Today’s Session Spotlight features another of this year’s amazing Tutorials. In this evening tutorial, Fiona Tranquada and Donna Tedesco take you beyond your standard moderation skills, into the crazy real world of those participants and situations and how to deal with them. (A favorite from my own career? The participant who told me the whole, horrifying story of how his tiny, helpless kitten ate – and passed – a shoelace. Really.)
So if you’re new to moderating usability tests, let Fiona and Donna arm you with the skills you’ll need for these inevitable hairy situations. And if you’ve been around the block a few times, come to learn what you can to get ready for the next one. Register today!
And now, Fiona and Donna:
- Your participant begins flirting with you.
- The prototype changes in the middle of the session.
- An observer interrupts and starts yelling at the participant.
- The fire alarm goes off.
What do you do?
The right answer depends on the situation, your participant’s comfort level, your comfort level, as well as your ethical obligations. However, there are guidelines that you can follow to ensure an appropriate and effective response. Our tutorial will teach you these guidelines, increase your confidence in your moderating technique, and prepare you to handle any kind of situation – no matter how awkward or complicated – that happens while you moderate.
Moderating is a skill that many practitioners don’t think about too closely. Yet moderating requires excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to think on the fly. We’ll begin by reviewing the fundamentals of moderating, focusing on your responsibilities, your behavior, and your tone. These fundamentals will cover important tidbits for all kinds of one-on-one user research, in-person and remote, including:
- Usability studies
- Contextual inquiry / field studies
You’ll get a chance to practice your moderating technique with other attendees and receive immediate feedback.
We’ll then talk about handling situations – worst-case and otherwise – that occur while moderating. This section will include how to balance the sometimes-competing needs of your participant, your research goals, and your organization. You will also learn how to:
- Use best practices to identify the most appropriate response for your situation
- Make sure that your behavior is not creating or magnifying a situation
- Identify when it makes sense to end a session early instead of trying to continue
- Appear cool and collected even if you’re stressed!
A series of role-playing exercises will help you practice these guidelines in a safe space. You’ll leave the tutorial with tips that you can put into practice immediately to be a more confident and capable moderator.
We hope you can join us!