contextual inquiry

Driving Innovation and Creativity through Customer Data is more than a tease than a full article on the […]

Driving Innovation and Creativity through Customer Data is more than a tease than a full article on the technique of contextual inquiry (much like many articles on UIE) but it does make a persuasive argument for user-centered design, something we can never have too many of.

“One technique we like to use to create innovative designs is Contextual Inquiry. Contextual Inquiry immerses product designers in actual customer data by having designers observe the work of users in their natural environment. Design teams can quickly identify specific problems and needs of their customers, One advantage of this technique is that it provides a framework for designers to synthesize the customer data they collect and use it to produce creative products.”

BTW, I hated Web Site Usability: A Designer’s Guide but I don’t know if it’s just me, or… I found it trite, facile, and I wanted data to back up their assertions, which often seemed incomplete or incorrect. Anyone out there love it?

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    recovered comments from greymatter

    I loved it _at the time_. Back then it was new and different and the only thing of its kind that resembled a thoughtful study of websites. Now its showing its age, I think even Spool has said so.

    Posted by victor @ 08/25/2001 07:51 AM pst


    Spool says lots of things. Doesn’t mean people listen. 🙂

    Posted by Jared @ 10/22/2001 04:49 PM pst


    A more serious comment:

    The book was written originally (in 1997, despite Morgan Kaufman’s insistance on changing the copyright to 1999) to make a point that we weren’t looking at actual behaviors enough. At the time, there wasn’t anything that ever talked about behaviors or how to look at them.

    We’re in a different place now. Now we know to look at behaviors, but we don’t know which behaviors to look at. Also, there’s a lot of mis-information floating around about what behaviors occur.

    Some authors like to make grandious statements about how design should be done. We (UIE) now approach things differently. We look at the behaviors we want to see, then try to find designs that create those behaviors.

    I think, if you look at our newest series of reports, you’ll see that we’re much closer to talking about “the data” than you’ve seen before.

    Of course, we probably still seem trite and facile (a word of the day on September 4, 1999), despite the incredible efforts my research team puts into everything the do. Writing about research so that people can understand it is a very difficult chore.

    Posted by Jared @ 10/22/2001 04:58 PM pst


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