Including the User Voice in an Algorithm World

Big data has been the topic du jour recently, as we saturate ourselves in data and numbers and statistics and graphs. But how does a user researcher fit into this picture? Yes, there are opportunities for some researchers to snap to this mold and shine brightly in the data saturation. However, what about other researchers who either aren’t exposed to this type of data in their work, don’t want to crunch numbers, or don’t know the best way to run and talk about statistical analysis? Being a researcher doesn’t mean you have to use methodologies that produce p values and variance and standard deviations. Instead, this talk is meant to expose how to be a researcher that can answer the question what do our users think and feel and say it with confidence when you present and talk about your results.

In this talk, I will focus on a case study of using the user voice to influence algorithms for content that is displayed on the Xbox console. After lots of work has gone into creating the pipeline for content, monitoring impression data, and other information, user sentiment was missing. Having users talk about the content they were personally seeing on their console can influence decisions in ways that the numbers were unable to do on their own.

  • Category: Talk
Lauren White

Lauren White joined Microsoft in early 2015, working on the Xbox platform shell with a focus on user experiences and UI design. Before that, she was sharpening her skills as a user researcher with consumer products. She has a BA in psychology from Reed College, and a PhD in media psychology from Fielding Graduate University. When not working, she’s looking up at space and wondering when we’ll get humans to Mars.