Jump to main content

Activity 3: Discover Needs

This is the point at which you put your planning into action and go out to work with users. You are immersing yourself in other people’s lives and aiming to understand their problems, needs, desires and aspirations.

There are many techniques that you can use in this activity to get closer to your users and meaningfully engage with them. Although you are looking to capture insights, do not treat people like test subjects. Ensure that your users are seen as valued contributors and are respected. The insights you gather will be a platform for inspiration in the next activity.

Lærer snakker til studenten


  • Scheduling: Contact your users and arrange to meet. Make sure you are fully prepared, that the users have signed consent forms where necessary and your activities with them are fully explained.
  • Going and doing: Conducting the user visits and research. Techniques might include questionnaires, web forums, observation (both natural and controlled), interviews, research kits and workshops 
  • Research focus: Keep the primary question in mind but also allow yourself to look beyond it. For instance, gathering information on the context can reveal hidden information that is relevant to the research focus.
  • Tune method: Do not be afraid to change your plan or review the primary question. If you are not finding out the information you need or if new exciting directions are opening up, modify your plan to suit. Build on each experience.


Completing this activity should produce large amounts of data containing rich insights and qualitative information from the people you have worked with. You need to capture and store this in an organised way for later access and analysis. Do not be overwhelmed at this point by the amount of user data that you might have gathered.