"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new." - Steve Jobs
“We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” - Dr. Prabhjot Singh
Design research concerns itself with developing insights and inspirations to strategically inform a design and innovation process and uses qualitative research methods.
Design research is rooted in the discipline of design studies and methods, where the creative processes of designers are studied and articulated for replication. Over the years, as user-centered design became a central driving force of innovation, design research has come to encompass all the methods used to gather data from various sources to define a product or a system’s requirement. It helps us to narrow down and pin point more accurately issues and problems that may not be apparent at the superficial level, and also helps us to uncover the ‘real’ problem or requirement. It helps us to understand all the stakeholders, from users and customers to producers and sellers, within the system and all the factors that influence and govern them.
Design Research helps us to define the requirements so that the product or system solves a key, crucial problem, in a novel and innovative manner, offering value to the end-user and other stakeholders too. Design researchers borrow methods from anthropology & ethnography, strategic thinking, and market research to gather information from various stakeholders and synthesize the data into actionable insights and requirements for the design and innovation team.
As Srishti, design research is considered as a practice that is driven by the ability to empathize. Design researchers are seen as people who bring in empathy for the end-users into the design & innovation process, which then becomes a key, and unique differentiating factor. Design research at Srishti is practiced not only as a way to understand end-user needs and desires through conducting primary research in the field, but also as way to understand the broader market perspective and technological emergences through secondary research methods.
Elements of Design Research
Design researchers understand trends, such as demographic, socio-cultural, technological and market by utilizing secondary research methods such as online research.
Understanding end-user and stakeholders
Design researchers go out in the field, meeting real people doing real things, observing, talking and doing things with the people to understand their latent needs and desires, gaps and opportunities for design.
Synthesizing varied data into actionable insights
Design researchers employ various tools such as affinity diagrams, video analysis, discourse analysis, etc. to find patterns across the various secondary and primary research data.
Design researchers use exceptional visual communication and design skills to communicate the insights from the research so that the designers can start the design process. The communication could be in the form of personas, video stories, documentaries, etc.