Wear clothing and speak in a way that s appropri ate for the subject s

Wear clothing and speak in a way that s appropri ate

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Wear clothing and speak in a way that s appropri- ate for the subject s environment. Refrain from inquiring about the activities being observed until after those activities have been completed. Use appropriate recording media. It s often difficult to describe something using words alone especially when trying to record large amounts of data in a short time. Use additional recording media to capture the richness of infor- mation in the customer s 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 the customer s environment, and minimally intru- sive to the customer s activities. Then proceed
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accordingly. Video allows one to later review real- time processes in detail. Audio recording captures environmental sounds and exact wordings more inconspicuously than video. Photographs portray images of reality that can be easily categorized and sorted for comparisons. Drawings can cap- ture details invisible to the eye, such as obscured features and object cross sections. 42 DESIGN MANAGEMENT JOURNAL SPRING 1999 DESIGN MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE CUSTOMER ENCOUNTER NEEDFINDING: THE WHY AND HOW OF UNCOVERING PEOPLE S NEEDS ASK & RECORD Observation alone can t tell researchers everything they want to know. Observation may offer occa- sional indirect indications, but generally doesn t give clear access to people s reasoning and emotions. To better understand these motivating factors, inter- view people after the observed activities have been completed to understand the context in which those activities just occurred.2 Answers to questions and further discussions can give researchers insight into why a person acted in a certain way and what he or she felt during the observed situation. This is crucial information for determining people s needs. Interview in the customer s environment. Conduct Needfinding interviews in context, while the issues are still fresh in the person s mind. In these types of interviews, customers can walk through the process under study a sec- ond time, explaining emotions and reasoning as they go. Also, both the researcher and the cus- continue in parallel to the ongoing Needfinding activity. Because Needfinding is about studying people, as well as developing products, always frame interpretations in terms of what problems need to be solved to improve the customer s situation. Create need statements. Translate the infor- mation collected into statements describing cus- tomers needs. Although some of the informa- tion will unavoidably remain as tacit knowledge in the researchers heads, as much of the data as possible should be paraphrased as written need statements. The better the customer s needs are understood and documented, the better the product developers will be able to make in- formed decisions in their design work.
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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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