What's different about discovery research?

It’s easy to stick to a research method because it’s familiar or we feel confident using it. The market research industry are constantly berated for relying on focus groups but I am constantly surprised by how much the user research community rely on interviewing (often in a lab).

The ideal place for mixing up your research methods is at the top of the funnel when you are furthest away from the solution and undertaking exploratory research. Whilst you’re shaping the problem space and understanding and defining which user needs to focus on, you should ideally get out of the lab or the office.

Research funnel
Research funnel

When you have defined your solution and are iterating on it, that’s the best time to use your go to method — lab usability testing in a lot of cases, remote interviewing is mine. This is because you are likely needing cycles of quick feedback and iteration so you need a tried and trusted method so you can spin up a sprint of research quickly and efficiently.

How can I help you with discovery?

I have been a mixed methods researcher since I started my first research job in the Audience Research department at the BBC (cough) 17 years ago. Over the years I have used and commissioned many different methodologies, always basing the approach on the needs and outcomes of the project.

Photo credit: Nick Boulton
Photo credit: Nick Boulton

I frequently get my hands dirty with data analysis and use quant methods but have always had a leaning towards qual and ethnography. After undergoing creative facilitation training at the BBC, I found my big passion was bringing audience/customer/user insights into the innovation or discovery process.

If you have a meaty problem you need some help getting to grips with, let me help you design your research approach. I work collaboratively and can act as an extension of your existing product, design or research team.

Hire me.