Contextual Inquiry on the Cheap

I thought I’d share the interview outline I’ve been using to conduct some low effort contextual inquiry sessions with ADS users.

thumbnail links to google doc

Classic contextual inquiry, in which the researcher sits with or shadows a person in the context of the subject’s own working environment, is often conducted in 3+ hour sessions, frequently with all manner of video capturing equipment. My goal is cut that time down to 30 minutes, partly because this whole user research thing is supposed to be a part-time endeavor, and also because the majority of ADS users are PhD’s, and we all know just how valuable their time is.

So far I’ve only managed to conduct four of these interviews (with two more scheduled). Would love to get a total of 10. Since I don’t have access to video equipment I simply mash out typewritten, poorly spelled notes as fast I can. The notes have a stream of consciousness flavor, but the early indications are that the information gathered will be valuable.

Example notes:

refers to bibcode as "indexing thing". "not any use to me."
wrote a perl script that rewrites the bibcode into something understandabl
other strategies for searching for particular star: entering star name into abstract search or title search.
finds one article using abstract search.
mentions that he doesn't know boolean sytnax by memory
to find more tries going to simbad and finds alternate names for the star
Written on December 31, 2009