Research as a team
Everyone has the responsibility to champion for better understanding of the people we serve. As a team, ask yourselves: “How do we make a difference for our users?”
An Explorer has little applied research experience but participates and helps with research activities. Explorers use their domain and skills expertise to help identify what questions to ask—and answer.
Explorers can be developers, marketers, consultants, product owners, sales representatives, business analysts, other designers, and more. If you have yet to conduct design research in a professional setting or are just getting started, you’re probably an Explorer.
When visiting a new place, you understand the local culture by immersing yourself in daily life and visiting popular attractions. Apply the same approach to design research: Embrace a tourist-like mentality by becoming an active participant in your team’s design research.
As an Explorer, your superpower is your domain expertise. When collaborating with your team, share your knowledge with the Guides who are facilitating design research activities. This may mean participating in research analysis, accompanying the researcher on a site visit, or assisting in creating the research plan. The more you lean into the diverse skillsets and strengths of your team, the more successful you will be at fostering new ideas that improve your users’ experience.
- Where can my expertise help?
- How can I support a research activity?
- What questions do we have?
- How can I ask better questions in research?
Guides have deep design research experience. They facilitate the practice across their team. They regularly curate questions and assumptions from their team and identify methods to answer them. Guides craft and curate insights to inform the creation of better user experiences.
Guides are often mid-career and beyond with backgrounds that emphasize the study of people and human behavior. Some examples include social scientists, academic researchers, communications professionals, or designers. If you have conducted human-centered research either professionally or academically over time, you’re most likely a Guide.
Guides often make use of their experience, landmarks, and other tools to help people discover things they didn’t know existed. As a Guide, help your team through uncertainty. Provide context to your users’ world. Guides need to resist the urge to work alone. Aim to work hand-in-hand with your team.
Encourage your team to share domain expertise to fill in the gaps of knowledge among more junior members. Bring Explorers into research activities to provide new perspectives. The more that team members participate in research, the faster they will internalize important findings.
Be the voice of the users. Uphold and support the design research produced on your team. Be aware of the research occurring around you and around the company. Advise your team on what resources and tools are needed to support and produce quality design research, insights, and outcomes.
- Who are the target user groups?
- How valid are our assumptions?
- How can I communicate insights?
- What can my team build now to advance our understanding?