Open for Open Questions

Many design and usability research methods cater for delving into a focused topic: You set a goal, establish hypotheses, gather data and gain insight to help create the proof, story, a view point, strategy, or whatever you are looking for – within the given budget and time. However, there can be situations where your research may focus too much on individual ‘trees’ that it cannot provide much information about the ‘forest’. For instance, what if you have perfect usability test data to prove the effectiveness of your design, but your client may be more interested to know what types of people would buy the product (and get disappointed to hear that you don’t know)? What if your polite research participants never want to talk with you about negative things about your design? This talk will share a few anecdotes exemplifying the importance of factoring in the space when exploring broader viewpoints to the user research questions, through informal social encounters, serendipitous interactions, and activities that are designed for cross-examining their results.