What they really, really want: user centred research methods for design
online resourceposted on 15.06.2006, 09:34 by Vicky LofthouseVicky Lofthouse, Debra LilleyDebra Lilley
The benefits of user centered research methodologies are well documented in the literature. They can reduce the potential for poorly designed or misused products; provide an insight into the complex relationship between people and their products, and be a persuasive tool for communicating wants and needs to higher management. Through these techniques, designers can gain powerful insights into the ‘actual’ practices, habits and needs of the users they are designing for, rather than having to rely on their own perceptions. This paper draws on the combined experiences of the authors with findings from the literature to present a range of techniques which can help designers better understand their customers and lead to the development of more appropriate products and services. Each section provides a brief description of a technique and describes its implementation process, and any associated benefits and drawbacks. The paper concludes by comparing the different methodologies, reflecting on when they should be used, the associated costs and the time required to run them. It aims to provide design researchers with a quick reference to user centered design methods.