Restarting the loop


I feel like @hollyface1975 would have some good insights here:

Would love to hear people’s strategies for pivoting away from evaluative research and back to more generative research.


My path almost always includes using some sort of longitudinal metric, even if I have to go back to previous evaluative or summative work and find something that tracks over time, to demonstrate the value of looking at the big picture. Find something that seems to be pointing at a group think behavior, a trend in the industry you’re in, or a fundamental change in the way people interact with your stuff and explore that. It almost always will require that up-front work that generates understanding of people and how they feel about your product instead of just how they feel about “running the maze” of using your product. You always have the ability to step back and look at the big picture of your evaluative work and see that people get hung up over and over doing something similar - a lot of times it’s up to you to come back to the table with some strong secondary evidence supported by that evaluative work you do and fight for the time to understand WHY people get hung up instead of just continuing to provide them with an A/B solution of maze options.

It’s about good record keeping in project (evaluative) research, and noting the “that’s funny…” items in a separate place. I have a column in my Trello for my “Remember This Weird Thing” moments.


I am sad this topic didn’t take off @ryan . This is where the meat of research happens I think, where relationships come to each other naturally and you discover new insights with fresh eyes.


Yea, same. I’m in the process right now of shifting back into generative research work and it’s pretty exciting but also it brings back the very squishy ambiguity of the design process. It’s interesting that you like to incorporate some kind of longitudinal thing. Do you think that’s because the beginning of the loop normally call for that kind of strategic (re)assessment and sense of the what-the-heck-are-we-doing-again?


In some ways, the opposite. Its to not ever lose the “what the heck are we doing” part. To keep a tab on that in at least some passive way that I can find when direction pivots around something else like a release schedule or a tech failure, or reprioritization. It also makes anything easier to pick back up and incorporate in new work if it had to be set aside for a while because you have a tie to a longitudinal lens and discovery’s place in that vision.