We interview lots of practitioners
- Dmitry Ratnikov
- June 26, 2008
Do you ever get amazed at how much you can learn by just talking to people?
Us too—every time.
User research helps designers make decisions about what products to build and what features or content to include in those products. Since we don’t have a shortage of design challenges associated with CommunityCollab, we began the project with intensive user research—interviewing staff and leadership from community development corporations (CDCs), as well as funders, educators, writers, organizers, intermediaries, etc.
The goal of the interviews is two-fold: first, learn about the day to day activities of practitioners in this field, and second, identify opportunities to support these activities with features of CommunityCollab. In other words, we are searching for functionality (and content) that will make the portal irresistibly useful to our target audiences. We know that no one really needs another website to log in to, or another barrage of emails to read. Unless, of course, this site or those emails make their jobs easier or help solve problems. This is what CommunityCollab strives to achieve.
We are discovering a lot of perspectives that guide our work. Since we audio-record the interviews (with permission of course), we can listen back through them for comments or insights we didn’t catch in our notes. Some of these comments are quite enlightening. Here are two examples (captured on our home-made stickies):
It’s hard to imagine working on a project like this without talking to real users in advance. After the more than 20 interviews we’ve conducted, we switched our focus to prototyping the first release of CommunityCollab. Right after that is out the door, we plan to conduct more interviews to get feedback on how well it is serving its audiences and on what we can add next.
Would you like to be interviewed in relation to this project? Just let us know by contacting us.