User research

User research the NPR way with Ha-Hoa Homano

User research the NPR way with Ha-Hoa Homano 1800 1200 VUX World

How do NPR approach designing voice applications? And how do they engage users to make sure that they’re designing the right things for the right people, Ha-Hoa Homano, Sr. Product Manager, Emerging Platforms at NPR joins us to share all. read more

All about voice UX research with Chris Geison

All about voice UX research with Chris Geison 1800 1200 VUX World

For the first episode of 2019, Dustin and I chat to long time fan of the show, hardcore Wu-Tang fan and resident UX research expert at AnswerLab, Chris Geison, about the ins and outs of UX research for voice. read more

All about BotTalk and how to run a voice first discovery workshop with Andrey Esaulov

All about BotTalk and how to run a voice first discovery workshop with Andrey Esaulov 1800 1200 VUX World

This week, we’re digging into how you can create an Alexa Skill using BotTalk and we give you a template for running a voice first discovery workshop, with SmartHaus Technologies CEO and BotTalk co-founder, Andrey Esaulov. read more

How people REALLY use Amazon Alexa with Martin Porcheron

How people REALLY use Amazon Alexa with Martin Porcheron 1800 1200 VUX World

Today, we’re discussing the findings of Martin Porcheron’s study, ‘Voice interfaces in everyday life’. We uncover insights into how people actually use Amazon Alexa in the home. We find unique user behaviour, new technology challenges and understand what it all means for voice UX designers, developers and brands.

Voice interfaces in everyday life

Imagine if you could eaves drop into someone’s house and listen to how they interact with their Amazon Echo. Imagine, whenever someone said “Alexa”, you were there. Imagine being able to hear everything thing that was said for an entire minute before the word “Alexa” was uttered, and then stick around for a whole 60 seconds after the interaction with Alexa was over.

Well, that’s exactly what today’s guest and his associates did, and his findings offer some unique lessons for VUX designers, developers and brands that’ll help you create more natural voice user experiences that work.

In this episode, we’re discussing:

  • How people use digital assistants in public
  • The background of Voice interfaces in everyday life
  • The challenge of what you call your Alexa skill
  • The issue of recall
  • How Amazon can improve skill usage
  • The inherent problem of discoverability in voice
  • How Echo use is finely integrated into other activities
  • The implications of treating an Echo as a single user device
  • The challenge of speech recognition in the ‘hurly burly’ of moderns life
  • How people collaboratively attempt to solve interaction problems
  • What is ‘political’ control and how does it apply to voice first devices?
  • Pranking people’s Alexa and the effect on future Amazon advertising
  • Designing for device control
  • Why these devices aren’t actually conversational
  • The importance of responses

Key takeaways for designers and developers

  • Give your skill a name that’s easy for recall
  • Make your responses succinct, fit within a busy and crowded environment
  • Make sure your responses are a resource for further action – how will the user do the next thing?
  • Consider designing for multiple users
  • Don’t use long intros and tutorials, get straight to the point
  • Don’t design for a conversation, design to get things done

Our Guest

Martin Porcheron is a Research Associate in the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham and has a PhD in Ubiquitous Computing, a sub-set of Computer Science. Martin has conducted several studies in the field of human-computer interaction, including looking at how people make use of mobile phones in conversations i.e. how people use something like Siri mid-conversation and how those interactions unfold.

Martin’s angle isn’t to look at these things as critical or problematic, but to approach them as an opportunity to learn about how people make use of technology currently. He believe this enables us to make more informed design decisions.

The study we discuss today has won many plaudits including Best Paper Award at the CHI 2018 conference.


Where you can listen:

Voice first user research with Konstantin Samoylov and Adam Banks

Voice first user research with Konstantin Samoylov and Adam Banks 1800 1200 VUX World

We’re talking to ex-Googlers, Konstantin Samoylov and Adam Banks, about their findings from conducting research on voice assistants at Google and their approach to building world-leading UX labs.

This episode is a whirlwind of insights, practical advice and engaging anecdotes that cover the width and breadth of user research and user behaviour in the voice first and voice assistant space. It’s littered with examples of user behaviour found when researching voice at Google and peppered with guidance on how to create world-class user research spaces.

Some of the things we discuss include:

  • Findings from countless voice assistant studies at Google
  • Real user behaviour in the on-boarding process
  • User trust of voice assistants
  • What people expect from voice assistants
  • User mental models when using voice assistants
  • The difference between replicating your app and designing for voice
  • The difference between a voice assistant and a voice interface
  • The difference between user expectations and reality
  • How voice assistant responses can shape people’s expectations of the full functionality of the thing
  • What makes a good UX lab
  • How to design a user research space
  • How voice will disrupt and challenge organisational structure
  • Is there a place for advertising on voice assistants?
  • Mistakes people make when seeking a voice presence (Hint: starting with ‘let’s create an Alexa Skill’ rather than ‘how will
  • people interact with our brand via voice?’)
  • The importance (or lack of) of speed in voice user interfaces?
  • How to fit voice user research into a design sprint

Plus, for those of you watching on YouTube, we have a tour of the UX Lab in a Box!

Our Guests

Konstantin Samoylov and Adam Banks are world-leading user researchers and research lab creators, and founders of user research consultancy firm, UX Study.

The duo left Google in 2016 after pioneering studies in virtual assistants and voice, as well as designing and creating over 50 user research labs across the globe, and managing the entirety of Google’s global user research spaces.

While working as researchers and lab builders at Google, and showing companies their research spaces, plenty of companies used to ask Konstantin and Adam whether they can recommend a company to build them a similar lab. Upon realising that company doesn’t exist, they set about creating it!

UX Study designs and builds research and design spaces for companies, provides research consultancy services and training, as well as hires and sells its signature product, UX Lab in a Box.

UX Lab in a Box

The Lab in a Box, is an audio and video recording, mixing and broadcasting unit designed specifically to help user researchers conduct reliable, consistent and speedy studies.

It converts any space into a user research lab in minutes and helps researchers focus on the most important aspect of their role – research!

It was born after the duo, in true researcher style, conducted user research on user researchers and found that 30% of a researchers time is spent fiddling with cables, setting up studies, editing video and generally faffing around doing things that aren’t research!

Konstantin Samoylov

Konstantin Samoylov is an award-winning user researcher. He has nearly 20 years’ experience in the field and has conducted over 1000 user research studies.

He was part of the team that pioneered voice at Google and was the first researcher to focus on voice dialogues and actions. By the time he left, just 2 years ago, most of the studies into user behaviour on voice assistants at Google were conducted by him.

Adam Banks

It’s likely that Adam Banks has more experience in creating user research spaces than anyone else on the planet. He designed, built and managed all of Google’s user research labs globally including the newly-opened ‘Userplex’ in San Francisco.

He’s created over 50 research and design spaces across the globe for Google, and also has vast experience in conducting user research himself.


Visit the UX Study website
Follow UX Study on Twitter
Check out the UX Lab in a Box
Follow Kostantin on Twitter
Follow Adam on Twitter

Voice first user testing with Sam Howard

Voice first user testing with Sam Howard 1800 1200 VUX World

In this episode, we’re talking about voice first user testing, why it’s so imperative and how you can get started doing your own voice user testing.

Why voice first user testing?

Although usability testing graphical user interfaces is as common as a trending tweet, it’s a seed that’s yet to be greatly sewn in the world of voice. There are many services that will provide technical testing, but those specifically offering voice first user testing in person with real users are few and far between. Enter, Userfy.

Whether you create Alexa Skills, Google Actions or any other voice user experience, this episode will help you make sure that your voice user interface (VUI) works for the people that use it through teaching you how to approach a voice-based user testing project.

We’ll cover things like:

  • The current state of user research in the voice industry
  • Why is usability testing important?
  • What kind of users should you test with?
  • User testing processes and planning
  • How to approach a voice-first testing project
  • Validating assumptions
  • The difference between graphical and voice user testing
  • What tools and equipment you need

Introducing Sam Howard

Our guest is Sam Howard, co-founder and Director of user research agency, Userfy, which specialises in user testing. Sam has a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and a degree in Psychology. That, mixed with a love of technology and a passion for helping people, puts Sam at the forefront of the user research field.


Sam Howard on Twitter
Userfy website
Userfy on Twitter
Sam’s ‘Usability challenges facing voice-first devices‘ article

Listen on:


iTunes/Apple Podcast player


Or search “VUX World” in your chosen podcast player!