During the previous four weeks I've been in the field in several major cities conducting customer interviews for a transportation client. Combining interviews and observational research, along with my own "day in the life" study, I wanted to understand customers' preferences for using the service (from its online services to its stations and travel).
A particular technique I find helpful is contextual laddering, asking "why" to explore customers' perceptions and product knowledge. This approach is effective at moving participants to reveal what really influences their purchase decision making, and to reveal their core values. It aligns well with the practice of contextual design, in which the focus is on attaining knowledge about the customer over knowledge of the customer. While exhausting at times, field interviews bring the customer to life. This approach makes them real through their personal stories about traveling to see family, taking three months to see the country or simply traveling home for the weekend.
My best advice on a job search is featured in a blog to assist University of Kentucky alumni looking for work. Top advice, "Be creative. If there is a professional in your industry you want to know, don't be shy about approaching him/her (through LinkedIn for example) and discuss how you might collaborate on a project such as an industry-focused paper/article or speaking engagement and be willing to donate your time for the "exposure."
As a senior usability and user-experience design (UXD) consultant, I fully understand how to research, design, build and deploy online products and use project management methods and tools to manage the design process. And, I have deep knowledge of user-experience design across print and digital as a practitioner and educator.
I develop usability studies and design research to support product owners' goal of creating satisfying experiences. With an extensive background in design, I help product development teams translate user research findings into the design decisions that create human centered products.
Recommend: Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
UX Mentors: Diane DeSeta's brainchild, she invited me to become involved to share knowledge, tools and resources with "mentees" in Atlanta and nationally.