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The Evolution of User Research with Steve Portigal

Author, researcher, speaker, and frequent Rosenfeld Review guest Steve Portigal joins Lou for a chat on the state of the user research industry – where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. If the field of research was once a lonely desert, today it’s a jungle. It was once a field where researchers could get lost and forgotten. Today, the field is teaming with life—so much so that you could get eaten alive.

Gleaning lessons from the past, Steve doesn’t want us to forget the desert. But he has no desire to return there.

In his chat with Lou, they look back, and they look ahead. They discuss shifts in community and networking, and how research agencies are being replaced by in-house research teams. Finally, the two discuss Steve’s role in the upcoming, in-person Advancing Research conference in Queens, New York.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  •  How the research industry has shifted from agency-based work to in-sourcing
  • How the world of user research has evolved over the last 25 years from a widely-respected industry expert
  • About Steve’s work, career, and books
  • About the upcoming, in-person Advancing Research conference
  • About Steve’s role in past Advancing Research conferences

Quick Reference Guide:

[0:00:29] Introduction of Steve
[0:02:50] “Dog fooding”, preparation, and collaboration that happens before conferences
[0:09:30] Comparing the user research field and community now to how it was 25 years ago.
[0:16:22] The evolution of networking, connections, and community
[0:23:09] Shifts and pivots Steve has seen over the last 25 years in the user research field
[0:30:32] Writing it down and moving on
[0:35:13] Plug for Advancing Research Conference, including Steve’s role
[0:36:27] Steve’s gift for listeners

Resources and links from today’s episode:

Steve Portigal’s Rosenfeld Media books 

Advancing Research Conference (March 25-27)

Steve Portigal’s website

The Wok: Recipes and Techniques by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt