Love your test participants more than yourself
Wonderfully passionate blog entry about making that all-important connection with another person in a user-research setting. This would be great fodder for the workshop I’m leading at EPIC next month.
Last week, after a long long time I had a chance to conduct user interviews again. I loved any minute of it. There is nothing more rewarding (for me) than spending two hours with people I never met before (and probably I will never meet again) trying to understand the world from their point of view.
In those two hours and from the first few seconds, my attention is totally focused on the other person. I observe how they enter the room, how they look at me, and how they shake my hand; I need to understand anything I can about their personality, their level of comfort, and their communication style to be able to be in synch with them. The entire session is a dance, where I ask and listen, probe and observe, with the only purpose of gaining insight in somebody else perceptions, thoughts, and expectations. It’s always a fascinating journey.
But I believe that the magic of understanding another person is not just a technical issue. It requires to suspend for a moment our ego-centered way to interpret the world and open up to a different interpretation. In a way, it’s about love.
There is something wonderful in experiencing somebody else’s world. You understanding expands, you suddenly see something you could not see before. And there is no going back.