last week…
- Steve has a To-Do list longer than anyone wants to acknowledge as he prepares for Interaction 12 in Dublin. Have you checked out the videos from the four winners of the Student Design Challenge yet? Wow.
- In the aftermath of last week’s 2012 off-site planning meeting for Portigal, we are building a list of events, conferences, and workshops that look shiny in the new year. Please don’t be shy! Let us know if you can think of something we should attend. Better yet, is there an upcoming event where you’d like to see us present a talk or workshop? As much as we enjoy hanging out in the office together, we are ethnographers and compulsively curious so we love even more excuses to get out of the office and into the wild.
Where I’ll Be Speaking
February 23rd, 2008
I’ll be teaching a one-day class on Design Research Methods on March 1, in Sunnyvale, CA. There’s a couple of spots still available, so if you want to contribute to a sell-out, it’s not too late!
You can see a longer version of my talk about improv and ethnography at the IDSA Southern Conference in Savannah, GA, March 6-8. See a previous talk here.
I’ll also be in Atlanta, en route to Savannah, and would love to meet up with people in that area to chat about the work we do and look for ways we might help you.
I’ll be giving a presentation called The Listener’s Journey at the Computer Market Analysis Group meeting at Intuit in Mountain View, CA, on March 13-14.
I will talk about international market research at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association Morning Forum on March 18, in Burlingame, CA.
I will be giving a workshop on best practices in analysis and synthesis at the Second Annual eBay Visits Event on March 21, in San Jose, CA.
I will be giving a talk and hosting a workshop at a design research symposium at the College of Design at Arizona State University, April 11-13 in Tempe, AZ. I’ll be spending a day in Phoenix beforehand and would love to meet with people there explore ways we might be able to help your business.
Let me know if you’ll be at any of these events!
February 14th, 2007
dux07 has just been announced.
DUX (Designing for User eXperiences) Chicago, November 5-7, 2007
Social media and networks are producing a new set of expectations regarding people’s ability to contribute, create, personalize, and share information.
I think the theme is very timely. I’m also not sure how interested I am in it, and given that my last DUX experience was not quite satisfactory, I’ll have to keep this in the maybe pile.