The difference between photos and sketches is the later shows how things work. This can be resolved if a write up explaining what exactly will happen during the contextual inquiry is provided to the client and further sent to the participants. This inform is not final but a work in progress but it’s a proof for you client of what you have seen and also that you capture the variants that were agreed previously. This is a guide that could help you conduct better contextual inquiry sessions.

The contextual inquiry session must take place in the context of use—in the environment in which participants normally perform tasks. A round of contextual inquiry will involve observing several different people, even if they are doing the same thing.

Keep in mind that your day is not only about the contextual inquiry but: Your day should start with a team meeting where you need to present what will be the goal of the day and the areas that must be captured, as well as the personas that you will face.

A contextual interview starts with observation and shifts to discussion, which tackles the things that happened in rapid shifts throughout the interview.

Please, make sure that your client is aware of that, and you get a formal approval that you can record and utilize the material for internal purposes and for project-related goals.

It is important for the researcher to stay focused on the topics that need exploration in order to provide insightful data needed to make the improvements on the project’s scope. This will help you create better recommendations and solutions later on. The researcher needs to have enough time to determine the things needed to be examined with the users and the methods to use to get this done. You can refer to the UX Knowledge Base's Infographic below summarizing what contextual inquiry is and its process: A recorded video is preferred in this kind of research so you can later review the actions. One strategy to get them onboard is by giving them a brief of the activity before the sessions take place. Your email address will not be published. During the sessions, you should be taking a lot of photos and videos that later on will help you remember situations and see things that didn’t come up in your notes. Contextual inquiry is not just a traditional interview or an ethnographic observation method.

Again, the participants are more in control of the flow so they decide how long or short the session would be. This is where the participant is asked about their own inputs if there is any additional information that was missed or any misconceptions that were observed. time on a task, delay between tasks, days per week they do a task, etc).

Ideally, the team that will handle the contextual inquiry should be composed of: Note: To me a “designer/researcher” role is a designer with some studies in ethnography or at least with previous experience in research activities.

Unlike usability testing, this research method does not involve setting people certain tasks to do, but instead, researchers need to visit the participants’ homes or their workplaces and talk to them. Contextual inquiry is an indispensable method when it comes to UX design.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. It is a method where participants are observed while they perform tasks and simultaneously talk about what they are doing while they perform them. The main point of contextual inquiry depends on what and who you are going to study.

That way, you set clear expectations with your client about the kind of output that will be generated after the activity. The design of your research should at least focus in the following areas: c. Personas that will be involved + type of work they do, d. Qualitative data you want to capture (e.g.

You will need a team of 2-3 people with a mix of roles: interviewer, note taker and camera person. Also, recorded audio and video is helpful to those who are not in the session—for them to better understand the whole process. There should be a research brief, where these things can be read so the researcher can refer to it every time during the whole process.

The participant can correct or add more insights to the researcher’s interpretations. Your follow-up questions may differ by person, because you may be seeking to … A researcher should carefully interpret data from this kind of research to get the right information that can be used for project development. If not possible, you can suggest audio recording. Always take notes and jot down all details that you observe.

If you continue we'll assume that you accept this. Contextual inquiry is performed in the participant’s natural environment so the insights are closely connected to the participants and their tasks. A qualitative method that requires a lot of effort to become “statistically significant”.

This method lets us observe people doing different activities. The key difference between contextual inquiry and other user research methods is that participants must take a more active role in leading their session in contextual inquiry. An effective way of directly observing the users and their behaviors is called the contextual inquiry This is a guide that could help you conduct better contextual inquiry sessions. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Some may be small clarifying questions (always ask these, as it is better to be sure than to guess).

method or also known as the participant observation or popularly known as on-site study. As contextual inquiry is performed with one participant at a time, it is fairly time consuming. A contextual inquiry is based on the interaction between the UX researcher and the participant. As is the case with any qualitative research, this method must be backed up with data gathered from other methods and then the data must be interpreted to get a more clear and accurate picture of the findings. The results of contextual inquiry can be used to define requirements, improve a process, learn what is important to users and customers, and just learn more about a new domain to inform future projects. Unlike in usability tests, contextual inquiries do not stimulate anything for the user as it offers you with deep insights into how users use a product, service, or application. In this stage, the participants are assured of their confidentiality and are asked permission regarding the usage of data anonymously.

Learn more, Topic, Participant recruitment, Research environment.

Contextual inquiry is literally inquiry of context.

As the participant is comfortable and authentic in their environment, the quality of information gathered is highly accurate. Heuristic Analysis In Improving The User Experience, Customer Experience Metrics: A Complete Guide, It reveals information and data that users may not be aware of, Observing users in their natural environment reveals more accurate information, It provides highly detailed information compared to other qualitative research methods, This method can be carried out wherever a user is located/based.

In this final package, please make sure to add all the photos and video you have taken. Facilitator; Participant

Every client will have its differences but at least you will understand the basics and you will be familiarized with terminology and talk in the same language with your users.

In order for you to get the right data, you need to prepare your questions ahead of time.

This often leads to poor expectation setting and management. Your email address will not be published.

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Let’s say, you want to understand how a fitness coach goes about his coaching in a way you want this to be developed into a software/ app. That way, you set clear expectations with your client about the kind of output that will be generated after the … Design your research. As most participants are not familiar with contextual inquiries, they may not be up for leading a session and taking on a more active role to aid in research.

The researcher should make introductions about himself, what the research is about, and the purpose of it. Contextual Inquiry involves interviewing and observing someone as they work in their own environment. The participants should be prepared for the contextual interview. When taking this collaboration into consideration, there are two main modes of interaction to consider.

Contextual inquiry is usually performed with one participant at a time and in an environment where the participant usually performs their tasks. Rather than recruiting one participant to perform all tasks, the tasks can also be split up among different participants to observe and understand all tasks in depth and not exhaust or tire down one participant.

This method is an excellent way to discover better means to improve a certain process, product, or service.

This design should be validated with the corresponding stakeholders before the activity happens.

In contrast, a contextual inquiry requires participants to take the position of a subject matter expert, leading the session by demonstrating and talking about their tasks. Contextual inquiry defines four principles to guide the interaction: It is better if you carry a notebook every session so you can easily take down notes about what the person is doing, the important quotes given, and any other observations.

Do not use contextual inquiry as a method when you are not looking at capturing a process or when a simple shadowing exercise can yield necessary results.

Listen to their struggles, understand how you can help them, and figure out a way to win. We are on a misson to build the ultimate Remote User Testing Solution. The key difference between contextual inquiries and other research methods is that contextual inquiries occurs in context. Equally important is to let the users know and understand that they are not the ones who are put to test, but rather the product or application is with the participants carrying out the test.

In this stage, the researcher informs the user about the observations, interpretations, and conclusions.

If he’s hiring you it’s because he notices that there are certain points he has and are affecting their operation, and he would like to solve them. However, in general projects, you do not have enough time to do this so it’s better if you take notes. Further, interviewing the coach outside of fitness center setting may also not yield the right results. Unlike in user interviews where you ask people questions, this method lets you observe people and ask them their feedback to yield enough actionable data that you need for your research. The more they trust you, the more they’ll open up to you and give you their honest feedback. Who’s involved? You need to put a lot of thought and care into your questions and ensure that you ask the same set of questions to each participant. You may also perform this method if you are interested to know the competing applications and what participants use as alternatives. Active inquiry – This model occurs when the user and researcher talk through all of the tasks being performed by the participant. When you take photos, be sure to label them so you can easily understand what you are looking at. Photos are also helpful when sharing your user research to others. How should I structure and write a User Research case study. A content marketing strategist and a UX writer with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.


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