Contextual inquiry is a user-centered research method inspired by anthropology. This is when the researcher gathers information in the context of something being done or being used.
Context and Why
In other words, the researcher observes the participant in their natural habitat, then asks follow-up questions to understand context and “why” things are being done the way they are.
Since the researcher is asking questions in the person’s natural environment, it is easier for them to reference things in their real world.
Information gathered during a contextual interview is generally much more accurate than an artificial lab set up.
Home or Work Place
In this environment, you are seeing how people really interact with things in their home or work place.
Remote Research Too
Contextual inquiry often requires the researcher to be physically in the participant’s environment. However, this UX research method can also be conducted remotely.
Learn about how to conduct a contextual inquiry remotely in our upcoming webinar with Deb Gelman from Bottle Rocket.