Aryel Cianflone, UX Researcher at LinkedIn, discusses the most effective research techniques and how she creates presentations that align and inspire her team.

Managing a product that solves a problem that you’ve personally experienced can be motivating and inspiring. However, it’s easy to forget that our own experiences are not always the same as everyone else’s experiences.

UX research enables you to step outside of your assumptions and gain the important perspectives of your users.

What exactly is UX research? UX research involves users and informs design, Aryel says. Going deeper, she says that UX research brings humanity into the product development process.

In short, Aryel says "when it comes to building better products, UX research is a way to clarify our perspective and check our assumptions. And also it's an amazing tool to inspire your team to come up with new innovations." She describes the UX research process as follows:

We put together a plan, we conduct the research, hopefully we're synthesizing as we go, and then we'll come out the other end with the whole team aligned on how best to move forward with this particular product.

Aryel discusses her favorite techniques for gaining actionable insights quickly, including scheduling recurring in-person sessions, using digital tools for unmoderated testing, visiting coffee shops to conduct usability research, and prototype testing.

Be really, really clear in the questions you're trying to answer. Be very, very careful about who you recruit for your study. Make sure not to ask leading questions.

Aryel stresses that PMs should take ownership of research efforts:

PMs should be doing research. Like a lot of us don't have the privilege of having a researcher embedded on our team so I think that's just something to call out in terms of who should be doing this work. Like I would hope that PMs don't feel like they can't if they don't have this special luxury of having a UX researcher.

Aryel also shares how she presents her research to key stakeholders. She generally begins a presentation with high level insights, and then shares specific observations, her confidence level in the data, and the implications for product development. However, Aryel stresses the importance of be cognizant of your audience’s desired level of involvement in the research process and making the information as accessible as possible.

I would say that when I'm working with the team, I do everything that I can to include the team. Make them feel like they're an important part of the process, because they really are. Research is only as good as the way that it's used. So, if you do the best research but no one uses it, no one understands it, then it's kind of like the tree falling in the forest.

You’ll learn a lot from this episode about user research, collaboration, and delivering presentations.

Here are the highlights:

  • Aryel explains what  UX research is and describes what it looks like in practice (3:55)
  • Aryel discusses how UX researchers and product managers can collaborate effectively (9:32)
  • The best research techniques for gaining actionable insights quickly (14:40)
  • Aryel shares how she presents research findings to key stakeholders (17:45)

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