Cognitive biases during user research –

“Language is a form of human reason, which has its internal logic of which man knows nothing.” — Claude Lévis-Strauss 1908–2009

Following our first part, introduction to ‘cognitive biases in user research’, here is the part 2 focusing on some examples seen during user interviews.

Camera dei giganti — Giulio Romano

I worked recently on a project at Pivotal Labs’s Paris Office which gave me several opportunities to explore how our unconscious bias affects projects. While these biases can be small and insignificant, if you combine their effects, then they can move your product in the wrong direction.

Each of us has seen these biases before, many times, in many different contexts, with different outcomes, but they share the same root causes. Sometimes, we, as designers, fall victim to these biases. Other times, the shoe is on the other foot, and the user we are interviewing demonstrates their own biases.

Biases can be identified simply as being motivated by two factors: self-protection and improving efficiency in taking decisions. In an user interview setting, both the interviewer and the user bring their own biases into the room. In general, as designers, we need to remove our biases from our conclusions, and design around the biases our users exhibit.

Based on this Cognitive Bias Cheatsheet, biases can come from these 4 major causes :

  • Too much information
  • Limited context
  • Limited time
  • Limited memory

Author: Abdou Ghariani

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