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A Designer's Research Manual, 2nd edition, Updated and Expanded: Succeed in design by knowing your clients and understanding what they really need Paperback – July 1, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Publisher
Chapter 1: An Overview of Research in Graphic Design - Don’t Tell Me, Show Me
Most of us think of computers as something that revolutionized the last decades of the 20th century, but early computing was underway before World War II. Since the introduction of these machines, people have been looking for betters ways to interact with them.
In early configurations, computers were complex and cumbersome tools, used primarily by scientific, engineering, and military communities. The machines themselves were huge, and programmers dictated functions through physical punch cards. As advancements were made in scale and availability, command line interfaces streamlined the programming process, allowing for commands to be typed directly through a keyboard. Still, entering these lines of code required an understanding of programming languages alien to the uninitiated.
The digital world we experience today— touch screens at mass transit platforms and interactive devices in the hands of toddlers—would not have been possible if not for the practical application of a graphical user interface (GUI, sometimes referred to as ‘gooey’). GUI interfaces bring computer interaction to the masses, providing simple visualizations and easy analogy with the physical world.
One of the first interfaces of this kind was developed in the early 1970s at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (or PARC) for the experimental Alto computer. The team at Xerox knew that several factors were critical to widespread consumer adoption of personal computers, including availability and price. But the most crucial element was creating an interface that people actually understood.
Design was the key.
Chapter 2: Research Strategies +Tactics - Tactic: Contextual Inquiry
What is it?
When unstructured interviews are conducted in a location related to how a person will use a design piece, the process is called contextual inquiry. For example, if working on a new self-checkout interface, the researcher might conduct interviews at a grocery store, rather than bringing shoppers to a neutral setting, such as a conference room or lab.
Contextual inquiry requires the researcher/ observer to consider all the factors that might influence a person performing an activity, including things such as physical space, time-on-task, and other people or objects in the environment.
About the Author
Jenn and Ken Visocky O'Grady are authors, designers, and educators whose work has been featured in numerous books and creative industry publications.
Jenn is a professor at Cleveland State University, a public research university where for nearly two decades she has dedicated herself to providing access and opportunity to a diverse group of aspiring creatives. She has also served on the board of directors for AIGA, the professional association for design.
Ken is a professor and coordinator of the graduate program at the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. His coursework focuses on design thinking and research-driven design practices. He has served on the AIGA Design Educators Community (DEC) steering committee.
The couple have co-authored three internationally distributed books, Design Currency, The Information Design Handbook, and A Designers Research Manual, that strive to make academic concepts approachable while celebrating the power, impact, and potential of good design. They also present workshops and lectures at creative industry events, and are committed to promoting the value of design to external audiences.
You can learn more at visockyogrady.com