A few weeks ago, Brad told us what a day in his life is like. Inspired by Brad, here’s a day in the life of a user experience researcher. My days are highly variable, depending on whether I’m doing a usability study or not, so I’m not sure if this description is typical of one of my days, let alone any other user experience researcher’s day.
7:30am – Compared to Brad, I sleep in. I have a shorter commute than he does — about 10 minutes, maybe 15 if the traffic lights aren’t cooperating or if I stop for a coffee or Jamba Juice on the way in.
8:30am – I got into this habit when I had a longer commute. I always check my email before I leave home. I tell myself that it’s so that I know when my first meeting is, but I spend much more time reading/responding to email than checking my calendar. One of the items in this morning’s email tells me that our Redmond campus is closed today due to snow. I’m torn between being jealous that they got a snow day and happy that I live in the Bay Area and thus snow is something that happens to other people. Somehow I manage to spend an hour reading and responding to email.
9:30am – This is a fifteen-minute commute day. I need coffee.
10am – Meeting #1 is with my contractor. I’m about to go on vacation for most of December (yay!), so we’re mapping out all of the work that needs to be done between now and mid-January: working with the app teams to ensure that our usability recommendations for previous studies are included in the final products, creating the task lists for our next two usability studies, and recruiting for usability participants at Macworld Expo in January. (And don’t forget that you can sign up to participate in usability studies, too.)
11am – Meeting #2 is with the other PowerPoint leads: program management, development, test, marketing, and user assistance. We’re all working hard on Magnesium (that’s our codename for Office 12), and our status for that is the major topic of conversation today. We also agree on when I’ll run my next usability test.
noon – The email gods are never appeased, and they have delivered another eleventy billion into my inbox. Sigh. Some of the email is from snowbound Redmonders who are apparently losing their sanity due to the cold.
1pm – The email gods deliver good news in the form of my 2pm meeting being cancelled. Oh thank goodness. I have some time to catch up on my to-do list, and I blast through many of them: write up my weekly status report for my manager, make a first pass at prioritising the usability findings from my last Entourage study, make a first pass at prioritising the usability findings from my last PowerPoint study, write most of this blog post.
3pm – Meeting with my manager. I ask him to hold down the fort while I’m gone. I hope he doesn’t let the teams make a new UI element bright pink or blinking …
4pm – And the meetings are done for the day. I have another chance to get things done, so I do: review a few things and send feedback, respond to some of the email, help out an Entourage PM with a question he has about laying out a dialog, chat with the PowerPoint lead PM about an upcoming meeting, chat with the PowerPoint lead dev about the differences between interviewing a candidate for an intern and a full-time position. I wrap up the day by writing up my to-do list for tomorrow so that I don’t forget what I really need to get done first.
5:30pm – I duck out of the office to attend a Barenaked Ladies concert in San Francisco. Good night!