Self reporting techniques, such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups have long been used by marketing reps for collecting customer data, for good reason. They provide excellent information on demographics and user reaction to a new technology. But this information is not necessarily helpful in all circumstances. For example, they are often misused when undertaking User-Centred Design (UCD).
Good design should empower users to succeed at their key tasks. A designer’s job, therefore, is to predict the future use of the product, which should include some kind of user research to be successful. Unfortunately, many UCD practitioners mistakenly apply self-reporting techniques without realising that surveys are an ineffective design tool. They can lead to excellent systems that do entirely the wrong thing. Instead, user observations are the key for designers. They are as effective at identifying design data as surveys are at collecting demographic data. Read more »