The Moderator's Survival Guide, 1st Edition

Handling Common, Tricky, and Sticky Situations in User Research

The Moderator's Survival Guide, 1st Edition,Donna Tedesco,Fiona Tranquada,ISBN9780124047006


Morgan Kaufmann




235 X 191

This book provides the tools you need for dealing with the common (and uncommon) situations you may encounter while moderating a user research session.

Print Book + eBook

USD 59.94
USD 99.90

Buy both together and save 40%

Print Book


In Stock

Estimated Delivery Time
USD 49.95

eBook Overview

VST (VitalSource Bookshelf) format

DRM-free included formats : EPUB, Mobi (for Kindle), PDF, EPUB

USD 49.95
Add to Cart

Key Features

  • Practical, field-tested, and actionable tips for what to do and say-and what NOT to do or say-in each situation.
  • Key patterns and extensive examples to sharpen your approach to the commonplace and prepare you for the unlikely.
  • Illustrative "survival stories" contributed by numerous professionals on the front lines of user research.


The Moderator's Survival Guide is your indispensable resource for navigating the rocky shoals of your one-on-one user research sessions. Inside, you’ll find guidance for nearly 100 diverse situations (ranging from business-as-usual to tricky and sticky) that might occur during usability studies, contextual inquiries, or user interviews.

As a moderator, you are responsible for the well-being of the participant, your study, and your organization. You must be prepared for anything that may happen, from your technology failing to the participant quailing. Use this guide to identify your best next steps, react appropriately, and survive any challenges that comes your way.


UX professionals (UX designers, usability engineers, usability architects, usability researchers, UX managers)

Donna Tedesco

Donna Tedesco is a Senior User Experience Specialist with over ten years of user research experience. She has published and presented at local, national and international conferences, and is co-author with Bill Albert and Tom Tullis of the book, "Beyond the Usability Lab: Conducting Large-Scale Online User Experience Studies." Donna received a BS in Engineering Psychology/Human Factors from Tufts University School of Engineering and a MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Usability Specialist

Fiona Tranquada

Fiona Tranquada is a Senior Usability Consultant with over ten years of user research experience. She has published and presented at local and national conferences and is an active Board member for the Boston chapter of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA). Fiona received a BA in Professional Writing and Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Usability Consultant

The Moderator's Survival Guide, 1st Edition

Part 1: Your Moderation Toolkit

Chapter 1. Moderation Matters: Power, Responsibility, and Style

Chapter 2.  In the Trenches: Six Steps for Handling Situations

Chapter 3.  Mix and Match: Your Moderation Patterns Toolbox

Part 2: Your Survival Guide

Chapter 4. Recruiting Mishaps: Participants You Weren't Expecting

Chapter 5.  Participant Misconceptions: Not What the Participant was Expecting. 

Chapter 6. Some Guidance Required: Participants in Need of Shepherding.

Chapter 7.  Make it Work: Handling Technical Obstacles

Chapter 8. Is This Right? Responding to Uncertain Participants.

Chapter 9. What's Going On? Recovering from External Interruptions.

Chapter 10. Get on Track: Overcoming Momentum Blockers.

Chapter 11. Take the Wheel: Guiding Wayward Participants.

Chapter 12.  A Delicate Touch: Addressing Sensitive Situations

Chapter 13. Uncomfortable Interactions: Responding to Awkward Situations

Chapter 14. Safety First: Minimizing Emotional and Physical Distress

Part 3: Improving Your Skills

Chapter 15.  An Ounce of Prevention: Avoiding and Mitigating Situations

Chapter 16. Sharpening Steel: How to Improve Your Skills and Help Others Improve Theirs

Appendix A. What to Say

Appendix B. Preparing for a Successful Session

Appendix C. Resources

Quotes and reviews

"…guide to the moderating role played by researchers in product user research…Eighteen "survival stories" are included throughout the book, narrated by user researchers who have handled unexpected or awkward situations with study participants. Appendices consolidate recommendations of specific phrasing…", April 2014
"This is a sample chapter from Donna Tedesco and Fiona Tranquada’s new book, The Moderator’s Survival Guide: Handling Common, Tricky, and Sticky Situations in User Research. 2014 Morgan Kaufmann.", April 7, 2014

Free Shipping
Shop with Confidence

Free Shipping around the world
▪ Broad range of products
▪ 30 days return policy

Contact Us