How to become a user researcher: careers event video for year 7 children

What is a USER RESEARCHER? Careers event in COVID lockdown.
A video explaining, in very simple terms, what user researchers do. Presentation initially planned for face-to-face Careers event at Heckmondwike Grammar School, in Yorkshire, whom I am proud to support every year.
Feel free to use it if you need a UR career video, or a very simple explanation of user research and user-centred design.

User research – a practical introduction – PDF download

Research exercises, tips and reflections from my latest workshop, organised by Richard and Becky @ Agile Sheffield:

“Claudio Pires Franco, user researcher and digital media consultant, will run a simple three-step session where theory, tools and practical exercises intersect to show what user research is, and how it contributes to product development at different stages of production:

1. discovery (exploration of needs)
2. alpha (sketching and prototyping)
3. beta (analytics and testing)

Be ready to get busy!”


User research – a practical introduction

Reader research and audience involvement to design a book-to-game adaptation concept

NatureMage-settingsThis book chapter by Claudio, founding director of Zoomkind, presents a reflection on practice and relevant academic studies to help define how readers and other audiences can be heard and involved to produce better adaptations. How can games tell stories based on books? What content from the book ought to be represented in the game? What are the best game features / devices / affordances to enhance the story in a new medium? And how to you translate from words (and the mental images created by every single individual reader) to actual representations that have a visual appearance, that move and behave in specific ways in a game?

Weaving Nature Mage: Collective Intertextuality in the Design of a Book-to-Game Adaptation

Research based on the analysis of previous cross-media game adaptations, on empirical research, and on reflection on practice with the design of a game concept for a fantasy book. Book-to-game adaptations are particularly interesting examples of cross-media adaptation. They not only weave the literary source text with intertexts from the game medium, but also require a modal transposition from the realm of words to a visual, interactive, multimodal medium where narrative and ludic logics intersect. This study proposes to look at different layers of cross-media intertextuality in the process of adaptation – at the level of specific texts, at the level of medium conventions, and at the level of genre conventions. It draws on crowd-sourcing research with readers to demonstrate that collaboration operates through multi-layered processes of collective intertextuality through which the intertextual repertoires of individuals meet to weave a final text.

Read a preview:


Digital books at the intersection of print books and digital media


Digital books at the intersection of print books and digital media

The Wheel of Intermediality for Digital Books

This wheel represents a model for looking at the ways in which digital books are influenced by both print and a wide range of digital media forms.

It builds on a paper presented at the conference By the Book 2:

And on the ideas evolved on the subsequent article ‘The Digital Book (R)evolution’, in Logos (Forum of the World Book Community), Volume 25, Issue 4:

The three concentric circles represent media and formats: print books, digital books and a range for other relevant digital media

The three slices are linked to key areas in publishing: Reference, Fiction and Professional & Educational

Mapped around the wheel, around thematic areas, for example travelling, are the different kinds of texts – in print, digital book, and other media – that influence each other

Hybrid media books and game-books are the more obvious border-crossers, with one foot in each territory… but there are more, a lot more to explore. These are borderline cases, hybrids, mongrels that defy any neat traditional classifications onto separate silos.

This is work in progress, the result of over two years of research, sketches and attempts to find a way to create a diagram that can adequately locate digital books at the intermedial intersection of print traditions and the affordances and conventions of digital media.

All comments, feedback and ideas for improvements welcomed!

This is being done as part of ongoing research contributing to the UNESCO Chair project ‘New Media Forms of the Book’, led by Professor Alexis Weedon at the University of Bedfordshire –

Games telling stories – from story-telling to story-playing

From a conference I spoke at a few years ago, Nottingham’s Contemporary Screen Narratives. The ideas are still relevant today with many game developers trying to better the narrative potential of their games. My paper ended up evolving and became a chapter in a book with loads of other people who have, like me, been thinking about narrative in media, in different media and across media.

The chapter and book:

‘The Muddle Earth Journey: Brand Consistency and Cross-Media Intertextuality in Game Adaptation’ in Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age: Exploring Screen Narratives – Chapter preview.

The initial slides (with speaker notes):

Zoom: User / UX Research

UX (User Experience) in Agile is all about understanding user needs and contexts.

This means looking at how what we’re trying to build – whether a government service, an internal system or a new game – fits within, and improves, the lives of our target users.

Zoom out to get the big picture: the high level user journeys, the large user story mapping diagrams. See how the tasks users have to do, their steps and stages interlink to form their wider user experience. What are the pain points, issues and opportunities? Understand where they are coming from, what they’ll do next, and how your digital product or service makes their lives easier, happier, or ideally both. Start by knowing your users, their contexts and their needs.

Zoom in to get into the nitty gritty insight: the shorter user journeys, the use cases, the user stories for each individual task, step and stage in the user’s journey. This insight feeds into design challenges, ideas sketching, and eventually more complete user stories ready for design backlogs. Mock-ups and prototypes are then used to test our ideas with real users: we test, iterate, test again, reiterate, until we are confident it works – then pass on to production backlog.


Like a zoom. Of the research kind.

Zoom out, get the full picture. Zoom in, grasp the detail.

Core areas of consultancy:

  • User / UX Research
  • Digital (user) testing
  • Design mockups, wireframes
  • Audience involvement, co-creation
  • Games research, player testing
  • Media adaptation, transmedia strategy