Discover stage

The Discover stage will help you to understand what people need and want. To do this, you can use the following methods:

User Diary, Day in the Life, User Shadowing, Video Ethnography and Bodymapping to gather a lot of information about service users,

Extra resource

Design Council, The design Process, assess at http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/aetoolkit/why-design/the-design-process/

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Before collecting stories make sure that your equipment is working (e.g. check that the dictaphone is sensitive enough to pick up voices and that your batteries are charged or you have spares). Try to start with an easy introductory question to ease the storyteller into the interview, for example ‘Have you travelled far?’ Ask the […]

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This group activity is usually conducted following Story sharing* with the people who shared their stories (service users and other stakeholders). Write all the important stages or touchpoints when someone uses a service across the top of a long sheet of paper. You may have this information if you have already created a System map […]

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In role playing, different stakeholders can be involved such us doctors, nurses and patients, to simulate the environment, activities and roles involved, for example, role playing an operating theatre scenario (see above). Each member of the team is allocated a specific role, behaving in the situation according to role assumed. In this way the team […]

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This workshop replicates and accelerates the front-end stages of a typical design development process. It can be tailored to the specific aims of its organisers through the framing of the brief and the selection of participants.  The workshop’s participants may be designers, medical workers, people from other disciplines, such as engineers and specialists in the […]

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This activity enables design teams to analyse tasks and gain deeper insights through repeated viewing. It involves observing and filming service users and/or people involved in the service. It allows you to view the video recorded material and reflexively discuss it.  

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This design activity provides a space for users to engage with the creative process and it could be used throughout the duration of a project. The activity does not require a trained moderator and can therefore be medical worker-led, extending the boundaries of the traditional focus group format. User forums can be used to explore […]

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A list of questions could be posted or emailed to people to capture their responses to a range of subjects or issues. This method can provide both qualitative and quantitative information to enable a comparison of responses. Questionnaires should be as visually clear and inviting as possible. Generally, there are three types of questions: open […]

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Steps are agreed with users and/or those familiar with the process and mapped out. There are many process analysis tools – Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is particularly well suited to support design development – FMEA is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, a […]

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This design activity may need to be repeated over several days in order to gather a balanced perspective. Mapping a ‘Day in the Life’ graphically illustrates how time is assigned to various activities. For example, people could be interviewed and observed going about their daily routines. They can be asked to respond to a series […]

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Carrying out a few observations around the edge of a user group can be highly effective. With empathetic research you may closely observe some extreme users and gain lots of interesting insights which will inspire your service designs. The designer uses a simulation device to gain first-hand insights into particular impairments or disabilities; for example, […]

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The graph is built through the observation of the service from a specific point of view that becomes the centre of the whole representation; for example, if the selected subject is the user, the graph will show all the actors starting from their relations with it. The Actors map supports the visualisation of communities, helping […]

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The map combines together text and pictograms in an effective visual representation: the use of colours, the different sizes of the objects and the way in which they are related inside the space of the visualization helps the “reading” of  the graph and the understanding of the entire system. The tool is based on a […]

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Using anonymous “bodymaps” makes it safer and easier for people to contribute. On large sheets of paper draw outlines of a person (around a volunteer, if the paper is big enough) and stick these to the wall, table or floor. Participants then explain what bothers them about living with a condition to the facilitator, who […]

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On a big sheet of paper draw 5 concentric circles starting with the smallest in the middle of the paper and finishing with the largest one nearest the edge of the paper. Put the ‘subject’ of your study inside the smallest circle then, working outwards, indicate how often communications occur e.g. rarely, monthly, weekly or […]

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