Moderator Guide

As a UX researcher, you want to learn so that you can inform your team. Your job is basically to answer questions, confirm/reject assumptions that underlie the design of a product or service. How do you do that? You develop a toolkit of methods, which allows you to pick method(s) that answers your questions with the highest degree of confidence.

One seemingly straightforward way is asking people. But, can we assume that people actually know whether they like something? or whether they would use the product? Obviously not. Henry Ford apparently said that

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Henry Ford

For most research questions it makes a lot more sense to observe people as they go about completing a task. You can learn about what they do and what hacks they developed. To understand what goes on in their mind, you want to get their thoughts out in the open.

Introduction to the Session

Thank you for your time today. My name is Agnes and I’m an independent researcher, which means that I do not work for the company that designed the product we are going to look at. Today I want to get your feedback on some pages of an application using an Iphone.

Before we get started, I want to make sure you’re comfortable with the process, so here’s what you can expect during today’s 60-minute session:

  • I was not involved in the design of anything you’ll see today. So whether you like or dislike what you see will not make a personal difference to me, so you can be totally honest.
  • With your permission, we would like to record today’s session. This is for research purposes only so that I can go back and make sure I got my notes right. Your responses and feedback will be completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside of this research study. When reporting about what you said, I will not say anything that could personally identify you: instead, I will refer to you as person#3.
  • This is in no way an assessment or a test of you – indeed, we are here to learn from you. If something does not make sense to you, it is likely to be challenging for other people as well, so that would be something the designers need to fix.
  • Throughout the process, I’m going to ask you to think aloud. I like to describe this as “putting your brain on speakerphone” and verbalizing if you like or dislike anything, notice something interesting, find something confusing, or even if you’re just reading something on the screen. Saying all of that aloud helps me to understand and follow along with you. It is not natural for most adults, so I may just remind you from time to time to talk out loud in case you.
  • I also have some colleagues who will be observing today’s session. I may check in with them at some point to see if they have any questions they would like me to ask you, but that’s the extent of your interaction with them today –you can treat this as just a one-on-one conversation between you and me.
  • Do you have any questions for me before we get started?

Extended version can be found here (password protected)

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