Abstract

Design research projects are often framed around specific objectives, for example, product initiatives or marketing strategies. Due to limited budgets and tight timeframes, most design research projects are narrowly focused, isolated inquiries into specific activities, products, services or phases of the development process. An ethnographic approach to design research can provide a holistic understanding of users, their routines, motivations, and beliefs that extend beyond the original research intent and provide a much broader view on customer needs and business opportunities. Learning to extend the utility of research data beyond the scope of the initial project can become a great organizational asset – one that grows over time. Using examples from recent projects that utilized data from previous research, this paper discusses ways to stretch the value of ethnographic data beyond its original intent, making it “evergreen.” It examines how well focused research objectives, rigorous data collection, and systematic coding can create a “wellspring of knowledge” to which an organization can repeatedly return. Moreover, this paper addresses the important changes to corporate culture and work processes that are vital to maximizing the value of design research.

Keywords

collaboration, design process, human / user-centered design, product-service-system, design planning, knowledge management

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

The Evergreen Approach to Design Research: Maximizing the value of user experience data

Design research projects are often framed around specific objectives, for example, product initiatives or marketing strategies. Due to limited budgets and tight timeframes, most design research projects are narrowly focused, isolated inquiries into specific activities, products, services or phases of the development process. An ethnographic approach to design research can provide a holistic understanding of users, their routines, motivations, and beliefs that extend beyond the original research intent and provide a much broader view on customer needs and business opportunities. Learning to extend the utility of research data beyond the scope of the initial project can become a great organizational asset – one that grows over time. Using examples from recent projects that utilized data from previous research, this paper discusses ways to stretch the value of ethnographic data beyond its original intent, making it “evergreen.” It examines how well focused research objectives, rigorous data collection, and systematic coding can create a “wellspring of knowledge” to which an organization can repeatedly return. Moreover, this paper addresses the important changes to corporate culture and work processes that are vital to maximizing the value of design research.

 

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