TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES; SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION AND INSIGHT
Interpretive research methods often pose considerable challenges for the systems analyst and interaction designing. Knowing what to look for, to ask, to observe and record is hard enough. Knowing how to analyze, categorize, distill and present complex, entangled, messy qualitative data is also a challenge.
The IDEO method cards are an aide, to help break the impasse if the analyst gets stuck deciding what method to use or adapt for field studies and requirements gathering (IDEO, 2003). IDEO’s method cards are grouped into four categories: Learn, Look, Ask, and Try. Observational techniques are suggested by the Look category. The objective in this case is the uncover insights and understanding into what users actually do as they go about achieving their goals. The following table summarizes the Look category (Table below).
Table: IDEO 'Look' techniques (IDEO, 2003)
The cards are used as prompts for researchers involved in field studies. They also provide a shared language for research teams and their customers (users, designers, developers) undergoing the process of designing research protocols for fieldwork.