Generating Questions for Potential Users from Context Factors

Researchers have identified four categories of context factors that all designers should consider.  The How category describes the ways typical users will use the product.  The Where category describers the environment in which the product must perform.  The Who category describes the people in the  target market and the Market context describes the market conditions and the competition.  Table 1 below gives examples for each category.

Table 1. Examples of context factors for the four categories of context factors.

Generating Questions

in order to define the context for your product you will need to interview potential customers who are members of the target market. The two methods used to generate questions are brainstorming and comparing to a check list.  Design teams often spend time brainstorming questions that address each context category.  Then they consult a generic check list to identify areas the team may not have addressed.  One of the Microsoft Excel file below contains a generic check list of questions that is helpful that teams may modify to suit their project.  The other Excel file shows the method applied to the design of a pencil sharpener.

Generic Questions here; 366J Design Context – Template v3_0  be sure to look at first tab for the entire procedure.

Pencil Sharpener example here; pencil sharpener example.

Please study examples carefully for you attempt to apply the method to your own project.

To learn about who you need to find to answer these questions click here.

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