Introducing UX at a user conference

10 May 2012 - 8:57am
4 years ago
1 reply
1522 reads

I start a new position at a new company as a User Interface Engineer on Monday, and our annual 3 day user conference is the following weekend. This is a small company and I am the first UX professional in the company.

This will be a new field for me so i'll be scrambling to learn their products asap, but I would like to bring ideas on how to interact with conference participants on their user experiences. These are my thoughts so far, please chime in, I would love to hear your ideas!

1) Survey sheet inside conference package - which products do you use, which versions, how do you like it overall, what is your biggest issue, what's your favorite feature, etc

2) A "Doctor is In" booth where users can stop by and share their user experiences. I would like to videotape or webcam the users so I can compare findings later. Perhaps offer an incentive for participation.

What else can I do quickly that will give me ample data so I can start looking for areas of improvement?




10 May 2012 - 2:51pm

Prior to the conference do a quick high level usability review of your key products to identify areas that confuse you. Then identify tasks that those areas are supposed to address and run informal usability tests on those with your customers in your booth.

At the very least it will teach you about the new domain you find yourself in. One thing I learned years ago; honesty goes a long way in getting a customer to open up. Its fascinating how many people cannot bring themselves to say to a customer: "I do not understand -can you explain what you mean".  Just  tell them that you are new in this field and do not understand how they use X or perform task Y or what do you mean by Z. Have a mini voice recorder ready to go, and ask permission to record, because you will have at least a couple of your customers in your booth for an hour.

And you just might find that your areas of usability confusion are also areas the customers either do not use, did not know existed or have tried to use and are equally confused.

BTW if you are literally thinking of hanging a sign that says "Doctor is In" it implies you are an expert in the products. I like your idea - maybe change the sign, but keep it tongue in cheek.

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