It's Our Research

Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects

It’s Our Research: Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects discusses frameworks, strategies, and techniques for working with stakeholders of user experience (UX) research in a way that ensures their buy-in. This book consists of six chapters arranged according to the different stages of research projects. Topics discussed include the different roles of business, engineering, and user-experience stakeholders; identification of research opportunities by developing empathy with stakeholders; and planning UX research with stakeholders. The book also offers ways of teaming up with stakeholders; strategies to improve the communication of research results to stakeholders; and the nine signs that indicate that research is making an impact on stakeholders, teams, and organizations. This book is meant for UX people engaged in usability and UX research. Written from the perspective of an in-house UX researcher, it is also relevant for self-employed practitioners and consultants who work in agencies. It is especially directed at UX teams that face no-time-no-money-for-research situations.


Primary: User experience practitioners, researchers, usability analysts, interaction designers, user interface experts, human factors engineers, and usability engineers worldwide. Secondary: students, new practitioners, as well as individuals experienced in a plethora of organizational environments and settings

Paperback, 288 Pages

Published: March 2012

Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann

ISBN: 978-0-12-385130-7


  • "I find the book compelling because it’s international, based on experience, business oriented, and practical, and it has videos….The book is definitely international, with mini-essays by usability practitioners from all over the world (the videos are international as well). This produces a wide variety of contexts and highlights some interesting parallels."--Computing, December 5, 2012
    "In this book, Tomer Sharon does a great and ground-breaking job of presenting useful wisdom on how to make usability research useful and usable, and how to sell it. The contents of this book can be summarized in seven words: Do as you preach and be humble. If that’s not sufficiently usable for you, read this book!"-Rolf Molich, DialogDesign
    "Tomer Sharon’s book is the cure for usability professionals whose work isn’t having the impact it deserves. Here you’ll find ways to work different, to make your research connect with stakeholders instead of trash cans. File under: work smarter, not harder." -Gerard Torenvliet, Senior Human Factors Scientist, Medtronic
    "A thoroughly readable look at how to make sure our user research actually makes it into the products we create. It explains how to get everyone engaged, how to plan research that asks the right questions, and how to help people use research findings. It's full of practical tips, great advice and real-life stories from practitioners."-Donna Spencer, Maadmob
    "It’s Our Research" should be required reading for anyone involved in a UX research study. Sharon will not only help you avoid the many pitfalls that most UX research projects come across, but more importantly give you all the tips and tricks for getting the most out your UX research."-William Albert, Bentley University; Author, Measuring the User Experience and Beyond the Usability Lab
    "There is probably no question that I am asked more often than "How can I have more influence?"  User research that isn’t able to bring insight and drive improvement might as well not have happened.  This book is the most complete guide to getting stakeholder buy-in that I have seen.  It is a "must read" for researchers and their managers."-Arnie Lund, Microsoft; Author, User Experience Management
    "As an experienced Human Factors Engineer, I thought I knew how to do user research and engage stakeholders.  But in these pages I discovered new ways to ensure my user research will be useful to my clients.  The book is well organized and includes rich interviews and case study content.  I especially appreciated the takeaways at the end of each chapter."-- Stan Caplan, President, Usability Associates, LLC
    "The best researchers know how to inspire their stakeholders to act on their findings. At Google, Tomer brings a unique combination of depth and inventiveness in the way he communicates and works with the designers and managers who need to act on his findings. This learned, direct and humorous book explains how he achieves that."--Giles Colborne, cxpartners, Author, Simple and usable web, mobile and interaction design
    "If no one reads your report or implements your recommendations does it really matter how statistically valid your findings were? Do your yourself and your users a favor …read Tomer’s Book."--Jeff Sauro, Principal Measuring Usability LLC; Author, Quantifying the User Experience
    "This guide explains how to increase the chances that stakeholders (such as product managers, engineers, and management) will actually act on the user experience (UX) research they have commissioned. The guide is written from the perspective of in-house UX researchers (especially 'teams of one'), but it is also relevant for self-employed practitioners and consultants. It will also be useful for design researchers, product designers, user interface designers, information architects, and human factors specialists. The book primarily discusses UX research on digital services, but also covers digital products and systems of products and services in industrial and medical settings. Advice is given on dealing with difficult people, combining quantitative and qualitative data, and communicating research results. The book's appealing layout includes color photos, illustrations, diagrams, screenshots, and charts. Web sites and video interviews can be accessed using quick response (QR) codes supplied in the book."--Reference and Research Book News, Inc.


  • Foreword

    Prologue: The Usable Planet


    If a study has run, with no one around to hear about it, did it still happen?

    1 If Life Gives You Limes, Make Mojitos!

    Identifying stakeholders, selling user experience research, and dealing with difficult people and situations


    Types of stakeholders

    Business stakeholders

    Engineering stakeholders

    User experience stakeholders


    The perspectives of UX research stakeholders

    Difficult people, teams, and organizations: Fight or flight?

    Selling the value of research

    The Lean Startup movement

    Accept the fact that it might not work and that it’s okay



    2 Mmm . . . Interesting; So What Exactly Is It That You Want To Learn?

    Implementing your great participant interviewing skills on stakeholders; asking good questions, listening, saying the right things, and identifying research opportunities


    Initiation of a study

    The most important questions to ask your stakeholders

    What is the product?

    Who are the users of the product?

    What do you want to know? Why?

    When do you need the results?

    What will you do with the research results?

    Bonus question: What do you know now?

    Delay any discussion about methodologies

    Become the voice of reason

    Listening and sowing seeds


    3 If You Pick a Methodology First, Something Must Be Wrong

    Strategies for planning studies with stakeholders and techniques for developing the right research questions


    Research plans

    Users and purposes of study plans

    Long plans

    No plans

    The plan stakeholders love: The one-page plan

    Study goals

    Why have goals? Who needs goals?


    The difference between goals and questions

    Research questions

    Good and bad questions

    The questions stakeholders ask and the ones they do not

    How many questions?

    Prioritizing questions

    Selecting a methodology and describing it

    The magic of injecting quantitative data into qualitative findings



    4 What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork!

    Hands-on techniques for collaborating and involving stakeholders in research planning, execution, analysis, and reporting


    Why collaborate?

    Plan together

    The meetings you need to have

    A simple planning artifact

    Agreement and buy-in per study

    Recruit participants together

    Who can help and when

    Why bother? I can do without them!

    How to ask for help

    Salespeople are very busy people

    Interact with users together

    Stakeholders in field studies

    Stakeholders in lab studies

    Help stakeholders interview users and launch surveys

    Analyze together

    Color the experience

    The field visit debrief is a huge opportunity

    Use the KJ technique

    Conduct workshops

    Do not report recommendations

    Report results together

    The joint report

    The joint presentation

    Maintain an internal blog

    Provide appropriate credits



    5 The Single Biggest Problem In Communication Is The Illusion That It Has Taken Place

    Strategies and tools to effectively communicate research results by using reports, presentations, and more cool stuff



    Avoid the report-which-is-actually-a-presentation

    Share key findings before your report is ready

    Report structures

    Report only the most severe findings

    The executive summary

    How long should a report be?

    Don’t start fires

    Use the report as a live communication tool


    Learn the art of presenting

    Present to multiple teams

    Other communication tools and techniques


    Visualize and design posters

    Run a research expo

    Combine quantitative and qualitative data

    Develop top ten lists

    Soft communication skills

    ALWAYS communicate what works well

    Become immersed in your team

    Communicate bad news

    Never use an escalation mandate

    Proxy designers



    6 You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

    Signs that indicate research is being used well and how you can systematically track success (or failure)


    Signs that research is being used well

    Research is consumed

    Budget is allocated for more research

    Findings are long and lasting

    Trust is established

    Skeptical stakeholders become believers

    Business is changed

    Staffing is changed

    Repeated requests are made for UX research training

    Researchers are recognized

    How to track the impact of research

    Have a buy-in tracking strategy

    Before and after screenshots

    Screenshots with callouts


    Quotes and videos

    Research analytics






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