Archive for February, 2010

Manager – User Experience Resesarch

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Here are the details for the Manager – User Experience Research position.

User Experience Research Lab Manager
Business eCommerce – ALL
State/City IL Chicago – Downtown
Job Description Sears Holdings is seeking an experienced Research Lab Manager to join our User Experience Team.
The Manager is responsible for managing the research team. The ideal candidate should be able to creatively envision, evaluate, and contribute to the design of successful user experiences.

The Research Lab Manager will receive and review all requests to use the Usability Lab. The Lab Manager will decide if the request fits within the guidelines of our policy and can be accommodated in the schedule. If a conflict arises, the Lab Manager will involve the User Experience Managers to resolve the issue. The Lab Manager will also be responsible for ensuring that appropriate training and use of the Lab occurs.

Additionally, the Lab Manager will determine what type of support the requestor will need, such as a usability test facilitator, notetaker(s) and recruitment of users for testing. The Lab Manager is responsible for the Testing Room and the Observation Room as well as the hardware and software support them.

As an integral part of the User Experience team you will work closely with multidisciplinary teams, including user experience architects, product managers, visual designers, and front-end developers to conduct the research and support development of features to be studied through surveys, card sorts, task-based findability and goal-oriented studies, as well as rich interactive prototype testing.

Your responsibilities will include making informed recommendations on design strategies, leveraging best practices, accurately estimating and tracking your time across multiple simultaneous projects, as well as working with the User Experience Management Team to develop and document methodologies, standards and best practices for the lab.

Currently, we are interested in candidates with 5+ years of demonstrable experience and who have had a background involving large scale web initiatives or software. The ideal candidate will have exceptional communication and analytical skills, be well versed in user-centered design research practices, and familiar with the day-to-day operations of running the lab.

**Please note – this is not a design position. However, the Lab Manager is expected to participate and collaborate with the User Experience Architecture team on recommended design solutions.
Country United States
Responsibilities/Skills/Experience Requirements Qualifications:

• Have an attention to detail and a passion for improving the user experience.
• Experience conducting user research and competitive analysis using industry standard practices.
• The User Experience Research Manager will also be responsible for managing our in-house usability testing lab, including lab equipment, software, policies and procedures.
• Be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. Familiarity with iterative design-agile environment a plus.
• Work closely with user experience managers, product managers, business analysts, user experience architects, visual designers, and front-end developers to understand business requirements, user goals and objectives, in order to define tactical solutions that improve conversion rate and enhance the customer experience.
• Continue to improve our research process for testing product changes and gathering user feedback throughout the product development lifecycle.
• Advise and guide project teams in planning user research activities that inform and support product development; help teams determine best research methodology to use in order to meet business objectives.

Key skills:

• Experience managing test recruiting, partnering with vendors to recruit external test candidates and recruiting external/internal users when necessary.
• Help product teams plan and execute external user-research and usability tests with research vendors as needed.
• Supporting and conducting usability studies both in the lab and remote sessions– preparing test plans, recruiting participants, facilitating test sessions, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing reports.
• Developing, prioritizing, and documenting recommendations.
• Tracking usability issues from discovery through resolution.
• Presenting usability results to various levels of the organization.
• Experience with Morae.
• Experience with Tobii a plus.
• Experience with survey construction and online surveys a plus.
• Experience with Omniture Web Analytics a plus.


• Direct experience managing an in-house testing lab and basic A/V knowledge.
• 5+ years experience designing and conducting user-centered design research and usability testing for e-commerce and/or software.
• Ability to work collaboratively on multi-disciplinary teams.
• Excellent communication skills (verbal and written).
• Manages time well, and is very organized.
• Ability to manage overlapping assignments.
• Works well with others.
• Adept at handling change and shifting priorities
Requisition ID 74634BR
Preferred Minimum Education Bachelors Level Degree
Years Experience 5 – 10 Years Experience
Travel Requirements On Occasion (Less than 5%)

Bodystorming & Embodied Cognition

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

A recenter article in the NYTimes talked about how abstract thoughts prompt literal physical responses.

This is the basic idea behind of the magic of bodystorming. Natalie writes “participants’ bodies subliminally acted out the metaphors embedded in how we commonly conceptualized . . . ” and this is exactly what happens with bodystorming.

But because bodystorming is done as a group with more than one person, there is “communication” that occurs at the level of body language, kinestics, gesturing and promemics. It is a very high context communication. And people talk about the death of powerpoint because it is a low context communication method.

The result is not just faster and better collaboration with participants, but faster and better communication to your clients. And if those clients are VC funders, this is the fastest way to get your ideas across in a rich and high context way.


“Abstract Thoughts? The Body Takes Them Literally” By Natalie Angier
Feb 1, 2010, NYTimes

Manager, User Experience Research or “How we are doing?”

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Yes, I am looking for a Manager, User Experience Research.

Forget that title – I need a Manager of “How we are doing”

This is more than just usability testing.

I like questions. I’d expect this person to be good at asking questions and even better at figuring out ways to answer those questions.

The most basic question that I need this person to ask and answer is “How are we doing?”

Now, I know the financial numbers and every hour I get my reports as to what is selling and what people are searching for. But I need this person to be about to ask “How are we doing?” from an experience point of view. Listening to our current customers of course. But also seeing if those customers and their lives are changes and how we might need to change with them in order to stay relevant. Even looking for new types of customers that we might be able to earn the right to serve.

I want this new manager to be able to lead their team forward in any way necessary to answer that driving question. If it is focus groups, usability tests, remote interviews, card sorts, ethnographic-like observation, surveys, in-store intercepts,
Did we get better over the last month?
What do our users want?
What is the job that our experience needs to do for them?

This person should make it easier for me and my managers to earn their bonus, get promoted because we will know how the experience is doing and how it has changed since last month, last quarter, last year.

Is this too much to ask? Am I just desiring too much insight? Yes, I would like a combination of a mind-reader, cultural anthropologist, private investigator, time-motion studier, analyst and talk-show host.

Here are all the nitty gritty details

Half-Life of User Research, Burger King & “Super Fans”

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Yesterday. the WSJ wrote about Burger King and how they were successful for the last couple of years focusing in on their “super fans” but lately Burger King has been falling in sales, perhaps the article suggests because BK ignored mothers and kids while the “super-fans” changed over time.

From a UX point of view – how long do we want to do our research impacts to last? How long do we expect our customer segments or personas, like “super fans,” to last?

How long do we go until we need to go back and re-examine? What is the half-life of our recommendations?

In a proposal to a client last year (successful won too) – I wrote up three different variant of the proposals. The more expensive option had a longer half-life. More research allowed finding “deeper-patterns” and the deeper patterns have a slower rate of change and thus opportunity build on those would last longer too. The straightforward logic was if you invest more time in research looking deeper, you will find deeper patterns, the insights and the opportunities that come out of those will then last longer and your payback will last longer. It is a better amortization schedule of research over a longer quantum of ROI.

For most of the work I am involved in and the usual research phases I see it possible to have good ROI for 8-12 months out. WIth more involved research, a few of the projects I can see about 18-24 months. My goal is to push for 5 years of impact. But that is quite a stretch goal.

What is your intended quantum of impact? Have you ever had a conversation with your clients about how a deeper research dive can result in longer ROI. Yes, it complicates the ROI calculations, but I think it is more honest and takes the conversation up a level to where we should be talking. When you are doing a project for a client, do you tell them up front how long you think they can wait until they need to look again at the customers, the experience, and the match between those two. If BK would have had and followed such advice it is possible they might not have found themselves in the situation they are in.

“As Sales Drop, Burger King Draws Critics for Courting “Super Fans”” by Julie Jargon
Wall Street Journal, Monday, February 1, 2010, Marketplace section, Page B1 & B2