UI Sixteen

User Interface 16 The UX & Design Conference

Steve Portigal portrait

Immersive Field Techniques

Steve Portigal, Portigal Consulting | November 7 | 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

Uncover the nuance locked in your users’ world to discover insights and unmet opportunities that will drive successful designs.

Steve’s Full-Day Workshop Agenda


Planning and leading awesome interviews

  • How keen observation helps you learn more from your participants
  • Techniques to develop empathy, a critical facet to meaningful interviews
  • Ways in which perception colors our ability to conduct objective interviews

Reviewing your homework … then, A FIELD TRIP!

  • What fellow attendees learned from the pre-workshop interview exercise
  • Which elements of the information collection process proved most valuable
  • How to “talk out loud” during a real-world, field-work exercise in Boston


Going from synthesis to insight

  • Practical tips on how to work with the materials you’ve collected
  • How to create insights by forming statements about what you believe
  • The practice-makes-perfect process of generating quality insights

Ideation, prioritization, and creating solutions

  • All about the power of bad ideas, plus why the “yes, and…” approach works
  • Techniques for putting ideas within context to answer “How might we…?”
  • Ways to reconcile differences and solutions ranked by specific criteria

Unbreak Your Heart

User research can feel broken without a foundation. See how to derive useful results from interviews, get participants to open up, and integrate findings into your design.

Identify the Truth in Your Data

Understanding what’s an edge case versus what’s common is tricky. Learn how to differentiate the two, then prioritize what relevant insights exist in the data you’ve gathered.

Prevent Reactionary Design

Not all customer requests are equal, but you knew that already, right? Get the talking points and experiential data you need to help higher-ups understand the value of proactive interviews.

Blending Research and Design

Steve knows that jumping straight from customer request to feature implementation isn’t the ideal for creating data-driven design solutions. So that’s why you’ll get a framework to see design problems and solutions more clearly than ever before.

Find out how to slow down and separate stories from their implications. After all, why chase the first obvious design solution before you establish a deep understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve? It’s time to break the cycle!

Soon, you’ll identify business problems, form related research questions, and design studies that result in valuable data. Steve will teach you how to empathize with interview participants, ask the right questions, and observe what’s most important.

Under his expert guidance and hands-on training, you’ll learn to see what the observations and data are telling you. Expand your analytical skills, and synthesize what you get from interviews. Then, jump feet-first into the iterative, collaborative process of creating insights.

You’ll see how to:

  • Lead valuable interviews by empathizing with and observing participants.
  • Recognize when your perceptions are clouding your analysis of data.
  • Create insights in a collaborative process, without jumping straight to solutions.
  • Push your brainstorming exercises to consider all possibilities.
  • Make a priorities matrix driven by data, user stories, and design implications.
  • Apply the right design solutions to solve well-understood problems.

Steve Portigal, Field Research Extraordinaire

Steve Portigal portrait

Thanks to his endless fascination with culture, Steve has built a career on studying stuff, whether products or people. So it’s no surprise that the tagline of his consulting business is “Discover and act on new insights” — he’s awesome at it!

In fact, Steve has helped companies like Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and Fisher-Price learn about their customers and themselves. His knack for seeing the connections between needs and solutions is a testament to his skill in study design, data analysis, and knowing which questions to ask. And he’s about to teach the same to you.

So strap on your sneakers (no really, wear comfy shoes), because you’ll be heading to a busy Boston landmark to get a first-hand account of his expertise in field research. Steve is the best teacher for the job, and his pragmatic tips for interviewing, observing, and creating insights will make your trip—and this workshop—totally unforgettable.

See Steve’s Tuesday Featured Talk

Culture: You’re Soaking In It

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 10:15 - 11:45

Explore the ways we can experience, observe, and understand diverse cultures to foster successful collaborations, usable products, and desirable experiences.