A brief chat with Rob Tannen

by New Idiom


photo by Miguel Cervantes

Rob Tannen of Bresslergroup spoke at DRC about using high definition tools for design research. I had a chance to chat with him at the conference.

What technology do you find yourself relying upon most heavily in your course of work?

I feel that it is important not to rely on any technology too heavily; I feel that I rely on my coworkers most as they provide the most meaningful and useful feedback

Where do you see the biggest room for improvement in terms of technology developed for Design Research as a whole?

Well, honestly there isn’t much technology that is developed for Design research.  The amount that design research relies upon the analysis of data predominantly in Excel followed by presentation of that data requires using many different tools for specific tacks.  I see integration of the steps into fewer programs so as to make it a more seamless flow as an area for improvement.

Where do you see technology having the most impact on research design in the next 5 years?

Again moving toward streamlining and integration; rather than using many tools for many tasks using a fewer number of tools for those tasks.

Do you feel that user research has many unique technological challenges and do you feel that current offerings are meeting these challenges? Companies in particular?

There is enormous amounts of ambiguity in the data that we gather any more as we are getting to the point where we have the ability to gather far more information than can be synthesized.  Often times the data gathered becomes so vast that realizing what you’ve got is more of a problem than gathering data.  The question of what is valuable and what is coming more into play and a lot of that is very subjective.  Are companies meeting the challenges… typically no.  Some companies that are producing decent technology for design research include Techsmith, Noldus and QSR International.  These companies are making products for the medical industry and other fields of research but do have some good cross over.