PyCon 2016 in Portland, Or
hills next to breadcrumb illustration

Wednesday 2:30 p.m.–3 p.m.

User Research for Non-Researchers

Jane Davis

Audience level:
Best Practices & Patterns


User research is a great way to avoid wasting your time. It doesn't have to be time-consuming, elaborate, or performed by a UX professional.In this talk, I'll go over why and how to do lightweight research on any product or topic, no matter what your background and training are. I'll focus on the most effective tools for quick research, and some of the common pitfalls.


User research can mean the difference between wasting a week on an idea that doesn't work, and wasting six months. Feedback from your users, or your target audience, doesn’t need to take place in a lab. User research doesn’t always require an advanced degree or formal training. What it does require is talking to people, at least a few of them. And it often requires demonstrating to people (and sometimes yourself) that research is worth your time. This presentation will cover why, when, and how to do rapid, effective user research, with a particular focus on the advantages and challenges of doing user research when coming from a technical background. While I won't be able to present any of my current work, I will present a sample research plan for doing user research on how concurrency functions in Python 2 versus Python 3 from a user-centered perspective in order to show where and how user research can fit into engineering projects.