A solid awareness of client-context is a prerequisite to the emergence of effective solutions. Hence, we begin the research phase with an intervention and use action-based research according to Carr & Kemmis’s model: plan an intervention, act it out with users, observe the results and then reflect on the outcomes. So long as assumptions are framed as they arise, this ‘discovery’ phase ends with an awareness of how users are challenged.
We use grounded-theory to gather qualitative feedback from users. As a foundational framework, grounded-theory supports the development of hybrid methodologies: Dr McCarthy’s ‘video-cued commentary’ method was developed by mixing grounded-theory, interaction-design, preview-screening & observational-recording.
Results from early research leads us toward an understanding of the contest and the stakeholders involved. To identify shortcomings in the existing product/service, we find it useful to visual processes with Journey-Maps. In parallel, Persona-Maps help identify which parts of the existing experience users value: these are the very components that will need respect in any future pivots.