common sense

…it is my experience that research either supports what you already know or feel intuitively or it is flawed…anyone have an experience to the contrary?

Bad research happens, but my experience is to the contrary. Research is my primary source of innovation! Right now I’ve got a really interesting mail-out study kit out that consists of open-ended “game-like” exercises aimed at telling me how our users think about key topics. I’m also constantly performing Contextual Inquiry in order to expose how our users work and translate into consolidated work and user models. This stuff is just so vital to what we do, I can’t imagine designing without them.

Tell us more about your experiences. Were you behind the planning, or a receiver of somone elses study?

…used to be that id just got handed what the marketing dept gave them …half the time it was crap and the results were seldom reflected in the actual marketing of the product…in more recent times, i provide the marketing dept alot of interactive research materials and methods, so it is more user directed…while the research is now more insightful and meaningful to design, i find no real surprises in the results…so, you are constantly surprised by what you find in your research?

Surprised? Sometimes. Informed? Definitely.

Realize we’re designing systems that improve the way that clinicians work in hospitals. That means we have no “self-referential” intuition when designing a product or system for them. Even Subject-Matter Experts are of limited help since all hospitals work differently. Obviously in such a situtation, design-research is essential.

If you’re working in an industry where you have intuition as to what’s “good” then your use of design research should focus on the things you don’t have intuition for. For instance, when I worked in telecom (which employs a lot of mobile-saavy designers) our best research taught us about demographics that differed from our own.

Interesting topic. Just like mrd I’m quite skeptical about research. It’s not useless, but where does it stop? That’s where you need common sense. Don’t try to be smarter than “God”, humans are too complicated… The information you get out of a research will always be smaller than the information you get from living your life.

to me a lot of issues are really common sense.
The number of topics that really need research aren’t as
many as we think.

Many of the answers are found in nature.
But as funny human beings, a lot of us appear
to look for questions that aren’t really good questions
in the first place.

as for marketing, do you really think we need all the matrixes ?
sometimes all we need is the daily observation of what we really need.
The standard research methods are just a way of managing the findings.
It does help you to see issues in a perspective but I don’t think
it really aids in discovering what are the innate needs of customers.
Especially fresh new ideas.

astuteness with insight is a rare talent.

2 cents here.