|Contextual inquiry is used as a best-practice qualitative interviewing technique. It involves directly observing and talking with people while they conduct a work or life activity you support to capture the details, structure, and intents of their work.
Observations are interpreted directly with interviewees to ensure there is agreement on the reasons behind their actions. This technique helps mitigate consequences from acting on untested assumptions or confirmation bias.
Most projects require about one to two dozen interviews, each about 2 hours in duration. Prior to conducting interviews, a focus-setting activity identifies the problem or opportunity you wish to explore which is then translated into an understanding of the kinds of people to interview and the kinds of activities to pay attention to during the interviews.
During each interview, detailed data are gathered about what the interviewee is doing, why they are doing it, and the important issues they face. Data captured from the interviews is used to produce an actionable research insight report that summarizes user issues and offers recommendations.
|To ideate from the user data, you have the option to engage in facilitated team visioning exercises. Team members first immerse themselves in provided consolidated models arising from the interview data to prime their brains with issues and ideas grounded in your users’ reality.
The team identifies overarching themes around which they, together, invent stories of ways to improve the work or lives of users by taking advantage of their knowledge of technology, materials, and business processes. Multiple stories are sketched as visions representing a future experience for your users, then evaluated and improved to resolve technical infeasibilities and business constraints.