I (Kelly) am finally recovering after a couple weeks battling pneumonia, and breaking the drought of blog posts! Prior to getting sick I attended a workshop about conducting stakeholder interviews, and analyzing and visualizing the data gathered. The workshop was delivered by Johann W. Sarmiento-Klapper, Ph.D., an Internal, User Experience & Strategic Consultant at SAP.
Dr. Sarmiento-Klapper began the workshop with a quote that described his way of thinking and the context for our discussions: "What I am going to argue is that the critical mind, if it is to renew itself and be relevant again, [needs] to be found in the cultivation of a stubbornly realist attitude, but [the type of] realism [I would like to propose is one] that [is able to deal] with what I will call matters of concern, not matters of fact...A matter of concern is what happens to a matter of fact when you add to it its whole scenography, much like you would do by shifting your attention from the stage [of a play] to the whole machinery of the theater." He referred to usability testing as the method for discovering/testing "matters of fact" and user experience research as the method for discovering/testing "matters of concern."
Throughout the workshop Dr. Sarmiento-Klapper talked mostly of the methods and tools used in user experience research. He covered foundational topics like: which types of design research questions are a good fit for interview, and how to visualize findings in a clear and compelling way. He spoke about how qualitative data, such as the kind that you can collect via user experience interviews or direct observation, is usually quite rich, detailed, and full of the authentic and interconnected representations (and some traps) that we all use to communicate meaning and context. Analyzing such data and presenting the insights derived from such analysis can be daunting but also fascinating, and the process of information visualization, part science part art, can play a very crucial role in helping us both analyze data and communicate insights/results. We only had time to cover basic 2-D formats during the workshop, but Dr. Sarmiento-Klapper recommended exploring one of the most exciting topics in the field of information visualization today: how to present data and insights in an interactive/dynamic way.
Here are some of the data visualization resources he recommended:
About Johann W. Sarmiento-Klapper, Ph.D.
Dr. Sarmiento-Klapper is an Internal, User Experience & Strategic Consultant at SAP in Philadelphia, PA. He designs and executes internal strategic and user experience consulting engagements at SAP in order to understand, create and improve processes, technology tools, and other resources related to the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of all SAP employees. A key focus of his work is around Knowledge Management or Knowledge Enablement, including the way we all access and use information, find and participate in learning/training opportunities and connect and collaborate with people at SAP.