The field of design research has risen to incredible heights. Today it has become a profession in its own right, with experts in fields such as ethnography, user-experience, and marketing, but where is the place of the designer, the novice now in the world of research? How can individual designers feel more empowered to go into the field and talk to people? By identifying new ways for the researcher to simplify and enhance the documentation experience in the field, designers are better equipped to generate the meaningful insights that address the needs and challenges of today’s world.
In an effort to determine how the documentation of research can thus be improved to enable more effective observations, designers with little to no experience in design research were observed while performing contextual interviews. In addition, experts in design and ethnography were interviewed, in an effort to gain insight into the professional world of design research, specifically focusing on best practices and opportunity spaces. The insights gained from these field observations, interviews, and surveys were used to create a new tool for designers in the field. This exploration of the potential for a new tool is both physical and digital, seeking to create a discussion about how designers observe and document findings. Together they tell a story of the unique potential of the designer in the world of research.