Instead of relying on a verbal recount of experience, ask users to show you how they use a product or service. What people say they do is often quite different than what they do.
Observing users in action will help you understand the spectrum of experiences users can have with the same product or service.
Surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups don’t tell you what you need to know. Prompting users to show instead of tell often reveals what others have missed.
We conducted contextual inquiry in three divisions tasked with monitoring patient labs and discovered shared pain points.
We also observed a wide variety of workarounds in use, which provided insight into how our solution should function and revealed new opportunities. For example, we learned that some providers scheduled frequent follow-ups for the sole purpose of ensuring lab completion - a costly workaround that could be discontinued if our solution worked.
As we developed the HiRPM platform, we frequently put simple paper prototypes in front of our intended users to understand if and how they would use it.
This process helped us test new features, identify confusing interface elements, and de-risk assumptions quickly and at low cost.