When prescribing a methodology in approaching design issues there are a spectrum of philosophies readily available. The technique to implement can be broken down into categories such as design with the user and design for the user. Designing with the user involves the designer and the user to work together in solving solutions. The designing for approach engages the user in observation in which the designer alone provides solutions. Designers can also choose to provoke users when engaging in research. The benefit of this can lead to new information by creating unique situations for the user. The alternate can be described as passive data collection.
Design with the user technique is best illustrated by Emily Pilloton in Designing for Impact Locally, and The Long Haul. Emily embedded herself into the local community of Bertie County, NC. She educated groups of local students in design thinking and made decisions with the students. Liz Sanders as well is a proponent of design with users. Liz will call this process co-creation and feels that everyone is capable of being creative.
Provoking a user can provide valuable and unique data. Bill Gaver is the best example when it comes to provoking data collection. His ability to create devices to capture intimate moments of users pushes users into opening up about information they might not normally disclose.
Passive design practices are techniques used by Pilloton, Victor M, and Chris Le Dantic. Their methods of engaging with users are based in educating, observation, or interviews. The attached chart further shows the positioning of each author.
As a designer, determining the appropriate research method is crucial. Jeopardizing data collection can hinder valuable insights by flooding data with a designers prejudice. Being a great designer is knowing when to engage the user in research and how to objectively collect the necessary data with the proper technique to provide the best design solutions.No Comments »