In our approach to human-centered design, we seek to involve users throughout the design process so that we can continuously learn from them, not just consult them at the end. We said in the introduction, we want to design with users, not for them. When we're conducting research, it's also important how we approach understanding users. If we simply ask people what they want, they will usually give you a blank stare. Either they don't know or they couldn't imagine what the possibilities could be. In this video we'll share with you four different methods for how we can dig below the surface to establish empathy and uncover our user needs, motivations, and pain points. Learning directly from the people we're designing for is core to human-centered design. Through interviews and observations we seek to better understand the whole person as well as the contexts in which they live. In empathy based research we also aim for depth over breadth. One particularly interesting conversation and observation is often more valuable than a 100 shallow ones. There are countless different ways that we can build empathy for our users and stakeholders. Some of the key methods include co-creation, observation, design probes, and interviews. Let's dig into each one. In course 2 of the Gender Analytics Specialization, Chanel Grenaway talked to you about participatory research. Co-creation workshops are a great example of a participatory research method that actively involves users, stakeholders, and other influencers so that they can share, learn from each other, and generate concepts together. By bringing together people with different identities, perspectives, and backgrounds, including race, religion, and sexual orientation, you are creating the conditions to surface wholistic insights that will help you effectively approach problems. Another popular research method in human-centered design is observation. Observing people in their work or home allows us to access tacit knowledge, knowledge that is taken for granted by the individual and rarely articulated. We can observe things like, how do people move throughout a space? How do they organize materials? How do they fill time when they're waiting? What do they do that they might not even realize that they do? We can learn a lot from users unconscious behaviors through observation, as well as gain a deeper understanding into the environmental context in which solutions will need to be implemented. Design probes are another research technique where participants can self-report their behaviors, attitudes, and experiences over a period of time. It's a great way to capture how someone is thinking or feeling in real time, which can lead to more novel responses. Types of design probes range from activity journals, where people write down answers to specific prompts that you've provided, digital activities where you can ask participants to record responses to questions you send via text, voice recording, or e-mail, or templated activities of questions or prompts that you can send out to participants for them to complete and return. Finally, interviews. This is a common research technique in our work. We conduct interviews to gain a deeper understanding of what our users and stakeholders are thinking, feeling, and saying in order to understand the broader context of our challenge. These can be one on one or with a range of stakeholders. To get meaningful insights we often ask different kinds of questions. In general, we find it helpful to ask open ended questions rather than closed ended questions to get a richer view into the experience of the person we're interviewing. Let's do a little experiment and compare traditional open ended question with techniques we might use in empathy-based research. Imagine our challenge was how might we help people feel safer when riding public transit? In a traditional interview, if I was the interviewer I might ask you something like, what would make you feel safer when riding public transit? Pause this video to write down your responses. I imagine some of you captured sentiments like good signage, frequent cleaning, some confirmation of the sanitization practices, perhaps mandatory masks. Most likely a lot of responses had to do with COVID since that's top of mind for many folks right now and the easiest thing to recall. Now let's explore a few techniques that we use in empathy-based interviews. The first is the 5 whys, a method where you follow up your interviewees response with the question why. Not just once, but several or five times to get a deeper understanding of their experience, feelings, and needs. It's not meant to feel combative or judgemental, so you can play with different ways of asking why, but you're trying to dig below the surface to uncover latent needs. Show me is a technique that asks your interviewee to go beyond explaining something, to showing you. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of how your interviewee approaches the world and can highlight a difference in what they say they do versus what they actually do. Also called the say do gap. For example, if you were responsible for designing a particular form and you wanted to understand how people fill it out, you could ask people to tell you, or you could sit alongside them and ask them to show you how they fill up their paperwork. What you observe might be quite different from what they say they do. Perhaps they jump around or they have to reread certain sections to make sure they properly understood the directions. Tell me a story, this technique invites participants to share specific moments or experiences that were particularly meaningful or memorable to them. Often through the retelling of these stories, the interviewee may share details that seemed inconsequential, but actually are quite important. This can provide the researcher with a richer understanding of the user's experience or perspective. Let's try it out. Again, imagine I'm interviewing you about your experience taking public transit and I ask you, tell me a story about a time you didn't feel safe on public transit. Take a minute to write down your response. Now, how is that different from the first question? When we've asked this question in the past, we've received responses like, anytime I take the subway alone late at night, I have a general uneasiness especially if I'm the only woman around. You have to be paying attention at all times. Last time I was in the train station it was so packed I thought I might get pushed onto the tracks. There are so many people and so many germs, those pools are COVID breeding grounds. The last time I was in the bus, the driver brakes suddenly and I fell and broke my pelvis in two spots. You can see how these responses are more contextual. When people share a lived experience, there's a lot more richness than an imagined one. From this, you can start to pull apart what safety on transit means to people, and identify themes that are more nuanced, that have to do with physical safety, feelings of anxiety, infrastructure concerns, and of course, health and wellness. Now that you have a sense of several kinds of research methods, in our next video we'll explore whose stories you should be documenting, how to seek out the silent voices, and other considerations when conducting design research.