Epic FAIL: Takeaways from the War Stories Project

Date: June 4, 2014
Steve Portigal, Portigal Consulting

Steve PortigalAfter nearly two years in gathering War Stories about the unusual, comic, tragic and otherwise astonishing things that happen in fieldwork, Portigal Consulting has amassed a compelling archive about the user research experience. While it’s common for the members of any group to share stories of their adventures, the user research community hasn’t supported this well. For a practice that feels misunderstood by others, there’s pressure to only share successes. Yet the confidence to share the honest and human messiness of this work can help develop the skill and even prestige of the community.

In this presentation, Steve will review some of the stories collected, highlight some of the patterns revealed by the stories, and suggest some of the lessons that we can take away. We’ll also feature live storytelling from a couple of local user researchers, sharing their own War Stories. Meanwhile, we invite you to contribute your own fieldwork War Story (about contextual research only, please) here.

About the Speaker
Steve Portigal (@steveportigal) is the author of the Rosenfeld Media book Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights, and is the founder of Portigal Consulting, a bite-sized firm that helps clients to discover and act on new insights about themselves and their customers. He has interviewed hundreds of people, including families eating breakfast, hotel maintenance staff, architects, rock musicians, home-automation enthusiasts, credit-default swap traders, and radiologists. His work has informed the development of mobile devices, medical information systems, music gear, wine packaging, financial services, corporate intranets, videoconferencing systems, and iPod accessories. Steve speaks regularly at corporate events and conferences such as CHI, IxDA, Lift, SXSW, UIE, UPA, UX Australia, UX Hong Kong, UX Lisbon, and WebVisions. His articles about culture, design, innovation, and interviewing users have been published in interactions, Core77, Ambidextrous, and Johnny Holland.

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Epic FAIL: Takeways from the War Stories Project from CHIFOO Communications on Vimeo.