Modern user research: What is it? How is it done? And why?

Digital products are designed for use. Even simple, text-based websites are consumed by users with a task in mind. Mostly they want to find something specific. Sometimes they might want to get in touch with a real person to ask a specific question. Or apply for a job. ‘Just surfing around’, even ‘reading’ requires a user to navigate.

Modern digital design practice has user research at its core. By understanding the needs, motivations and behaviour of our users means that we can design and deliver the best experience to them. However, sometimes, those needs may be in conflict with organisation goals, product roadmaps, or as I indicated just now, perceived wisdom and stereotypes. It’s our business to challenge those falsehoods with insight and evidence from real people to place the user first in our priorities. Continue reading “Modern user research: What is it? How is it done? And why?”

EMBL’s top social media posts of 2017 and what we learned from them

I want to take a look back at my first full year as EMBL’s social media manager. So what worked best over 2017 and what can I learn from this?

What are we measuring? Why?

My basic goals for EMBL’s social media are to build community and develop a shared understanding of who we as an organisation are. Consequently, I care about what resonates on the different social sites much more than driving traffic back to EMBL websites, although traffic is obviously a by-product. Continue reading “EMBL’s top social media posts of 2017 and what we learned from them”

Who are we reaching on Social Media?

In this post I share an outline of what I have learned about EMBL’s followers on social media. This is based on my observations and research, as well as third-party data about social media users in general.

Social media users are generally young, well educated and well off, even compared to average internet users. The gap in social media use between people aged 18-34 and those aged 50 and older is significant in every country surveyed. The percentage of people who use social media differs from country to country, as does which social media channels people use (Source: Pew).

Let’s look at each of our channels and see what we can say about our audiences.
Continue reading “Who are we reaching on Social Media?”

Research really at a glance

Since its first edition in 2005, the 132 pages of Research at a Glance have given a detailed description of the scientific focus of all EMBL research groups and teams. This publication is important to many stakeholders and audiences, and is used for a wide variety of purposes. After more than 10 years, and as the importance of online content keeps growing, it was time to update it and reflect better the “at a glance” in its title.
Continue reading “Research really at a glance”

Intra1: outcomes of the first intranet research sprint

The purpose of intra1 was to understand how people currently use EMBL’s intranets. Specifically, we wanted to:

  1. Understand audience behaviours
  2. Define audience segments
  3. Define the functions and the scope of EMBL’s intranets
  4. Inform the EMBL community about projects to rebuild EMBL’s core websites

We conducted this research with a view to, in the long term, building a new, single, intranet that can serve the entire organisation.
Continue reading “Intra1: outcomes of the first intranet research sprint”

Call for volunteer digital diarists

We are looking for EMBL people to help with our intranet user research. By keeping a digital diary you can help us to better understand how you use digital resources in the course of your work and home life. This will help us to design things that work better for you. We are asking for this help with a view to developing a new EMBL-wide intranet over the coming years.

Download the digital diary form [PDF]

Continue reading “Call for volunteer digital diarists”