Wear clothing and speak in a way thats appropri-�ate for the subjects environment. Refrain from�inquiring about the activities being observeduntil after those activities have been completed.Use appropriate recording media. Its often��difficult to describe something using wordsaloneespecially when trying to record large�amounts of data in a short time. Use additionalrecording media to capture the richness of infor-mation in the customers environment so that it�can be further studied later. Video, audio, photos,and drawings each offer different advantages.Decide what kinds of information will be impor-tant to the study, reasonably easy to capture in thecustomers environment, and minimally intru-�sive to the customers activities. Then proceed�
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accordingly. Video allows one to later review real-time processes in detail. Audio recording capturesenvironmental sounds and exact wordings moreinconspicuously than video. Photographs portrayimages of reality that can be easily categorizedand sorted for comparisons. Drawings can cap-ture details invisible to the eye, such as obscuredfeatures and object cross sections.42 DESIGN MANAGEMENT JOURNAL SPRING 1999DESIGN MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE CUSTOMER ENCOUNTERNEEDFINDING: THE WHY AND HOW OF UNCOVERING PEOPLES NEEDS�ASK & RECORDObservation alone cant tell researchers everything�they want to know. Observation may offer occa-sional indirect indications, but generally doesnt�give clear access to peoples reasoning and emotions.�To better understand these motivating factors, inter-view people after the observed activities have beencompleted to understand the context in which thoseactivities just occurred.2Answers to questions andfurther discussions can give researchers insight intowhy a person acted in a certain way and what he orshe felt during the observed situation. This is crucialinformation for determining peoples needs.�Interview in the customers environment.��Conduct Needfinding interviews in context,while the issues are still fresh in the persons�mind. In these types of interviews, customerscan walk through the process under study a sec-ond time, explaining emotions and reasoning asthey go. Also, both the researcher and the cus-continue in parallel to the ongoing Needfindingactivity. Because Needfinding is about studyingpeople, as well as developing products, always frameinterpretations in terms of what problems need tobe solved to improve the customers situation.�Create need statements. Translate the infor-�mation collected into statements describing cus-tomersneeds. Although some of the informa-�tion will unavoidably remain as tacit knowledgein the researchersheads, as much of the data as�possible should be paraphrased as written needstatements. The better the customers needs are�understood and documented, the better theproduct developers will be able to make in-formed decisions in their design work.
Classify and prioritize the needs. After the�research data has been expressed as need state-ments, classify them by level of generality and
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