In this first part of a short series on participatory design methods I write about usability tests. The tests help me prove if my solutions for important details in my artefacts work or if I have to "go back to the drawing board". There are an enormous amount of persons who know more then I do about the things I design.
Interviews help me understand the life and desire of those that will use the artefacts that I help design. "How do persons decide/negotiate which channel to watch?"
In a guided exploration I let a person immerse themselves in a system. I ask them to accomplish tasks that touch on points in the artefact that we want to validate. During the hour-long session I can find a lot of pain points in the artefact I help design. I can validate full use cases.
A longitudinal study with up to 100 participants has the potential to combine the best of quantitative and qualitative metjods. A bonus: no need to constantly find new "test subjects". "Is the service valuable over time?"
As the final part of my short series about participatory design I have created a comparison table to help you chose the best method for the current phase of your project. A table of pro's and con's.