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Design Research 101

Design Research 101

Making the case for design research, comparing design research to market research, and a breakdown of several methods with one last point about prioritizing qualitative over quantitive.

"85% of core usability problems can be found by observing just five people using the product." — Nielsen Norman Group

Skipper Chong Warson

January 12, 2017

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  1. W h y d e s i g n r

    e s e a r c h ? A discussion why research is so important and what is it exactly we’re after D i f f e r e n t d e s i g n r e s e a r c h M e t h o d s A brief look at three methods to get you started I s i t t h e s a m e a s M a r k e t R e s e a r c h ? If not the same, how are design research and market research different? S o w h e n d o w e d o d e s i g n r e s e a r c h ? Do we prototype before we research? After? Isn’t research really just optional? Agenda
  2. Why design research? Why design research? — What is design

    research anyway? The term design research first appeared at a conference held at Imperial London College in 1962 and was constituted as primarily research into the process of design, developing from work in design methods.
  3. Why design research? — That was the 1960s, What about

    today? The concept has been expanded to include research embedded within the process of design, including work concerned with the context of designing. Today, design research has become foundational to creating products, services, and systems that have the needs of humans at its center.
  4. Why design research? Why design research? — What Does it

    all mean? Okay, sure. Let’s get a little help defining design research. It’s a great reason to bring in a pull quote.
  5. Why design research? [Design research is] the work that uncovers

    and articulates the needs of individuals and/ or groups in order to inform the design of products and services in a structured manner. 
 — Nick Remis, 
 Adaptive Path “ ”
  6. Why design research? Why design research? — Got it, design

    research is important - what is it exactly we’re after? We can boil it down to three things: • To synthesize findings into patterns and insights, testing against existing knowledge • To construct hypotheses and reach conclusions using patterns and insights • To create possible futures
  7. So when do we do design research? — That’s all

    well and good about design research, but can we build something first? Of course, we want to make something and test it. When a design works beautifully, it’s nothing short of glorious.
  8. Why design research? So when do we do design research?

    — Even when the answer is wrong, it feels so much better than ambiguity If you’re concerned with demonstrating value by making fast, visible progress, conducting user interviews feels useless and a waste of time. A prototype can test an idea that is already good, but not tell you whether you’re solving the right problem.
  9. So when do we do design research? According to Bill

    Buxton, the pioneer computer scientist and designer, there’s a difference between ‘getting the design right and getting the right design.’ I think of it this way: if we only test bottle openers, we may never realize customers prefer screw-top bottles. That’s what Buxton means by getting the right design.
 — Victor lomabardi,
 Why We Fail “ ” So when do we do design research?
  10. Is it the same as market research? — What is

    Market Research? Generally, market research identifies optimal consumer leverage points and then analyzes this along with other gathered data — industry shifts, changing needs and preferences — to better understand what its existing or potential customers need and/or want. Its notion of success is not absolute, though the metrics considered are often financial.
  11. Is it the same as market research? Is it the

    same as market research? — so, Design research is different from market research Design research is based on the idea that the needs of humans are the optimal market and consumer leverage points: human needs. Thus, uncovering and satisfying those needs is the surest way to achieve success.
  12. Is it the same as market research? — Can we

    just do one and not the other? Not really. Both kinds of research — market and design — are necessary in developing effective consumer products and user solutions. Together, they can minimize business risks and provide a clear framework to create successful products and services.
  13. Why design research? Different design research methods — Three examples

    of design research There are a ton of methods by which you can do design research. We’ll go over just three general groupings to save time.
  14. Different design research methods — Interviews Lots of different terms

    for this — user interviews, subject matter expert interviews (or just expert interviews), group interviews, customer/user intercepts — but it boils down to talking to people, whether it’s people who do use (or should be using) your product or people who really know your product. The focus here is to gain a deeper understanding of your user and their why.
  15. Why design research? Different design research methods — Observation This

    method is more passive than interviewing but can be super informative, depending on what you’re looking for. Observations (sometimes also called field studies) can be a great way to get beyond what a user can or will tell you they need, identifying the areas where they struggle, and may not even think about because they’ve already adapted to softening the pain point.
  16. Different design research methods — Testing There are two major

    kinds of testing — user/usability testing and A/B testing. The first involves giving a user task(s) as it relates to a mockup, prototype, or boxes/ arrows and observing them completing those task(s). A/B testing is another method where a user is shown two options and pros/cons are broken down. No matter what the method, testing is about testing the user, it’s about testing the designs.
  17. Why design research? Different design research methods — Other ways

    to learn Among a plethora of sources, here are three more places to dive deeper into the field of design research: • Nielsen Norman Group - http:// www.nngroup.com/topic/research- methods/ • UX Collective - http://uxdesign.cc/ tagged/design-research • IDEO, a day in the life of a design researcher - http://www.ideo.com/blog/a- day-in-the-life-of-a-design-researcher
  18. So when do we do design research? Some people think

    that usability is very costly and complex and that user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from… three studies with five users each [understanding you’ll need to test highly distinct groups of users separately].
 — Jakob Nielsen,
 Nielsen Norman Group “ ” Different design research methods