User Research War Stories

Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal

Stories make the world go round. As people who do user research, we love stories. At its simplest, our job is to gather stories and to retell them. War stories about contextual user research and the inevitable mishaps that ensue are in turn bizarre, comic, tragic, and generally astonishing.

In this DesignTalk, Steve Portigal shares some of the best stories from his book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries, examining the patterns and lessons they reveal. For a practice that isn’t always well understood or trusted, there’s pressure to only speak to the successes. But examining the human messiness of this work can help develop our skills and our community. Steve’s collection of stories fills a longstanding need for the design and research community—sharing what can go wrong in the real world.

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