NERD Summit 2018 - Building Bridges With Research

Nerd Summit: Building Bridges with Research

This year I set the goal to speak and connect audiences that were beyond my comfort zone. With a design background and growing focus on UX research, I tend to have an audience with designers and researchers throughout the workday. Interactions with developers and product managers tend happen in planned meetings that force an exchange that does not normally happen.

The talk I did for NERD Summit 2018 presented to a room of developers and architects how I am building a research team to help foster communication across disciplines. The following lessons show that these silos are felt on all sides.

1. We have similar problems

NERD summit 2018 - Building bridges with research

Executive swoop and poop and how this affect product design and development.

Talking about some of the struggles that we faced in product design and how the research team can connect the counterparts showed me that the developers at NERD Summit were experiencing similar issues.

No one was a fan of deciding things in meetings and conference calls. Everyone had an experience where an executive came in and changed everything the team was working on. We all struggled with aligning diverse opinions.

When we decide to go in a certain direction, we needed to know why this is the best path.

2. Developers need help with data and research

NERD Summit building bridges with research

Finding ways to include the data that everyone looks at to triangulate data points.

A few conversations between sessions helped to confirm that developers tend to look a lot at logs for performance and errors. Some also get a direct line to customers to hear complaints.
They need help with making sense of these data points. They also wanted to know how the data they look at relates to the what customers and users need.

3. Building bridges with research

NERD summit 2018 - Building bridges with research

Finding ways to include dev, design, and product managers in the research process through out the product life cycle.

The room was very receptive to the talk about leaning on research to bring in the data, analyze, synthesize, and report the findings. Some businesses even discussed building in a research component into their offerings because their customers were starting to ask for it.

Final thoughts

None of the developers or architects at the conference were ok with being excluded from the research process. They all felt the need to process the data in order to stay connected with the decisions and outcomes.

Read more about my past conference talks here.

Find out how I can help you with your next conference or other speaking needs here.

Matt Eng

UX Research Team Lead at IBM Design. Based in Austin,TX. Worked with clients such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ogilvy, RBC, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Polycom, Symantec, and Pebble. Matt teaches, mentors, and speaks about design, creativity, and fostering stronger connections within teams.

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