User Research For Everyone

Many successful companies have invested in deliberate research efforts and achieved impactful, long-lasting results based on strong insights. Unfortunately, a lot of companies see research as overhead. Such companies assume that research is an expensive, luxury activity; they assume that research needs to take months to be useful; and they assume that no one but a few specialized people with PhDs can do user research.

    These wrong assumptions scare the companies to skip research completely and jump into finding solutions through trial-and-error. Seeking solutions before defining the problem wastes precious product cycles, stresses out the team and makes the problem worse in each step. This situation is extra stressful and demotivating for designers and developers who want to solve significant problems and create lasting impact.

    In reality, user research can be quick, affordable, correct and easy to apply. In this workshop, I will discuss the essential structure for user research and show how anyone can conduct research. I will talk about steps to formulate a research question, picking the right method, getting to the right users including remote ones, and analyzing insights collectively, all in 5-10 days.


    Day 1

    • Why research matters
    • Excuses for not doing research
    • Four steps of any good research project, at any size, at any budget
    • Formulating a good research question
    • Picking the method and participants
    • Interviews: The core of user research

    Day 2

    • Human dynamics and bias in user research
    • Interactive research techniques (Diary studies, card sorting, inventories, contextual inquiry, game-based methods, participatory research)
    • Collaborative analysis
    • Why you should never write a report
    • Making research a habit (incl. tips about agile)
    • Wrap up

    Participants will learn how to conduct interview-based research techniques with very small budgets. Programmers, product managers and analysts who want to get good feedback from their users will get the most out of this talk; experienced practitioners will have a chance to improve their existing discovery approaches.

    Aras Bilgen
    Design Trainer / Consultant

    Aras helps designers, product teams, and executives with using human-centric approaches in product development. The products he worked on are used by more than 160 million users worldwide. His book on making research a habit in product teams is scheduled for a 2020 release from O’Reilly.

    He was the Senior Vice President of experience design and front-end development at Garanti BBVA. His team worked on a broad range of areas, from mobile apps, web sites, ATMs to enterprise software, discovery, long-term strategic research.

    Prior to Garanti, he was the Product Director for ÇiçekSepeti, the largest flower and gifting site in the world. He was a Product Development Group Manager at Monitise, where his team of product managers and designers delivered top-notch digital experiences for leading financial institutions and e-commerce sites, such as İşBank, Visa, eBay, Turkcell, and Turkish Airlines. He was a UX planner at Intel where he led the UX planning for Tizen (with Samsung), worked on MeeGo (with Nokia) and adapted Intel's brand identity system for the software products.

    Previously, he was at Microsoft Research, where he developed a gestural system for interacting with displays remotely. He completed similar research efforts at the University of California, Irvine and Lancaster University, United Kingdom. He currently teaches human-centered design courses at Medipol University and Kadir Has University.

    Aras holds a BSc from Bilkent University and an MSc in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. He is currently pursuing a BA in Sociology from Anadolu University. He is an avid cook and he drives his colleagues crazy by winning all food-related trivia games.

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