Lens: Type:

A need for design has not been established. What innovation is needed that’s not already there? Where are pain points and opportunities?

a busy rail station with lots of people

People’s behaviors are influenced by their makeup and factors in the contexts they inhabit. Settings like a noisy, crowded house party are more comfortable for some people than they are others. People who are not familiar with screen-based technologies like ordering kiosks at restaurants can stumble through the ordering process or may choose to avoid the restaurant altogether. When designers research people in different contexts, they can learn about people’s needs, values, and preferences. Discoveries made through research can convert to design innovation—relevant and meaningful products, services, and systems that align with people from diverse backgrounds.

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Designing Based on Research for Discoveries

Discoveries that pave the way for new and novel design outcomes emerge when designers research people in context. Here are a few discovery-design decision pairings that demonstrate this concept.

Chat Room Observations


Discovery: Everyone in the chat room is very friendly—always greeting each other with kind words and carrying on a boisterous conversation. Most activity takes place in the morning hours.

Design Idea: Maybe we could design virtual stickers for the room to enhance the morning chat—coffee-themed, perhaps?

Voting for Elections

Available Resources

Discovery: Voters regularly complain that long voting lines are the worst part of the experience.

Design Idea: Design a way to time-shift voting using an online time-slot reservation system.

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