Design research is a human-centred approach to research that uncovers insights about who your users are, the problems they are facing, and how they may interact with a product or service. This immersive approach aims to build researchers’ depth of understanding of user needs, goals and mental models, all in order to develop actionable insights and test out specific intervention ideas in the context in which they will be applied. A deeper appreciation for how participants experience a particular challenge allows interdisciplinary teams to set aside their own assumptions and gain real insight into user behaviors and their unmet needs. Design research outputs often allow researchers to follow their creative instincts towards emergent design solutions, rather than producing thick data-driven descriptions or scientific knowledge generation. Design research is typically used in the first stage of a longer series of activities that apply designers’ skillset and toolkit in iterative rounds of prototype development, user testing and refinement. All of these deploy qualitative research to continually gather user feedback to improve a product, service, strategy or change initiative.
This approach is especially useful to reframe existing or generate actionable design opportunities through empathetic, flexible and iterative research into unmet user needs.
Reframe challenges and translate them into actionable insights and opportunities from the users’ perspectives.
Design, implementation and evaluation
Inform the development and testing of various hypotheses for intervention design.
Seek user perspectives on intervention implementation
Adoption & scale
Inform how an intervention may need to be adapted for a new context, market, or target user group.
Pathways is an innovative interdisciplinary project to deepen the understanding of the social and environmental factors that can predict health risks and influence healthcare seeking and service uptake-related behaviors of especially vulnerable women and their children under 5 years of age.