Many UX researchers find themselves immersed in data analysis daily. However, I believe that the essence of our research should not stray from the experiential core – the people involved and the contextual environment. This is what captivates me most about this profession, allowing me to step into diverse communities, understand their thoughts, and contribute to shaping the future they envision. Over the years, friends often inquire about my field research experiences, so I've decided to share two small stories. Story 1 — Transformative Love After Trauma I once participated in a project utilizing AI in home healthcare. Data revealed that over ninety percent of stroke patients abandoned rehabilitation within a month after returning home. The primary reason, as indicated by surveys, was a lack of motivation for rehab at home. Simple exchanges with family members only yielded comments like, "He (the patient) is lazy and unwilling to move, so I have to help him." Is it just laziness? Understanding the true reasons only became clear when I immersed myself in the patient's daily life. I interviewed a stroke survivor, a former professor, whose wife asked me to touch his upper arm. In that moment, I felt the atrophy of his deltoid muscle, almost detached from the bone. It was then that I realized the so-called "laziness" was due to muscles no longer under voluntary control, exacerbated by potential cognitive impairment common in stroke survivors. As I listened to the professor, in his 60s, crying out like a child, I, as an observer, couldn't bring myself to witness such scenes. It was hard to fathom the psychological struggles faced by the patient's family. For family members, the challenge wasn't just caring for their loved ones day and night but fundamentally changing the way they expressed love after their partner fell ill. This is a cruelty most people cannot fathom, let alone achieve. It's this unbearable burden that leads many families, in their eagerness to care, to inadvertently forsake their loved ones before forsaking treatment. This interview was the only one I had to cut short due to overwhelming emotions. In the latter part, I silently accompanied the professor and his wife through muscle strength exercises. As we parted ways, the professor insisted on seeing us off to the roadside to wait for a ride, a habit he maintained, his wife explained, since their early days together. "This habit is the only thing he remembers." His wife smiled faintly, patting his hair. After integrating the insights from this research into the design concept, we developed a smart home rehabilitation device that connects patient health data to hospital networks. This provides real-time professional guidance for those unable to undergo long-term in-hospital rehabilitation, with the first step being to disseminate basic knowledge and avoid missing the optimal recovery window due to overzealous family care. Story 2 — Impacting Men's Mindset: A Means of Caring for Pregnant Women and Children Several years ago, I traveled to Uganda to assist a local telecom operator and NGO in establishing a mobile-based consulting platform to improve the nutrition of pregnant women and children. Each day, accompanied by a local social worker/ translator, I visited various villages to understand the dietary habits and changes during pregnancy. As we shared a local lunch, I interviewed a woman who had recently given birth to her third child. I asked her husband, who earned a living by selling egg pancakes, about the lunch he prepared for his wife. "Same as usual, maize flour porridge (posho). She can't eat too much; the baby will be too big for delivery." "Do you not eat egg pancakes yourselves?" "No, we don't. The eggs are for selling." "What do you feed the other two children?" "They love pineapples, and I bought some for them for 500 shillings (equivalent to the price of two eggs)." "Why spend so much on buying fruit for them? Do you know the benefits of fruit for their health?" "I don't know, it just tastes good. If I earn more, they can have the food they like. When they grow strong and smart, they can lead a good life for the family." "What would you most like to buy for the children to eat?" "Pork." He whispered mysteriously in my ear. The pork was the most expensive food in their eyes. The social worker/ translator waved us off, accusing him of boasting and saying he couldn't afford pork. I realized that this might be the most crucial discovery of the day. Fathers hold the purchasing power for food, own mobile phones, and can access nutritional education information. Rather than focusing on mothers, we need to impact men’s mindset. In the end, these on-the-ground insights were successfully integrated into our research findings. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action model, we analyzed elements such as family members' behavior attitudes and motivations, constructing an opportunity roadmap to change dietary habits for pregnant women and children in rural Uganda. Statistical Data Out of Context is Meaningless I've often encountered skepticism regarding the scientific rigor and credibility of qualitative research. I want both those familiar and unfamiliar with ethnographic research to know that we value insights from real-life situations, ensuring our data stays rooted in the complexity of the real world rather than confined to statistical objectivity. As Nate Silver mentioned in "The Signal and the Noise," "Data is meaningless without context." The key to making effective predictions is not restricting oneself to quantitative information but rather striking a proper balance between qualitative and quantitative information. David Brooks, in "Heroes of Uncertainty," suggests that many fields, including economics, education, and psychiatry, have been distorted by hard scientific standards. He argues that a mixed mindset will be more suitable for these fields, one that occupies a place in both science and the humanities and can bring multiple advantages. Engaging in experience research is no different. As UX researchers, we always advocate the joint interpretation of objectivity and subjectivity, carefully considering the relevance and causality of data and information. As experience research has evolved from focusing solely on interactive experiences to diving deeper into users' implicit motivations, and specific contextual needs, and even considering business strategies, it demands the integration of resources and the use of innovative methods to tackle challenges and opportunities. This is why, at tech companies, the Experience Research team collaborates closely with the Data Science team. For example, intriguing patterns identified in Data Science experimental data can be combined with contextual research for thorough analysis and insights, revealing the underlying causes of observed phenomena. This collaborative approach helps bridge gaps and overcome biases from each perspective, enabling us to formulate precise research questions and attain more profound, confident results. Will the Era of Big Data and Algorithms Devalue "Feelings"? Every day, we find ourselves submerged beneath an overwhelming deluge of information. This makes us increasingly doubtful of the reliability of our feelings and judgments, rendering it easy to surrender trust to algorithms. In his book, "21 Lessons for the 21st Century," Yuval Noah Harari discusses the issue of data hegemony and human fairness, presenting a daunting vision: “As authority shifts from humans to algorithms, we may no longer see the world as the playground of autonomous individuals struggling to make the right choices. Instead, we might perceive the entire universe as a flow of data, see organisms as little more than biochemical algorithms, and believe that humanity’s cosmic vocation is to create an all-encompassing data-processing system – and then merge into it.” This is a future we, as researchers in user experience, do not want to see. Users becoming conditioned data-generating creatures and the datafication of experiences might result in manipulating judgments and choices, rendering human minds and feelings inconsequential. Any platform or product with access to data must respect the values and experiences of users, returning autonomy to them. Data and information should be used to help us create more value for users and better experiences. Cherish the emotions we have, for the future cannot be a Truman Show.