transition between research and design. The re-search is guided by the information necessary forproduct development, and the design work is con-ducted with a tacit understanding that could only beacquired by carrying out the research. Translationbetween the research and design stages of a projectis greatly reduced, and both phases of the projectare more effective, knowing the requirements ofthe other phase.1. Rolf Faste, Perceiving Needs,a paper for the Society of��Automotive Engineers, 1988.GO TO THE CUSTOMERS ENVIRONMENT.�Researchers obtain the richest information onpeoples needs by observing and interviewing cus-�tomers first-hand. The researchers can then directlysee many small but important details about thecustomers activities and the context in which they�occurdetails that wouldnt be available outside that��context. By directly observing customersactivities,�Needfinding avoids reliance on customersmemory,�descriptive ability, or awareness of a need. In addi-tion, the customers environment facilitates commu-�nication between the researcher and the customer byallowing them both to refer to and use objects in theenvironment during the discussion.LOOK BEYOND THE IMMEDIATELY SOLVABLEPROBLEM.Researchersespecially designers conducting�researchoften dont see beyond problems that��they can immediately solve. This impediment un-COLLECT ECLECTIC FORMS OF DATA.Information about people comes in many forms. A
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facial expression might express a persons emotions�better than her words. Keepsakes found in an officemight reveal information about a persons relation-�ship with his work. Needfinding researchers recordall these forms of data for later study away from thesite, as analyzing data in the customers environ-�ment distracts the researcher from collecting it.Researchers often pay special attention to contradic-tions between different sources of data, as thesecontradictions often mark unrecognized orunarticulated needs.MAKE FINDINGS TANGIBLE AND PRESCRIPTIVE.Written descriptions alone often dont make the�customers needs real to those who havent been��involved in the research. To make decisions basedon the research, the findings must be presented in avivid and actionable form. The needs are betterunderstood when supplemented with drawings,photos, audio recordings, and/or video. BecauseNeedfinding leads to design, researchers also rec-ommend what might be done to satisfy thecustomers requirements. Providing the results in a�prescriptive, tangible form allows for a smoothertransition between studying peoples needs and�creating new ways to meet them.ITERATE TO REFINE THE FINDINGS.Needfinding uses many quick passes to study people,rather than one long research effort. This approachallows design work to proceed in parallel with theresearch. After each pass, the researchers offer a draftof the findings, outlining their current understandingof customersneeds and contexts. Preliminary design�work can then begin, based on this early hypothesis.
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