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User focused meet up – interviewing users without bias

Our next lunchtime meetup for staff interested in user experience-related matters is Wednesday 3rd October, with Nicola Dobiecka providing an overview of user research facilitation.

Bring along your lunch, and learn how to interview without bias while you eat.

Conducting unbiased research with service and product users

You’ve decided to find out whether people using your service or product find it easy to use.
Do you ask “Do you find this system easy to use?”

You’ve decided to develop a new product or service and you want to find out if it will be useful to people.
Do you ask “Would you find this useful?”

When we ask those questions in that way people often tell us what they think we want to hear… among other things.

“The answers you get depend on the questions you ask”
Thomas S Kuhn

According to David Travis of the UX consultancy User Focus: “There are a small number of fundamental principles that (a) psychologists know, (b) most people don’t and (c) are relevant to user researchers.”

In this session, UX Service senior consultant Nicola Dobiecka  will introduce those principles and share practical information to help you run an effective user-research interview so you can find out what people are really thinking.

What we’ll cover:

  • Some of the fundamental principles of human behaviour which are relevant to user researchers.
  • What this means for how to design research
  • Types of bias you can encounter.
  • Ways to conduct a session which reduce the likelihood of these biases occurring.
  • ‘Roles’ you can adopt to help you behave in an effective way during a research interview.
  • Some examples of non-verbal cues to watch out for in a research session or interview
  • How to spot an interviewers’ faux pas with a game of ‘Bad question bingo’

About Nicola

Nicola is a highly experienced user researcher and user experience designer, and  operates as senior consultant with the University’s User Experience Service.

After the talk, our regular discussion group

After the talk, we’ll hold our usual discussion group, where the agenda is set and prioritised by the people in the room.

We use the Lean Coffee approach to decide what to talk about and for how long.

How do Lean Coffee discussion sessions work?

When and where

When: Wednesday 3 October, 12:00 to 13:45

Where: Room 7, Floor E, Argyle House

Who: The session is free and open for all University of Edinburgh staff

Book a place for the session (EASE login required)


12:00 – Welcome
12:10 – Presentation: Conducting unbiased research with service and product users
12.50 – Group exercise: Bad question bingo
13:00 – Discussion group
13:30 – Close


Unfortunately we can’t offer you lunch, so please bring along your lunch if you want to eat while listening to Nicola’s talk.


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