Larry Swanson, Laura Joss, Cora Cowles, and Brent Summers (left to right)
Back in early March, when it was still safe to gather in person, we convened a panel of UX strategy experts at the ConveyUX conference in Seattle.
Cora Cowles is Associate Experience Director at Huge Detroit
Laura Joss is Global Director of the Design Research team at Motorola
Brent Summers is Director of Marketing at Blink UX
We had a broad-ranging discussion about how to balance quantitative and qualitative inputs into UX strategy. Each panelist brought a unique perspective. And the audience asked some great questions.
This was the first "live" recording of this podcast. The format is a little different from the interviews I usually conduct. What do you think? Should I continue to experiment with different formats for the show?
(Apologies for the audio issues from about 12:30 until 14:00. We had a technical problem, which the on-site staff resolved very quickly. Thanks to Laura for powering through this part of the conversation.)
Cora, Laura, Brent, and I discussed:
each of the panelists' professional background and approach
common research challenges that UX strategists encounter
different research set-ups, from fancy dedicated labs to remotely facilitated operations
how alternating between quantitative and qualitative approaches benefits both
the importance of stepping away from the research process to ask why you're doing it in the first place
the difference between intuition and professional judgment - and how to go forward when you have a gut feeling about a course of research
surprises that arise in the course of conducting research
how to deal with financial data and other sensitive information
how to convince stakeholders to support quantitative testing
how do you know when you've done enough research to move on to the next stage
how to cope when you are tasked with "slash" duties: slash architect, slash designer, etc.
Cora Cowles leads the user experience discipline for Huge Detroit in her role as Associate Experience Director. With over 13 years of varied experience across many industries—financial services, automotive and consumer packaged goods—and an MSI in human computer interaction from The University of Michigan, she specializes in information architecture and user research. Inquisitive when it matters most, Cora keeps an eye on new trends, but considers herself a purist in her role; she shies away from anything that does not directly benefit a user’s experience and is always searching for underlying root causes and contrary positions. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her two young children, and teaches dance as well as children’s cooking classes.
Laura Joss, Ph.D. is the global director of the Design Research team at Motorola. Her team, with members located in Chicago, Sao Paolo, and Beijing, is tasked with uncovering unmet user needs and translating those needs into actionable outcomes for product teams and senior leadership. During her time at Motorola she has helped ship numerous smartphone innovations, including Moto Maker, Moto Mods, and other pain-point solving software innovations. Her work has included developing an on-site living lab for in-person, onsite research, and creating digital panels of users for continuous user engagement throughout the product life cycle. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, and a Masters Degree in Judgment and Decision Making. In her spare time she loves exploring new wines- as long as its not barleywine.
Brent Summers is an award-winning marketer and strategist with more than 15 years of experience in leading cross-functional teams in increasing brand awareness, driving business growth,