Life as a consultant requires a lot of creative thinking. And by “creative,” I don’t mean artsy. We have to be crafty to get things done on budget and on time. More often than not, user research and usability testing get deprioritized in favor of features. But this doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t do what we can with what little we have. And that’s what I’ll be speaking about it at this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference.
The company I’m with affords me the opportunity to work with a lot of nonprofit and government clients. It’s incredibly rewarding: the people I get to work with are working on Big Problems, from eradicating polio to bringing support to poor countries, and everything in between. Often, we’re redesigning websites for these clients. But because of the nature of their work, these organizations are usually operating under significant time and money constraints. And in the end, features and functionality are simply much sexier than user research and usability testing.
Some of my colleagues and I will be speaking about all of this and more at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Washington, DC, which takes place March 23—25. Our session? Audience Research On a Dime, where we’ll walk through:
- Why research and testing gets deprioritized
- How to convince stakeholders of its importance
- What kinds of research or testing can be helpful
- How to conduct these lean studies or tests in a quick-and-dirty way (and still get value out of them)
Now, NTC isn’t a conference we’ve talked much about here on UX Booth. But it’s right up our readership’s alley. NTC is this fantastic gathering of communications folks and web managers from nonprofit organizations large and small. I’ve been to two of them now, and I can honestly say it’s the most rewarding and engaging conference out there; this is mostly because the attendees are all very similar in that they want to:
- Make a difference using their unique skillsets
- Do a lot for their users, audiences, and stakeholders, with very limited resources
- Meet others and learn from them
Here’s a sampling of other sessions, too—in case mine isn’t enough to entice:
- Where is the Download Button? The Importance of Good User Interface on Transactional Websites, by Timothy Stockart and Joyce Pedersen
- Proving ROI: Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of a Successful Digital Campaign, by Devon Hopkins
- How Nonprofits Can Be Part of the Podcasting Renaissance, by Will Coley, Jaunita Monsalve, and Lauren Ober
- Demo Stage – Augmented and Virtual Reality (personally, I’m a huge sucker for AR/VR)
If you work in, around, or with nonprofits and haven’t joined these conferences before, I strongly recommend coming by. It’s currently sold out,
but cancelations happen! Register for the wait list on the NTC website. Editor’s note: the wait list has filled and is now closed.
And if you do, please come say hi to me and my colleagues! We hope to see you there. If you have any questions at all, hit me up on Twitter. In the meantime, here’s a T-rex I met at the last NTC.
UX research - or as it’s sometimes called, design research - informs our work, improves our understanding, and validates our decisions in the design process. In this Complete Beginner's Guide, readers will get a head start on how to use design research techniques in their work, and improve experiences for all users.