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Music to our ears; talking with users

By Karla Schlaepfer
Design Thinking, Teamwork, User Research, Event

I’m involved in a pro-bono user research project.

This means my partner (Baltasar Cevc) and I are setting up and carrying out interviews with interested and open lawyers. They are our target audience. We want to dig deeper and validate (or not!) our presented hypotheses in the recent essay we wrote for the Liquid Legal Insititute e.V.

Remote Legal Teams: Getting Starting and Making it Work: What Legal Organizations and Leaders need to know.

The purpose of our qualitative research is to discover pain points, generate insights and learn more about the pros and cons of remote legal teamwork. And why? because we want to understand how to make remote collaborative work for the legal profession better and what “better” actually means.

Design Thinking sets user research from the start to discover and explore user’s expectations and better understand their needs.

In our interviews, we will ask open questions to try to understand our interviewees. Later we’ll synthesize these findings and incorporate different views and perspectives into the next stage of the project. This will influence our final outcome.

We are collecting data based on user’s expressed needs, wishes, and motivations which might build patterns and lead us to new insights. Our final goal is to create more value for people working this way which in turn helps the organization thrive.

After collecting and sorting the data, we will draw up a visualization of the results and make this outcome available on the LLI website (and our websites) to the interviewees and other interested parties. Potentially, after we have determined where the needs and potential value are in remote legal teamwork, we’ll enter into the solution phase and interpret our findings and draw up possible validation strategies/solutions/suggestions that are based on the data from the “need finding” research phase.

We have a fairly tight timebox. We plan to schedule calls and carrying out interviews through the Legal Experience Day on 30.09. At this online event, we might generate more interested interviewees for our project. Projected finish date of research is at the end of October.

What is our approach?

For a start, active listening and asking “open” questions along with the guidelines we have established; for example, each interviewer tries to practice “global” active listening, neutrality and use empathy to try to understand where our interviewees concerns. This means absorbing and documenting the interviewees’ experiences, assumptions and touchpoints without judgment. If we use video meetings, we should be aware of body language and make a note of it, when appropriate. Even though this is not a conversation and it is about our interviewees, we should encourage folks s to speak freely with encouraging, friendly verbal signals.

Tell us a story when…

Ask the interviewees to relate stories. This is a great way to generate the telling of more emotional experiences. They also say a lot about how that person thinks and feels. Important: Make a note of meaningful or expressive quotes.

Here are some initial example research questions:

  • What were your experiences with Remote Teamwork? (follow up questions – when not good, why not? And the same, if good, why?)
  • Do you have a (story) or example when the team worked really well together? What do you think were the reasons? Could this happen more often? (what is needed?)
  • What could help to add value to how you work remotely?

So far, we’ve had great interviews. After each one we tweak our questions some and look forward to the next interview!

Check out Liquid Legal Experience for our live user-research session Sept. 30.

Karla Schlaepfer