Chapter 9. Other Sources of Information and Inspiration
The user research methods described in previous chapters are ideal for most circumstances because they provide detail about behaviors and attitudes in a relatively short time. No single method can do everything, however; you may have less time or be forced to work with data gathered by others, or you may have the luxury of supplementing your research with additional methods designed to get deeper or different information. There's room for creativity in research methods, as well as in design, as long as you're aware of any given method's limitations.
When You Have Less Time
Efficient as qualitative interviews are, even a week or two of research won't be the best way to deliver value when the product's ship date is just around the corner. If stakeholders see design or usability as something that gets spread on top instead of baked into the cake, you'll need to get the best information you can while still building some degree of consensus about the users and their needs. You'll also want to set expectations with stakeholders about the challenges of working with limited data.
When possible, try to squeeze in at least one or two days of user interviews. It's true that you risk getting unusual interview participants who could skew your thinking, but this is rare, and the risk is limited as long as you compare what you see to what you're ...