The UX Lexicon is Born – clear communication and understanding for all researchers

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Transcript of recording with Michele Ronson – generated automatically by HappyScribe which means it will be about 80% accurate – if you spot confusing errors, please email The timestamps are included to help you jump directly to a point of interest.


[00:00:08.910] – Michele Ronson

Hi there, I’m Michelle Runs announcing a design and user research group based in San Francisco, California. Most of you work in the market and marketing research worlds, I assume. And like you, we design and user researchers helping people understand each other are works to build connections with the people we’re designing for, whether they’re prospects or those who use our products and services, a.k.a. our users from the marketing world. You might call them consumers today. Instead of understanding and building connections with clients and users, I’m going to share some work.


[00:00:40.050] – Michele Ronson

I’ve like to create clear, deeper and better communication and understanding for all researchers and everyone involved in the community. I think it’s high time we try to understand each other, UX, Emmerich’s, SCIEX, whatever you call yourself. And that’s what this presentation’s about today. For context, I moved from the design side about 10 years ago. I transitioned into UX or design research or user experience research or UX research, just a few of the confusing acronyms and examples of our terminology that’s causing a lot of confusion today.


[00:01:22.290] – Michele Ronson

Last year I established Curiosity Take a new firm with the sole purpose of focusing more of my time on educating growing UX researchers and aspiring researchers in this space. Simply put, I help people ask better questions in order to make more confident decisions through consulting and education. This is going to be important because it lays the storyline for what we’re going to talk about today. In twenty twenty, I taught over thirty two hundred students how to ask better questions in order to make more informed decisions.


[00:01:58.590] – Michele Ronson

And LinkedIn honored me with a Top Voices Award in the technology category. So thank you for coming to my presentation today called the UX Lexa’s Board Clear Communication and understanding for all researchers. So the effort I’m going to share with you today is about creating a shared industry lexicon so we can start having better conversations, more empathy for each other, reduce the rework and start partnering together. Why? Because there’s a lot of confusion today. UX and Imitrex are in flux.


[00:02:32.790] – Michele Ronson

SCIEX is part of you. All of us are trying to understand people. In many cases we have similar goals and even similar backgrounds. Yet interestingly, we’re all focused on learning, but we aren’t learning from each other yet. And we certainly don’t speak the same language. This is a terrific children’s book, if you’ve never read it, called Duck or Rabbit, and it’s all about how we see things depending upon our individual perspectives, we bring our language and our terms from the perspectives and industries we come from.


[00:03:09.740] – Michele Ronson

For example, I bring mine from the design side. Our UCS terminology problem was everywhere. What do we call this or what do we mean by that? Well, this means this to me and I’m right, or this means that in America or how many times has a client come in and said, I want a journey map? And when you ask them, what do you think the journey map is, they’re describing something else. I saw this in my classes, I saw this when consulting with internal teams and I saw this confusion with my clients and it started to follow me like a big dark cloud in the classroom.


[00:03:45.920] – Michele Ronson

A student asked me to explain the difference between ethnography and design thinking. And my first thought was, you shouldn’t ask that question aloud loud. And I’d like to know she has a PhD. Of course, I didn’t say this out loud. I also saw it during interdisciplinary conversations. I asked a marketing strategists to provide me with feedback on a teaching tool, and she was absolutely adamant that workflow analysis was not a legitimate use. Our method and it should be removed from my tool.


[00:04:15.920] – Michele Ronson

I saw among my professional research papers to esteemed colleagues and I had a half hour conversation about whether journey mapping was indeed a user research method. We didn’t come to an agreed upon definition of. And I also saw it with my customers and my clients and potential clients, I once had an instance where potential client wanted to maximize their survey effort. There were four people on this kickoff call. Forty five minutes later, I realized that they had been conducting one on one interviews, not distributing surveys.


[00:04:48.610] – Michele Ronson

And last but not least, when recruiting new hires or vendor partners. If you don’t understand the basic terminology of what we do and what our industry is founded upon, you cannot possibly know who to hire to do that particular type of work, Nuff said. So I did some research. I Googled and Googled and Googled until the cows came up. I checked out all of the major players in my industry and then I dug a little bit deeper to find out who has a reference guide, who has a really robust, holistic set of definitions with context that I can refer people to and that I can become more educated with and that I can use in my classrooms.


[00:05:37.960] – Michele Ronson

And you know what? I didn’t find a thing, the things I found were short, they had five definitions, maybe 20 definitions, but they lacked the context. They didn’t communicate how this related to where we were in the process that necessarily provide further resources for learning or digging deeper. I didn’t find anything comprehensive. I didn’t find anything holistic. I didn’t find anything contextual. And I certainly didn’t find what I was looking for. I envisioned a place to refer my students, clients and colleagues.


[00:06:16.860] – Michele Ronson

I envisioned a trusted resource with context, a one stop shop. Why, to reduce that confusions and the questions so we can learn from one another and build better connections and deeper understanding with each other, which will in turn translate to our clients and colleagues and the future talent who aspire to work in the industry of understanding people through applied research and because, surprisingly, nothing comprehensive existed. I decided to create one that’s a whole another crazy story, but I’m going to skip that part for today.


[00:07:01.470] – Michele Ronson

Although I knew this was it a one woman job for a variety of reasons, and I had never, ever crowdsource anything in my life. I decided that perhaps the best way to go about this was to indeed crowdsource it, and I led a crowdsourcing effort to begin to tackle this conundrum. My vision was to create an evolving interactive glossary of UX research terms, and it grew from there. I posted a solicitation, so to speak, to see if anybody was interested on LinkedIn and in a Google group, in a crowdsourcing effort, in this crowdsourcing effort and that stand standard and outstanding human being and outrageously talented researcher also from San Francisco.


[00:07:51.750] – Michele Ronson

And she quickly became my partner in crime to achieve this goal. So before I go any further, I want to make sure Janet receives the acknowledgment she deserves for her tireless work in this effort. In fact, I wouldn’t be here speaking today if it weren’t for Janet introducing me to Ray Poynter. So thanks again, Janet. So let’s get to it. Do you know the difference between user research and experience, research, market research and marketing, research, generative, informative research, learnability versus discoverability and findability, or what a heuristic is?


[00:08:35.290] – Michele Ronson

Come on, let’s think about the. Take a look here, these are some of the questions my students, my clients and my colleagues were discussing and getting confused with every day. I got the same questions over and over again. What is a heuristic and why is it important? What’s the difference between a dream up and experience about are they the team? No, they’re not. They’re very different. Do you know what a design researcher does? What does a design researcher do?


[00:09:11.670] – Michele Ronson

How does design research compare to market research? What problems do you study? What methods and techniques do you use? What’s a heat map? What’s a dendrobium? What do you use a hybrid car for? When would you use a closed parts or versus an open parts or versus a hybrid car or where are the pros and cons of moderated versus unmoderated research? What are some unmoderated research methods that might be quantitative? What are some unmoderated research methods that are qualitative?


[00:09:46.890] – Michele Ronson

How does UX apply or does UX apply outside of digital products? Yes, it does to a whole bunch of hardware and service design as well. Do you know one central respected reference guide to learn more about the above online that’s easily accessible and reputable? Well, this is what we started. And without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to the UX Lexicon or Uglegorsk for short, which actually Janet named. Eighty people from across the globe contributed to our evolving interactive glossary of US terms.


[00:10:34.690] – Michele Ronson

There are so many people to think I just want to carve out and make it very, very clear that this is I may have been the one to conceive of this idea, but I certainly wasn’t the one to completely act on it. In addition, not only did we draft over 200 terms, but my students at UC Berkeley then took those terms and did further fact checking on them, then they made them a little bit more consistent. Then they actually conducted a round of generative interviews to understand what it should include and how varying levels of practitioners envision it.


[00:11:18.870] – Michele Ronson

So let me back up there. The crowd sourcing effort. Included over 60 people globally, we drafted over two hundred years, then my UC Berkeley students took those terms. They fact check them. It made them more consistent in terms of length and clarity and conducted several rounds of research, the first rounds of research they did or generative to understand what it should include and how varying levels of practitioners envision. Then they also conducted evaluative research to understand which of their prototypes or let me back up.


[00:12:00.390] – Michele Ronson

They use that generative research to inform low fidelity prototypes, which they then conducted evaluative research on to inform higher fidelity prototypes. And here they are to understand which prototypes bridge the different mental models exposed during the generative interviews. There’s a term for you mental model. How would you describe mental model to a colleague? How about bias or biases, or which of the biases are most prevalent in product research? Well, as you can see, there’s a lot to chew on here, which brings us to where we are today.


[00:12:43.830] – Michele Ronson

The Beda US Selex is up on curiosity Tinkham. You can check it out for yourself at Curiosity, take dot com forward, slash you x dash lexicon. In the US, we have not only a comprehensive glossary of terms, but we have an acronym, DAKOTAH. Let me give you a quick little Tummo. Here we are at the U.S. lexicon, curiosity, take dot com forward, slash UX dash lexicon. What you see when you get to the landing page, here is a short description of what we hope to accomplish and who contributed.


[00:13:30.080] – Michele Ronson

Then you’ll see an alphabet. You can search for terms by there. The first letter of the alphabet. You could also search for terms by category and you can search in a search bar. In addition, we have the acronym Koetter here. Let’s take a quick look at some of the terms. So the terms here that are underlined in purple a B testing affinity map, benchmarking bias. All of these have already been drafted and fleshed out with additional resources.


[00:14:05.960] – Michele Ronson

So take a quick look. Uh, let’s dove into the other terms here that you see in light gray have been drafted but have yet to be released. So what you see here is bias falls under the category of other. It’s not a data generating method. It’s not a process. It’s not a visual reference tool, and it’s not a role. So what is it? When is it best used now? Bias. That’s an interesting one, right?


[00:14:36.860] – Michele Ronson

Because we don’t want to use it. But this structure is something we use consistently throughout all of the definitions in the UX. Lex, what is it? When to best use? What does it entail? What are some interchangeable terms? How is it used in a sentence, some related terms, and whether or not a visual would be helpful? On the right, we see some additional resources. These are totally UNsponsored. We have books, we have articles, we have videos.


[00:15:07.400] – Michele Ronson

And in this particular instance, we have something from Stephanie Walter, which is available on Creative Commons. And there are 50 to cognitive bias cards, which are outstanding. OK, let’s take a look at something else, let’s click here on data generating method. So here we have a category of terms and then you see all of the terms that fit under this category come up. Let’s dove into something. Let’s dove into a story here in Cartes or you see what it is when it’s best used, what it entails, an interchangeable term used in a sentence and related terms.


[00:15:51.360] – Michele Ronson

On the right, you see additional resources. Let’s flip back to the acronym Dakota, so the acronym Dakotah was born out of need, one of the best things that the UC Berkeley students really, really called to my attention was how many acronyms we have in our industry. So we created an acronym, Dakotah. I think there’s over 60 or 80 acronyms here and we created a handout for you so that you can have a take home and stick it on your board as well.


[00:16:32.620] – Michele Ronson

Here are the handouts that we created for you. You can see the terms that are in the US and the acronym DECODER can download these as a PDF. And what’s next for the U.S.? Well, we need a decision on the scope and we need maybe a better name, should Emerick’s or Marketing or SCIEX be included in the name? We’re not quite sure yet. And we need to flesh out the content. Should we have some sort of expert or peer review process?


[00:17:02.840] – Michele Ronson

Which of the management and oversight? How about the funding? Should we translate it into other languages? We definitely need some additional resources, some volunteer, some more project leads and expertize to go from NBP to a fully working beta test. Although we’re pretty far along, this has been all volunteer in a tremendous amount of work. So what I hope you’ll take away from this very short presentation is to consider crowd sourcing when you’re looking for new solutions, to never assume you’re talking the same language as someone else, always ask them what they mean by a certain definition.


[00:17:46.820] – Michele Ronson

I really hope you’ll visit the X and that the X will help reinforce the professional status of our industry. And I hope that the U.S. will help us avoid misunderstanding and confusion and ultimately it will save us time and money. In addition, we created a weekly term to be sent to your inbox. I hope you’ll sign up for a weekly term so that you can help us in this effort. Check it out at Curiosity, take dotcom forward, slash UKCS Das lexicon to learn more about my workshops and the Ask like a pro series, please visit curiosity.


[00:18:26.560] – Michele Ronson

Take dot com forward slash workshops. And finally, please connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m super active there, I’m a huge advocate for our growing industry and I love to use my voice to spread the gospel of what we do and how we can do it better together. Thank you so much. I look forward to your questions in the Q&A.