An approach to interviewing and observing people in their own environment
Contextual inquiry is a method of observation that involves studying people in their real-world environment and inquiring about their experiences.
Use this template to better understand not only what users say but also what actions they take in order to get a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the situation.
A contextual inquiry is a powerful tool for UX design research: A successful contextual inquiry requires a combination of active listening, thoughtful questioning, and careful observation to gain meaningful insights that can be applied to the design challenge.
The Mural contextual inquiry template offers a framework to define goals, interview users, and observe behavior in order to get an accurate overview of user experience in a given situation or scenario.
The first step is to clearly define the problem you’re trying to solve, as well as outline what it is you’re trying to learn.
The next step is to complete your pre-work. Use the ‘plan and prepare’ section of the template to think through each aspect of the investigation (who, where, what, etc.).
Once you’ve established the context, it’s time to brainstorm what questions you’ll want to ask the users participating in your inquiry. Gather your team and have them place their suggestions into the template using sticky notes — one question per sticky note helps keep things organized and prevent any repetitive suggestions.
Use the ‘Talking Points’ section of the template to help guide you through setting expectations for the participants in your inquiry. Think of this as a preamble and outline for your session.
Once you have all the above pieces in place, it’s time to delegate responsibility to team members who’ll conduct their interviews with participants. You’ll need to assign a primary interviewer, a and note-taker for each interview session.
Have your team conduct interviews and gather any and all observations from participants. To collect feedback, encourage them to use any form of media that suits — you can add images, GIFs, links, videos, drawings, and (of course) sticky notes to your observations in Mural.
After each interview, discuss and analyze the feedback you’ve collected. You can use tools like find & filter to group elements together, and organize the content into themes using tags for sticky notes, or color coding.
To get the most out of the Mural contextual inquiry template, you should: