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?