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3 Potent Generative Research Methods

3 Potent Generative Research Methods


Discovery Interview

A Discovery interview is a personal 1-on-1 interview where the researcher asks the user questions about their preferences, requirements, and behaviors.

Conducting a discovery interview

Typically, researchers will create a list of 5-10 questions for participants to get the most out of the experience. These questions should ideally focus on one particular product feature, problem, or use case.

Here are some ideas of questions to ask participants:

  • What do you think is the most critical feature of our product?
  • What is it you like and dislike about our current product design?
  • What would you most like to see in a new version?
  • Are there any UI elements you feel are missing?

The best thing about discovery interviews is that researchers get to ask very pointed questions and can control the direction of the conversation.

Photo Collage

A photo collage is a generative research method where the researcher gathers user responses to provide the context and story behind a particular interaction.

How to conduct a generative photo collage

A generative research photo collage involves participants gathering images and text from magazines, the internet, and physical items representing their emotions and experiences with a product.

The participants then use what they’ve collected to create a collage. Once the collage is finished, participants explain their thinking and reasoning for selecting the assembled items. Researchers should ensure they ask enough follow-up questions to fully understand the “why” and the context surrounding their choices. Researchers can innovate and create better products by analyzing the insights from a photo collage study.

Digital Ethnography

Once all the data is collected, researchers review all of the videos, images, and text to uncover patterns that developed organically in the responses and behaviors of users. The goal is to discover themes that lead to opportunities or the unearthing of issues.

In Summary

Generative research methods are most valuable when beginning the product design process, but they can be conducted at any point in a product’s lifecycle. Once researchers gather generative insights, they can spot hidden problems and solutions that hadn’t surfaced in previous research. By leveraging generative methods, researchers can craft and iterate on products to improve the experiences consumers have with their brands.