Design Research - KEY METHODS

My 4 most important rules of user engagement and field work:



Document everything! 

Take pictures. Film. Record sound.

This is needed to validate findings and connect the design team, internal organisation and external clients to key opportunity areas. Minimum team: one interviewer listening and engaging, one note taker. Use a tripod to film interviews if you can. Film and document as people demonstrate their habits and actions. All of the team take pictures. 



Listen, really listen!

Be present, listen and engage in conversation. Don't read from a list, don't read from cue cards, follow up on what people say. Ask open ended questions and ask about what you don't know. Have your note taker keep track of pre-outlined questions. 

cue card wally

Check your emotions

Don’t be emotional, be curious. Empathy is not about you getting overwhelmed. Gently observe your personal reactions in the situation and save the outlet for later.  

Give people their space to show how they feel. Their emotions are information, you are there to do a job. Often we are in sensitive situations doing field work, be professional. Don’t be afraid to dig deep. Ask respectfully. Be personal, warm, open and kind, but don’t get emotional.


Get out there!

Don’t be afraid to get dirty.... Just go!

You will learn so much more than from your desktop.

Stream clearing on Maui




..... really... get outside!