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363: How to Talk to Users

September 9, 2020

This week, we dive into the details of having effective user research sessions, sharing tips and strategies to get more value out of customer conversations. In The Sidebar, Marshall explains his work journaling process to capture better day-to-day notes.

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The Sidebar:

The Sidebar is an exclusive weekly segment for our Patreon supporters. You can subscribe starting at $1 per month for access to full episodes going forward! Sign up at

In this week's Sidebar, we we talk about work journaling, a process that Marshall follows to keep track of everything happening day to day. We share tips for creating your own work journal and what tools are useful for this process.

Follow up:

  • Kelli Novotny on Twitter: “Wanted to pass on something we do as a product team that helps us prioritize our days. We set 3-5 priorities each day, usually, we plan them the night before - send out in our slack channel and at days end we report in on how we did (ie: 2/3 for today. Tomorrow will be x, y, and z.) I cannot tell you how much this has helped focus our time and also has taught us to break down tasks into digestible, achievable bits! Highly recommend it.”
    • Brian uses Geekbot at GitHub to hold asynchronous team standups on Slack.

Main Topic:

Joseph Cooper asks:

Forgive me if you have already done an episode like this (all though from memory I can't remember one). I thought of this question in response to Episode 362 "What do designers do all day?" and noticed neither of you really touched on the research side of product design!

Anyway... I've moved into a new company recently and have luckily had the opportunity to have a lot more customer interaction than in previous companies and I'm loving it. After chatting to several other designers though it made me realise that a lot of other designers and teams tend to really under look the value this can add to building a product. I would love to hear more about in your day jobs you incorporate user feedback, testing and research into building your products. Is this something you do? When do you do it? How often do you do it? etc. I'd also love to know more about how you structure these sessions and ask the right questions to make sure you're extracting the most value possible out of them!

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared Public, a new investing app that makes the stock market more social.
  • Marshall shared Recursive Sans and Mono, a variable typeface from Google. The landing page with interactive examples is fantastic, you should check it out.

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