Communities Toggle

ProductTank Paris – April 2014

April’s ProductTank was on the topic of User Research and User Centred Development, one that everyone in the room was passionate to learn more about. We knew many people were unable to come due to space restrictions; there were as many on the waiting list as attended, but the event was very well-received by all that were there in person.

We kicked off with Grandin Donovan, Research Director at Nealite, presenting on Building RITE, namely the use of Rapid Iteration and Evaluation as a way to quickly progress through (design) iterations to maximize learning, and how to involve the leadership team as a must-have, to ensure buy-in of the discoveries made.


Grandin also presented several formats that RITE can take and you can see those in his presentation (pdf slides and video)

Then Alessandro Catania, Research Director at Attoma presented on  “Ethnographic research (with your client!) to understand user behaviour in context”. From my invitation, you might remember I defined Ethnography (with the help of wikipedia!) as the collection of empirical data on human societies / cultures / communities to leverage the  “social meanings and ordinary activities” in “naturally occurring settings”.


The goal is to collect data in such a way that the researcher imposes a minimal amount of their own bias on the data. Something every product manager should be aware of. Again, it’s well worth having another look and read through Alessandro’s presentation pdf slides and video).

What are my big take-aways?

  • Most businesses do not do enough testing with actual users doing qualitative research before building products
  • They also do not do this enough after building them.
  • Be very careful to watch what people do, rather than (or at least as well as)  listen to what they say.
  • For this reason, it’s important to watch people in their natural habitat.
  • Ask yourself how quickly you can incorporate feedback to get an improved version in front of users.


See you at the next ProductTank Paris!



About the author

Patrick Patrick O’Malley is an Internet and web professional passionate about building products that people love.

Now a product based consultant, he is ex-Head of Product, Yahoo! Answers, ex-Head of Operations MoveMe and an Imperial MBA.

Based in Paris (a bit) and London (a bit).

You can follow him on and Twitter or check his bio

Leave a Reply