In our last two installments on designing for the non-verbal in UX Research, we suggested you keep your eyes open for non-verbal cues in your existing research methods and then add prompts for them as integral pieces to your future processes. However, interpreting these cues may prove challenging at first, if you don’t know what you’re looking for or how to encourage such expressivity from a user.

This is where acting, dance, and improv training come in handy. The study of human behavior is wide, and we suggest incorporating physicality and expressivity to your already deep knowledge base of behavior. 

  • Take an acting class, dance class, or improv class.
  • Read literature and popular articles about the physical expression.
  • Challenge yourself to take note of other’s behavior in a variety of settings.

You will begin to notice and interpret gestures, expressions, and behavior in new ways. Just as a new arts enthusiast must educate him or herself before fully appreciating a painting - you will need to train your eye and intuition on physical expression.

Of course, make sure to align your team on these ways of interpreting user expression and non-verbal cues. What is most valuable to the project? Does everyone align on what to look for and how to record it? These are crucial questions to create a cohesive and collaborative approach to the redesigned research process.

Here are a few resources to get you started:

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon