Contextual Inquiry Part 2: Defusing Objections to Using Contextual Inquiry

Contextual Inquiry is a method adapted from ethnographic research which combines interviews, observational research, and task learning sited within the operational (work) environment. In our previous post, we defined what the method is, when it is best used (exploratory user research) and why (rich detail around context-of-use). 

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Contextual Inquiry Part 1: The Power of Being in the Room Where it Happens

Imagine your design team has a great new idea for a product that you think has the potential to be a real game-changer in the marketplace. For the sake of discussion, let’s say it’s a new app that will let small business owners manage their supply chain, so they know when their products will arrive, when they need to restock, and so on. Now, if your design team already works in the supply chain space, they might already know a lot about the user requirements. But what if all of your previous products are corporate enterprise-level software, and you don’t really have a good idea of how that scales down - which features your typical small business owners need, and which ones they will never touch?

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