Google Maps aims to solve a plethora of problems related to how people get around in the world. I do quick and frequent research to disambiguate some of these problems, and help teams understand their users.
Since July 2018 I have:
I am on the Rapid Research team supporting several cross-functional teams whenever they need to answer a research question quickly. Most of my studies occur within 2 week sprints but that depends on the method and type of research question I am asking.
My main role (as of ~July 2019) is supporting a team that is working on a new feature. I’ve led 4 iterative studies (in-lab and in-field) to understand its usability, all which I turned around in 2 weeks each. I am in the process of supporting a multi-city diary study to understand it’s utility over time!
I’ve contributed to a literature review of 600+ resources to identify hunches for future initiatives. I extracted hundreds of takeaways and synthesised them into high-level insights with my research team.
Output: These insights "refreshed" our perspective of different areas that we had grown many orthodoxies on. They also highlighted research gaps and areas that we could learn more about. The output of this research were 6 provocations that contributed to director-level strategy and planning.
Since joining Maps, I've analysed 3 datasets from satisfaction surveys about a feature. This involved coding open-ended responses to find key themes and working with a quant researcher to report on findings.
Output: Over the 3 times I have done this analysis, I have found changing trends per time and country. This helped teams understand areas of concern in their feature.
I facilitated a 4-day design sprint in a problem space that one team had not yet been working on. I helped them synthesise existing knowledge into clear How-Might-We's.
After re-framing and re-prioritising problems, I guided the team through ideation exercises. We then chose the best ideas, improved them, and hacked a research plan together to test with people the next day.
Output: While the concept testing was also insightful, the bigger takeaway was the team alignment. The sprint led to a clearer definition of what problem needed solving.
I’ve run remote interviews to learn more about a new archetype that we had minimal research on before. To synthesise the qualitative data and help XFN team members empathise, I facilitated a workshop where everyone had to listen to the interviews and share findings.
Output: This research clarified this archetype’s motivations and patterns of behaviour. Further foundational research has been done based on my findings, which has also led into the ideation of a new product. Bonus: 8 engineers were present in the workshop, and got to listen to a first-hand account from users! This contributed to a director-led empathy program in our team.
Reduce the possibility of confusion by involving stakeholders at the right time. This will also improve how the research is received, and its impact on the team and product. Only involving stakeholders during kickoff and handover is not enough.
Involve a whole team in research will create long term in gains in building empathy in the team. It can also reduce your workload, so it's killing two birds with one stone. It's more fun to work in a team and have multiple perspectives anyway
For quick research, stakeholders generally want bite-sized, actionable insights that are easy to digest. Well communicated insights will save time by reducing any confusion about research.
An example of how I might communicate a finding. I like to think about: what happened and why anyone should care.
I got the chance to represent Google at uxRESEARCH Sydney on a panel about life as a UX researcher in October 2018 with two of my colleagues Jess and Ilias.