Pretty Woman and observing research

I was having a glass or two of wine with my partner Denise last night while watching The Accidental Death of a Cyclist. This film should be required viewing for any young athlete aspiring to turn professional. But that’s a bit off-topic for this post.

The film ended, it was late and I was just finishing off the remnants of a nice wee bottle of red. And then Denise noticed that Pretty Woman was on TV.

I went to bed alone.

Before going to bed I reminded her it was late and we had an unopened DVD of this film which she bought for just 50p more than 10 years ago. She could watch the film whenever she liked. “Yes, but it’s on telly now” she replied. That shouldn’t make a difference. But it does.

It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this behaviour. I’ve seen it in myself. It’s probably loss aversion causing it, despite there being nothing at risk of being lost.

OK what’s your point caller?

As a user researcher, if you want your colleagues (or the project team) to really absorb the output of research findings, you really need them to be watching it. Actually I believe these days that you should give them the responsibility of owning and interpreting the output. This stops them from simply delegating empathy and understanding on to you.

You can create clips, visualisations and write stuff up about the research. But this only communicates so much to the people who need to understand what happened.

Your best chance of getting people to really absorb what happened is for them to watch and listen to full sessions. For the same reason that Denise won’t ever open that Pretty Woman DVD, you are a lot more likely to get people to watch entire sessions live than have them watch recordings.

These days I have begun to schedule my research around my colleagues time schedules, even if this means I have to run the research over a number of days as a result. When the footage is on video there will always be a better time to watch it and this will reduce the likelihood of it ever being watched.

But when people have the opportunity to watch exactly same thing live, then they are more likely to make the time to watch it. They might also be more engaged in what’s happening.

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Independent UX consultant |

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