UX Research Expertise Makes All the Difference
Carol Barnum is an expert in UX research
Carol’s UX research publications present practical solutions and case studies that demonstrate how research informs practice. Her articles, books, book chapters, and presentations cover important topics in usability, UX research, content strategy, and other hot topics.
Invited Essay: The State of UX Research
My reflections in this essay focus on the state of UX research. I am thinking specifically of usability testing, but also more generally of other common forms of UX research, such as contextual inquiry, heuristic evaluation, and in-depth interviews.
My key concerns can be presented in the following questions:
- Are short courses teaching rigorous usability research methods?
- Is the methodology for conducting valid small studies well understood?
- Is the democratization of UX research diluting the practice of UX research?
- Is the proliferation of online tools diminishing the utility of the UX researcher?
- With current job descriptions, should we drop the U in UX?
How Do Other People Do It? A Comparative Review of Usability Study Reports
On the most recent of Rolf Molich’s Comparative Usability Evaluation studies (CUE-10), 16 participants conducted an exercise intended to “gather real-world data about usability test moderation from experienced UX professionals.” Each team conducted three sessions of the same usability study (same site, same tasks) and recorded the sessions so other teams could examine each other’s moderation practices.
More Articles by Carol Barnum
"Ask UX Matters" Columns
Dealing with Clients Who Only Focus on Only One Aspect of a UX Design, April 2020
Empowering Teams to Work Better Together, December 2019
Conducting International User Research February 2019
Collaborating with Automated UX Tools December 2018
Integrating User-Research Findings into Strategy November 2018
Testing Low-Fidelity Versus High-Fidelity Mockups June 2018
How to Stand Out in the Expanding Field of User Experience February 2018
Testing Products People Will Use in a Variety of Environments September 2017
Books That Have Influenced Our UX Careers, Part 2: Applied UX Research March 2017
Merging User Experience and Systems Engineering April 2016
Distinguishing Yourself as a UX Professional November 2015
Identifying and Validating Assumptions and Mitigating Biases in User Research October 2015
Recruiting the Right Participants for User Research September 2015
Asking Probing Questions During a Usability Study May 2015
Should Your Entire Product Team Observe Usability Testing? March 2015
Persuading Clients That the Need for User Research and Usability Testing Is Real October 2014
Learning About and Modeling Users August 2014
Why Is It So Hard to Find Good UX People? March 2014
Conducting Expert Reviews: What Works Best? January 2014
UX Concepts and Practices That We Wish Would Just Go Away! August 2013
Finding Your Favorite UX Conference May 2012
How Important Are UX Degrees and Certifications? January 2012
Bridging User Research into Design October 2011
Integrating UX into Agile Development April 2011
Academic Journal Articles
Co-authored article, “How Professionals Moderate Usability Tests,” Journal of Usability Studies, August 2020
Co-authored article with Ginny Redish: “Overlap, Influence, Intertwining: The Interplay of UX and Technical Communication,” Journal of Usability Studies, May 2011
Co-authored article with (the late) Ken Rainey and Herb Smith: “Steps and Missteps in Negotiating a Joint Degree Program with a Chinese University,” for an edited volume of new essays called Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments, Sense Publishers, 2008
“Agile and UCD: Can This Marriage Be Saved?” Cutter Business Technology Journal, September 2007
Co-authored with Li Huilin, “Chinese and American Technical Communication: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Differences,” lead article in May 2006 issue of Technical Communication. Called “groundbreaking” by editor of the journal
Lead author of co-authored article: “Index vs. Full-Text Search: A Usability Study of User Preference and Performance,” Technical Communication, May 2004. (Award of “Distinguished” Journal Article)
UX Pioneers interview with Carol Barnum by Tamara Adlin, March 2008
Rendezvous interview with Carol Barnum in KnowGenesis (International Journal for Technical Communication), September 2006
Carol Barnum is the author of more than 50 articles and 6 books, including Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set…Test! 2nd edition (2021).
Her research focus is on the practical applications of user research, the rationale and selection of the right research tools in a UX toolkit, strategies for effective professional and technical communication, and approaches for communicating in cross-cultural situations.
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Frequently Asked Questions about UX Research
What is UX research?
UX research involves applying UX research findings about your users to better tailor your product to its target audience. Carol Barnum Consulting provides training on the right tools in the UX research toolkit to match your needs and budget. Contact Carol to get started!