The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Wrapping It All Up

By on in Design, User Research

If you’ve been following along with the Carbon Five Guide to User Research, we’ve worked on developing and confirming a business hypothesis by talking to users and synthesizing the results, then generating a feature set and prototypes, higher resolution design, development, and usability testing. Hopefully you’ve already run a user test and learned something valuable in the process. (If you haven’t, get thee to a User Research Sprint!)

If you have completed your first round of user interviews, good news: you’ve already done the hardest part of setting up an infrastructure that lets you continue learning from your users. Here’s how to keep the insights coming as your product matures.

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: The What’s, How’s, and Why’s of Prototyping

By on in Design, User Research

If you’ve been following along with our guide to user research, great! By now you’ve defined your feature set and are ready to try out your ideas. You know your product will be validated by user research and match user needs. You know that you need a version of the product to test your solutions and before writing any production code.

Now, we are going to walk through some of the best ways to get the feature set you have in mind into a useful prototype. Some rules of the road to follow before you begin creating prototypes:

  • The more the merrier: Come up with as many ideas to prototype as you can; this will help you evaluate your product with both your team and with your users.
  • Iterate, iterate, iterate: Once you have the ideas make sure you evolve them through multiple rounds before you throw them out. This is your time to try stuff out and have fun. If you don’t explore broadly at this stage, when will you?
  • Use these prototypes to learn: Prototyping is most powerful when it is used to test a hypothesis and to learn about your users and what they want. Don’t think of the prototypes as a final design but as a way of learning what your final design might be.

Without further ado, here are our six favorite prototyping techniques.

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Feature Definition

By on in Design, User Research

Welcome to the 4th of our User Research series where we share our insights into how to generate a list of features. In the coming paragraphs we’ll talk about how User Research can help with stakeholder management, generating a feature list, and prioritizing a feature list. This post focuses on feature definition, and making what we’ve heard actionable (and testable!). Our next and final post will cover a handful of methods to prototype the features we generate here.

In our last post, we worked on synthesis and analysis of user interviews. After a number of interviews, we refined our proto-personas and identified common experiences.

(You haven’t done synthesis before? No worries! We run User Research Sprints that help with this process.)

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Carbon Five + Cooper: Exploring Alexa & the Future of Voice UIs

By on in C5 Labs, Design, Development

Recently, designers and technologists from Cooper & Carbon Five sat down to brainstorm about the future of voice-driven user experiences, focusing initially on Alexa. It was a fun kickoff for what we hope turns into a series of prototypes and experiments exploring (and pushing) the boundaries of this exciting emerging technology. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far:

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Interview Synthesis

By on in Design, User Research

So you’ve conducted a round of user interviews. Great! You’ve got video or audio you can revisit if you or your partner weren’t able to jot down everything in time. Wonderful! You recorded your thoughts during the session and kept track of conclusions and interesting observations immediately after. Amazing!

(Wait, you haven’t run a user interview yet? We run User Research Sprints that help with this exact thing.)

We’ll be using a fictional story about a hotel that wants to boost its appeal among business travelers. They’ve interviewed a group of experienced travelers and are about to break down the results. This story is loosely based on the DoubleTree cookie.

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Interviewing

By on in Design, User Research

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You’ve written your script. You’ve screened your respondents and you’ve scheduled time with them (which you learned to do in our Guide to Recruiting Participants). You’ve got a big day of learning about your users ahead of you!

We’re going to cover what to do during the interview and what to prepare ahead of time. Preparation is important—he more confident you are, the more your respondents will trust you and feel comfortable responding.

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Recruiting Participants

By on in Design, User Research

If you have ever tried to recruit folks for a focus group or usability test, you know it can be really hard, super frustrating, and downright discouraging. But have no fear, Carbon Five is here! Before you start reaching out, you’ve got to get into the right headspace. You will probably be interacting with people that come from diverse backgrounds, and there are some unusual places you can find ready willing and able participants for your research study. A few rules of thumb will help you successfully recruit:

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C5 Labs: YouCaring + Carbon Five

By on in C5 Labs

Empathy is at the core of Carbon Five’s design process. We use it every day to design and develop software that can help solve real problems that affect real people. We are always looking to partner with companies and organizations who also value empathy. That is why we were excited to collaborate with YouCaring, a free fundraising and crowdfunding website.

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The Carbon Five Guide to User Research: Starting Your Research Project

By on in Design, User Research

So, you’ve read the introduction to the Carbon Five Guide to User Research and you’re ready to get started. Welcome!

During this step we’ll be working through what we’re hoping to find, who we’re hoping to talk to, and what we’re hoping to ask. If you’re trying to convince someone else in your company to invest in a research project identifying the basic assumptions and outcomes like this is a great place to start.

We’ll be using the hypothetical company Delivery Healthy. Delivery Healthy is a startup that serves people who are trying to eat healthy while still ordering a lot of take-out, because they say you should write what you know.

Ready? Let’s go!

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