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User Research Methods: Distinctive Need Expressions from an In-depth Interview and a Generative Method

Hye-sun Hwang , Kee-Ok Kim

The purpose of this study is to explore the differences of two user research methods. It compares traditional in-depth interview to human-centered generative tools. The former is based on what people say and think and the latter is based on what people make and create. The research theme was housewives? needs for their kitchens. Two groups of five housewives in their 30s participated in the study. The differences of the two methods were analyzed by comparing the results in terms of quantity and quality of the needs. The in-depth interview produces relatively more detailed experienced problems and negative feelings in users? specific contexts than the generative tools. Conversely, the generative method produces relatively more future-oriented ideas by revealing wishes and dreams. Consequently, it tends to produce more positive feelings about the research theme. The results imply that the in-depth interview is a desirable method when designers have little information about the design problem. In contrast, applying generative tools will be more effective when designers need to get design insights from users. It is suggested that the two methods are complementary, rather than alternative, for understanding multi- levels of users? needs more clearly and for obtaining practical design insights. Keywords: user research method, in-depth interview, generative tools, user needs


user research method, in-depth interview, generative tools, user needs