Some mobile apps are designed to fill gaps of time: games, reading queues like Instapaper, and social feeds like Secret.
I want to talk about a second category of apps: the ones that demand attention, the ones that interrupt you. These can be incredibly useful. When they are done well, they tell people about things happening in the real world at the perfect moment. When they are done poorly, they can easily be annoying and irrelevant.
People aren't deciding when to pay attention to Foursquare. Foursquare decides when we have something interesting to tell you. If you were in the middle of something else, tough luck. The things we want to tell you have to earn the interruption.
Now that people are moving through the world, taking their future devices with them as they go, research studies in sterile lab environments are increasingly irrelevant. We UX researchers are left scratching our heads wondering how to create great experiences in this new world. I want to go over a few tools and tricks I've learned over time to distribute unreleased builds, collect remote feedback, and understand users' contexts. Technology is moving quickly. The bar for interestingness is ever higher. Learn how I've changed my research methods to adapt. I hope it helps you too.