Contextual Inquiry

Posted in: Usability Methods- Mar 30, 2011 No Comments

Contextual inquiry is basically a structured field interviewing method, based on a few core principles that differentiate this method from plain, journalistic interviewing. Contextual inquiry is more a discovery process than an evaluative process; more like learning than testing.

When should I use this technique?

Contextual inquiry is one of the best methods to use when you really need to understand the users’ work context. Many times, the environment in which people work really influences how people use a product.

This technique is best used in the early stages of development, since a lot of the information you’ll get is subjective–how people feel about their jobs, how work or information flows through the organization, etc.

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