Lilia Ungefug is a user experience researcher at SAP. Within her first year as a trainer for user research, she has been internally awarded for her engagement and high motivation. In an interview, Lilia shared some exciting moments and insights about her passion as a trainer.
Lilia, what do you enjoy the most as a trainer for user research?
I’m happy when people approach me because they want to learn about user research. They understand the big picture and the role of research in development and want to provide high quality solutions. After completing the training, they have gotten to know best practices and feel more secure regarding their options and wishes. Many are surprised that research is more complex than previously thought. I’m always amazed at how surprised some are by this; I love the surprise factor!
When you hear the theory, it has one effect. When you solve practical tasks, it often brings a new perspective. That’s why I like to deal with real life examples during the trainings. When people come with concrete questions and I can help them, this makes me happy. It also makes the training more dynamic. That’s motivating for the learners and myself.
Watch Lilia talk about her passion in user research.
Can you tell us a bit more about the surprise factor?
Some learners are surprised to find out that user research has big impact on the product’s success. Others are surprised about the complexity of user research. It applies scientific principles and many user researchers have graduated in sociology, media science or psychology.
Also, user research is often confused with usability testing. Yet, usability testing is just one method of user research. Selecting the right method that fits the project’s current needs is also not as easy as it might seem. There are qualitative and quantitative methods, for example usability benchmarking, field research, A/B Testing, use case validation, just to name a few.
Which trainings do you hold?
I address different types of learners. Some just want to refresh their knowledge; others are completely new to user research. I mainly teach about field research. It includes classroom trainings about interviewing, note-taking, data synthesis, as well as customer feedback and working with prototypes. I also teach about usability testing including preparation, script writing, moderation, and note-taking.
What have you learned in your career as a trainer?
Training is boring when it is like a lecture. Humor is very important; a pinch of humor goes a long way. Also, I like to tell stories or let the learners talk about their experiences. Funny or odd stories about user research experiences always loosen up the classroom dynamic.
Do you have a special moment or two that you would like to share with us about your last year as a trainer?
No matter where I go, every SAP location manages to make me feel at home. The interior style is the same, your ID works everywhere, and your hardware automatically connects. It’s like a big bubble and it makes you feel really comfortable when traveling.
Last year I had an experience in Seoul that I will never forget. After the training, I was spending some of my free time at the market when suddenly hundreds of mobile phones started vibrating and ringing in the crowd all around me. That was odd. I asked what was going on only to find out it was a severe typhoon warning. I immediately called a taxi and went back to the hotel. It was pouring rain and branches were flying around. I couldn’t step out of the door of the hotel for a full day and I had to postpone my return flight. However, since I couldn’t leave the hotel for dining, I ended up having the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life at the hotel I stayed in. Nevertheless, I was glad to be back in my safe Walldorf office a few days later.
From this experience and in general, I would highly recommend that multi-day trainings not be held alone. It’s a lot of fun, but you will often be jet-lagged. It takes a lot of strength and energy to be the entertainer for a few days.
What’s your plan for 2020 regarding user research trainings?
Our training courses are well-known and tested among the user research community. However, the user research team is currently working on modernizing the look and feel. The material is also getting updated regarding the tools.
Personally, I would like to expand my training offerings to smaller and recently inaugurated SAP locations, too. For example, Budapest. Especially these days when we deal with COVID-19, virtual trainings and e-learnings are very important, but they won’t replace a face-to-face classroom training to full extend.
Thank you so much for your time and insights, Lilia!