Throwback Thursday: User Experience Research

For this throwback Thursday, I thought I would revisit my conversation with Nancy Frishberg, as she and I have recently been in conversation to plan activities for the upcoming Linguistics Society of America meeting

Nancy shared with me that she uses her linguistics background every day as part of her work as a user experience researcher in the Bay Area. As she says: “this is hyphenated (and applied) linguistics: a bit of ethnography, quasi-experimental studies, interviews with individuals and groups.” Basically she looks for patterns and tries to quantify them, she is often called upon to think in terms of type/token (which she quickly recognized she is trained to do in a way that her colleagues who do not have a linguistics background are not). “Basically,” she told me “this work is ethnography – but you have to move from thinking about ethnography on the scale of years and think about how you can distill and compress that analytical complexity and richness into an hour or two (or maybe a day or two) of really meaningful interaction with people who are impacted by (or who impact) the use of your product or service.” And as she shared with me in our recent follow-up conversation, “more and more these days ‘behavioral economics’ which I consider a bridge between (cognitive and social) psychology and economics is helping define and predict the outcome of the experiments.”

Something to contemplate! 🙂

Check out the full post here:
My foray into User Experience Research

Check out her website FishBird
Nancy is one of the founding members of BAIL (Bay Area Industrial Linguists)
She has also been a regular participant in the Ask-A-Linguist section of Linguist List, now available as an archive if you want to go learn more about her thoughts over the years as an outward-facing linguist!