When I went to Rwanda in June 2010, I learned that methodically structured research does not succeed in Rwandan teacher training schools. My team aimed to help teacher trainers improve education through expanding their access to resources and their ability to talk to one another through the web. Before we could answer our research questions, we had a few others to answer.
What do you do when you cannot stick to a schedule? How do you find participants when you cannot recruit ahead of time? What can you do without an equipped lab?
The answers to these questions required that we adapt our approaches to fit within a culture new to us. Each school we visited and each person we encountered offered a chance to refine the way we worked.
In the end, our revised approach not only allowed us to learn what we hoped to find out, but also encouraged us to explore opportunities that yielded unanticipated discoveries. Even with the trip half a year behind me, I find that its lessons have continued to affect the way I plan and moderate user experience research.
During this lightning talk, I will share the stories from my experience doing UX research in the real world. For the most part, you will get to sit back and enjoy story time. But don't get too comfy— I will ask for some sharing, and there may even be a language lesson. Wherever you do your research and whatever audience you serve, my stories from Rwanda will provide a fresh perspective on user experience research.