Erin Muntzert on Beyond the Map


Erin Muntzert from Google spoke about how they utilize both qualitative and quantitative data to drive design research fieldwork. She articulated five principles to build support for design research in an engineering-driven organization.

She framed data analysis as a designer’s homework; it helps to formulate hypotheses than can be investigated during field research. I’ve seen it work the other way too; where qualitative hypotheses can be investigated via quantitative metrics.

Five principles for Design Research:

  1. Data-driven Decisions
  2. Influencer Participation
  3. Preciousness of Time
  4. Collaborative Recommendations
  5. Meaningful Impact

Her advice about integrating stakeholders into the design research process resonated with my experience. Field research can be as much about building empathy as gaining insights. This has both short and long-term impacts on those involved in the process.

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