Conducting research as a designer can be hard. Starting out, I realized that even if I knew what different research methods were, it was always confusing to understand how to apply them, knowing what data to collect and how to make sense of that data.
As part of my Master’s program in HCI/d, I took an Interaction Design Methods class by Prof. Shaowen Bardzell which helped me learn about a lot of different methods used in design research, and actually apply them to projects.
I’ve documented 25 of these methods that I learned about, to hopefully help designers like me who are new to research and trying to make sense of it all. I explain each one with steps on how to implement it, an example of how it’s used in projects and suggestions on how to use the collected data.
I found that there was a lot of overlap between some of these methods. An important takeaway from my experience with this class was that we should make the methods our own and not limit them to different categories and ways in which they are used. We can use them separately, or in combination with other methods according to the context of our project, time and resources available to us, and knowing what we want to get out of them. And of course, like with anything else, practice is the best way to explore and understand these methods!
I’ve divided the methods into different categories for easier understanding, but feel free to make them your own and experiment with them!
Designing for the future
Methods to design futuristic concepts and explore possibilities within your design space.
Interviewing and probes
Methods for interviewing your users and getting to know them better.
Thanks for reading! I hope these articles help you understand research methods better, and I’d love to hear any suggestions or feedback. 😄
Special thanks to Dr. Shaowen Bardzell and Patrycja Zdziarska for the insightful and fun Interaction Design Methods course!