Design thinking

The dynamics of design research

Anna Bäck

Our global footprint gives us a first-hand look at leading edge developments across the world. This perspective allows us to keep up with and anticipate change, whilst understanding how to uncover insights on a local level.

Conducting global projects over the past four decades for clients in various market areas has given us a unique perspective across fields including life science, food consumption, social media, home electronics, personal grooming and even trust in government.

This global background knowledge is invaluable when exploring a new challenge, as we can feed from previous learnings and analyze new observations within this rich global Market Segment understanding.

Research in Asia

Asking people what they think has value, but it doesn’t give us the experience necessary to uncover latent needs. Seeing the objects that people surround themselves with in China, for example, has helped us understand how brands are associated with quality. Observing the use of a sofa over time, or physically feeling the temperature in a home without central heating, has helped us deeply explore how the Chinese experience their home environment. Witnessing the high level of connectivity of a Shanghai respondent, as well as who purchases the latest gadgets in the house (it’s not the husband!) – these nuances would not have surfaced in a lab environment.

Being too close to something makes it hard to see the whole picture and to question what you are seeing. Like kids learning about the world, as foreigners it still feels natural for us to repeatedly and shamelessly ask why. We have fresh, but trained eyes that spot things that for a local sometimes would be too obvious to see. From respiratory equipment to digital services, food packaging to sofas, Veryday has extensive experience in researching in Asia, so we also have a good sense of what makes people tick and social nuances that might be hard to overcome at first. When a teenage girl talks to us about a brand in Europe, we know to contextualize it differently from what we would in China, where brands are much more linked with a perception of quality in a product. Design Research is after all not about establishing a general truth; it’s about finding cultural nuances to design for.

Veryday has a very responsive and agile approach towards research, which fitted the project we ran together with them perfectly.

Karin Marcovecchio, Lead User Experience Designer, Tetra Pak

Customized tools and methods

Design research is about understanding people. Since every individual is different, we need to be ready to think on our feet and adapt our methods to make the most out of each situation. Each project is unique and requires tailor-made research tools and methods that go beyond toolkits. A rich repertoire built over the years allows us to do just that. We draw on tried and tested techniques but we’re never shy about trying new methods, letting each situation guide our approach. Our carefully curated network of recruiters and interpreters is on board these ever-changing research methods, and they too have learned that in the field we follow the motto ‘over-prepare then go with the flow’.

 

User + Veryday + Client  

At Veryday, we like to work together with clients and encourage their participation in fieldwork as well as download and analysis sessions. This creates crucial buy-in from internal stakeholders since firsthand insights generate genuine end user advocates within the. There’s a massive gap between theoretical knowledge and truly understanding behaviors and needs. And as with many things in life, you sometimes just have to be there to really ‘get it’. Add to that the richness that comes from merging different perspectives and nothing beats a user + Veryday + client team effort when analyzing research observations and developing insights.

Doing research in China with Veryday gave us unique insights…very valuable when developing our new services.

Vanessa Folkesson, Sustainability Innovation Manager, IKEA

Experience Prototyping today

Design researchers are by nature a curious bunch, constantly developing new methods. Right now we are very excited about the potential of experience prototyping and the use of video to involve users in the capture and analysis of observations over time. From card sorting to hands-on storyboarding and role-play, we put different types of tools in the hands of users so that they can tell us their story in a more natural and engaging way. These stories usually uncover latent needs that would not normally surface during traditional verbal interviews. We are also developing ways to incorporate time-lapse video into our studies so we can observe what happens over time and identify patterns and flows that may otherwise be hard to spot. Giving respondents the ability to reflect back on actions over time is a powerful way of capturing behaviors that are usually too subtle to be recalled by memory alone.

 

Growing Research in Asia

Even though Chinas GDP growth slowed down to just 7,4%, the market is still changing fast. At the same time cultural behaviors and traditions are deeply rooted. With our growing practice in China, we are expanding our Asian research offer and we are excited to do research in new market areas, as well as revisiting old areas from the Asian perspective.  We hope to one day meet you in Shanghai!