In Chapter 10 of 18 interaction designer and researcher Lauren Serota shares what she finds intellectually stimulating and rewarding working in her design research role. He notes three specific parts of the design research process. The first is project preparation - identifying participants and what to ask them. The second is effectively interviewing participants and gathering data. The third is translating that data into a useful design solution, including business and political considerations.
Erik: What do you find the most intellectually stimulating in the work that you do as a design researcher? Lauren: I think that there are three things, and they come at various points in the process, in the design research process as I practice it. The first is figuring out how I’m going to answer the questions that I have or that my client has, that we’re – the reason that we’re doing a design research, how we’re gonna get those answers, what methods we’re gonna use, what questions we’re gonna ask, who we’re gonna talk to, that in itself is a design process. It’s very iterative, and it’s really tricky, and you have to organize things and word things, so I find that really challenging, and then actually facilitating those things. You know, everybody’s different. Some people take a long time to open up. Some people, if we do exercises, have a harder time. You know, you have to explain things differently. It’s very similar to teaching, but it’s, you’re trying to get out instead of give, so that’s really challenging, just day-to-day doing fielding, doing interviews, and trying to get the responses, not that I want but trying to get the responses, to get the people to feel comfortable giving me the responses they need to give me. And then finally, it’s always challenging to figure out the most appropriate way to translate that into a design solution, considering, you know, all of the things that I’ve learned from the people about how this thing should, or ought to act, or behave, and then business considerations, political considerations with the design team, so mixing all of these different things into a solution and not trying to muddy any of the waters is always a challenge.