The Art of Facilitating Design Research

April 6, 2020

Video Sections:
Building Rapport Directing the Session Framing Questions | Challenging Participants

There is an art to facilitating design research. On one hand, it’s just about having a conversation. It should feel that way to the participant, anyhow. Meanwhile, in your brain, you have to be authentically in the moment while synthesizing everything you’ve heard so far and using that information to tactfully move the conversation in the direction you want to go. You have to do this while listening for important information that may override your planned direction; while trying to get your participant to open up and be honest with you – a stranger – in their living room; maybe sitting cross-legged on the floor in an unfurnished living room while they're in the middle of a move, accompanied by their baby, toddler, and cat! It can be a lot. Especially if you’re allergic to cats.

That’s why I decided to interview a few of our most seasoned researchers on their top recommendations for facilitating a successful in-depth-interview for design research. I hope this video is useful to you whether you are just starting out as a designer/design researcher, have some experience but could use some tips, or are just curious about how we handle some of the difficult situations that sometimes arise in research sessions.

Though I made this video prior to the world in which we live now – the one where you will not be going into any stranger’s living rooms any time soon – I believe that much of the content in this video applies whether you are face-to-face, using video conferencing, or working over the phone. Enjoy!

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