Jim Ross, Principal of Design Research at Electronic Ink, thinks contextual inquiry is the most difficult user research technique to perform effectively, as it requires a difficult balance between traditional interviewing and ethnographic observation. In an article for UXMatters, he discusses the most common problems one faces when conducting contextual inquiries and how to solve them.
“The key differentiator between contextual inquiry and other user research methods is that contextual inquiry occurs in context. It’s not simply an interview, and it’s not simply an observation. It involves observing people performing their tasks and having them talk about what they are doing while they are doing it.
Another key difference between contextual inquiry and other user research methods is that participants must take a more active role in leading their session. This is unfamiliar territory, and it can be uncomfortable for some people. The dynamic of interviews and focus groups is more familiar to participants, who take a more passive role, sitting back and waiting to answer a facilitator’s questions. In contrast, a contextual inquiry requires participants to take the role of an expert, leading the session by demonstrating and talking about their tasks. For those who are used to taking a more traditional, passive role during interviews, this role-reversal can be a difficult adjustment. Without intending to, participants often slip back into a passive, interviewee role.”
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Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]
Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]
In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]
Experientia president Michele Visciola is one of the keynote speakers at User Friendly 2014, the annual user experience conference of UXPA China, to be held in Wuxi, China, 13 to 16 November. The theme of the 11th conference is the “new era of the experience economy,” thus underlining the importance of transferring UX concepts and […]
An upcoming event is encouraging anthropologists to “come out of their ivory towers” and work more closely with their colleagues in the field, in order to bridge the gap between “pure” and “applied” anthropology. The international symposium “Why the world needs anthropologists” (Facebook page) will be held on 5 December 2014 in Padua, Italy. Experientia […]