Should user research be funny? A guide to leveraging user humour for design teams

The jokes people tell about their work can be a rich source of insight for user researchers. Known as workplace or occupational humor, these jokes refer to experiences where the user’s pain or delight is instantly recognizable because it is so pervasive.

Come learn how to integrate humor research practices into your team’s approach. We’ll discuss methods for collecting, synthesizing, and productively sharing humor-based user data. While not intended to replace other methodologies, humor research can be a valuable addition to your user research toolbox, particularly for those interested in learning more about the social aspects of their users’ work habits and professional identities, or in creating safe spaces for user discussions around sensitive topics. Humor research can also help designers and their teams:

  • Learn more about how users perceive their own work
  • Identify elements of users’ workflow with high emotional value (pain points and delight points)
  • Identify critical breaks in communication and organizational bottlenecks
  • Prioritize opportunities to be provided by design team
  • Create a disarming environment for user research
  • Promote empathy for users in a more memorable and lasting way

This session is geared towards user researchers, but may be of interest to anyone wanting to expand their methodological approach to user engagement.