Research-Driven Design Project

Skill theme: 
Integration with Delivery Cycles
Integration with Delivery Cycles

Through Product Roadmap we find an Actionable Research Question that may be too large to address at once, nested and interdependent, or chained in sequence. You can satisfy these needs with a project that synchronizes research outcomes with design’s ability to act.

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The challenge

"Pure" research projects imply a research report; there may even be a dedicated phase where the research gets synthesized, reconceptualized, and shared back outwards. The report is shared, read, followed up on, and then, after some time, action is taken on it. Teams committed to topics with high complexity or uncertainty or delivering iteratively will struggle to integrate large scale research into their existing processes. 

Big questions or ambitions in this context cannot wait for a months-long research project, nor can they be answered well in one or two delivery cycles.

The approach

Consider how to frame a project that builds the research into the design process. An integrated design project led by an increasing fidelity of user-insight is rewarding for everyone involved: you make new sense and meaning quickly, are able to directly apply it, and your application guides the next layer of learning. The questions will be unique, but the type of question you ask follows a simple, predictable progression.

Therefore, plan design projects with key research milestones. Identify the fidelity of your team's ideas in the larger design process. Structure activities to feed research activity at the predictable transition[s] between opportunity → problem → approach → solution → delivery, as the case may be. Use single-question investigations and their debrief time as a means to transmute understanding directly to design exploration.

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In the course of this project you will continually need to communicate project status to stakeholders. Depending on your team’s needs, and the scope of your ambition, the project may include or chain together research milestones of Field Interview, User Interview, Concept Test, Usability Test or Information Architecture Study.

Last updated:
May 2, 2020 20:40


Workshop Data:

Data from our 2019 workshops - 486 research practitioners voting on their top three useful skills / top three desired skills.
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