- Through our research methods, our focus is to delve into the unknowns and find opportunities around what’s not obvious at the moment. By using many of the research methods and best practices, we can orchestrate a user-centered vision for you.
- There is a great amount of potential in understanding the “Why”. Through our practices, we go after this fundamental question that is foundational to your investment. More often than not, the answer to “Why” is articulated around the User. Our end goal as a design research company is to delight your users, and that means the question of “why” has to start with understanding their needs and wants.
Think Design’s research practice
Design research is much more than validating Design; and we discovered this early on. Oftentimes, you come across seemingly simple questions that take you forward with ill-informed assumptions. By not delving in deeper, you may end up spending a lot of resources on Design; and by the time you reach the stage of validation with your users, the answers are either too obvious or inadequate. Our research practice comes in handy before, during, and after Design exercise: Applying this could significantly optimize your efforts and investments. What’s more, your fundamental approaches will be better informed and empathetic to users’ needs. This means that your efforts are likely to witness far higher adoption.
Predicting future mobile User Experience
Think Design worked with a multinational mobile phone brand to predict mobile phone UX that would include key features of the OS, bundled apps and their experiences, CMF patterns, packaging design, and hardware features.
To achieve this, Think Design used a varied set of research methods: PESTEL study, market scan, one-on-one user interviews, focus groups, prototyping, and user validation. Key takeaways included character profiles (persona), a day-in-the-life, design concepts, technological references, and documentation of insights followed by concepts.Read More
User behavior in the context of authentication
Think Design worked with an Industry body of network operators to understand and propose suggestions related to user behavior in the context of authentication.
For this, used a combination of research methods that gave holistic understanding of the situation: Secondary research (document research), Usability test, User interviews, FGD, Ideation, and User Validation. Key takeaways included documentation of the entire process, insights discovered, and design recommendations in the form of concepts and flows.Read More
Systems understanding of Infant mortality
Think Design was commissioned to mitigate infant mortality through design solutions that are low cost and targeted at low literacy users in the state of Bihar, India. Think Design formulated a comprehensive research strategy that included: Stakeholder workshops, Participatory design (journey maps), Field surveys, Rapid ethnography, In-depth interviews, and Secondary (document) research.
This was followed by ideation, design concepts, prototyping, and user validation. Outcome generated from this has been developed and deployed in target locations and has been successful in its mission.Read More
What is it that we need to re-define?
Think Design worked with one of India’s largest edu-tech company for the purpose of re-defining their product proposition. As we didn’t have a clear understanding of the “What is it that we need to re-define”, we opted to take a research route.
As a result, an 8 week research sprint spanning 17 locations in India followed, wherein we employed relevant research tools to gain insights: Shadowing teachers while using the tool, Rapid ethnography across schools, Stakeholder interviews involving teachers, sales representatives, school principals, and parents. Thus, a comprehensive understanding emerged that gave clear insights into the direction we needed to take.Read More
Think Design’s Golden Grid
Many a time, we come across a challenge that needs quick resolution and we choose the route of prototyping and testing instead of researching the problem further. Unfortunately, the field of design research is relatively new and tends to be too esoteric, meaning that designers fail to use appropriate methods to get the right answers at the right time. This leads to trivialization of research practice, disbelief in the subject or a total resistance to practice it in organizations. At Think Design, we took the initiative to create a simple yet very powerful framework that design practitioners in our organization and outside can immediately use.
THINK + SEE
Information/ Evidences/ Data
Methods that involve observation and analysis of information/ data.
Outcome: Understanding or insights based on recorded or real-time information.
- Trend Analysis
- Time Lapse Video
- Audio/ Video Analysis
- Document Research
- Usage Analysis
- Heat Map Analysis
- Critical Thinking
- Social Network Mapping
SEE + PROBE
Perceptions/ Opinions/ Validations
Methods that involve observation, questionining and/or testing with users or representative users.
Outcome: Understanding or insights based on what people said or demonstrated.
- In-Depth Interview
- Focus Group
- Unfocus Group
- Fly On The Wall
- Extreme User Interviews
- Card Sorting
- User Testing/ Validation
- Five Whys
- Dyads/ Triads
- Personal Inventory
- Word Concept Association
- Contextual Inquiry
- Tree Test
- Concurrent Probing
- Retrospective Probing
PROBE + ACT
Methods that involve exercising empathy by thinking and doing.
Outcome: Hypothesis or synthesis demonstrated through visual or verbal communication.
- Character Profile
- A Day In The Life
- Heuristic Analysis
- Predict Next Year’s Headline
- Role Play
- Be Your Customer
- Role Reversal
- Simulation/ Modeling
- Body Storming
- Try It Yourself
ACT + THINK
Experiences/ Design Bases
Methods that involve immersing in context and experiencing the situation by probing.
Outcome: Understanding or insights based on researcher’s own interpretation of context.
- Brain storming
- Participatory Design
- Business Model Canvas
- Task Analysis
- Guided Survey
- Visit Survey
- Customer Segmentation
This framework allows us to choose appropriate research methods based on our orientation, on-the-ground challenges, as well as operational concerns such as sample size, time at hand etc., We broke-down the research methods into four quadrants, primarily formed by two intersecting lines: While we have See and Act on the ends of one axis, we have Probe and Think on the other. Fundamentally, all the research methods we have so far and in the foreseeable future are based on one of these four approaches: Observation, Interviews/ Discussions, Action/ Experiential/ Performance based or Synthesis/ Analysis/ Diagnosis . This is so fundamental that it can be applied to all disciplines, not just UX or Product development. Further, the underlying concept behind developing this model is our understanding that “Research leads to Learning" and hence, we used principles of learning to create this model: Holistic learning needs Knowing, Reflection, Action, and Feeling in equal doses. At Think Design, we recommend atleast one research method taken from each quadrant in order to get a holistic understanding of the situation or problem at hand. You can learn more about using the framework below.
HOW TO APPLY OUR FRAMEWORK?
While conventional wisdom tells you to go after known threats or opportunities, a User-Centered Design researcher would pursue a different set of questions:
- What are the unmet needs of football viewers that could be met by digital interventions?
- What are the economic patterns around football?
- How could we do this differently?
Using our Research framework, we can clearly articulate our approach to find answers to these questions.
While there are a host of research methods, understanding which ones to choose in which context relies on having theoretical understanding of the method and the experience of actually applying them.
See + Think:
To understand the economic patterns, we would Research documents around the economy of football over time. More importantly, we would comprehend changes over time, among the industries that are centered around football.
See + Probe:
To understand the unmet needs of football viewers, we would conduct in-depth interviews with them. We would also employ concurrent probing method while the user is watching a match either on his TV, mobile, or in a stadium.
Probe + Act:
To understand how we could do this differently, our design research consultancy would conduct extreme user interviews. Down the line, we would brainstorm ideas with stakeholders in order to bring in cross functional teams’ participation.
Think + Act:
Finally, we would prototype our Design. Prototyping could be quick and dirty or in the form of hi-fidelity clickthrough mockups. We may go to the extent of front-end interactive prototype, if the situation demands testing detailed user interactions.