How to Use Contextual Inquiry for Product Research

Contextual Inquiry is a qualitative research method that you can use to learn about your target customers and understand their behavior in the context of their environment. Contextual Inquiry also helps you explore how they use products or what solutions they need to solve a problem. Contextual Inquiry is perfect for early product research and understanding customer needs.

You can also use it to understand better how customers are using your product and what improvements they would like to see. Contextual Inquiry is an excellent complement to other research methods because it allows you to understand users in their natural environment better. Contextual Inquiry can be done face-to-face or remotely, depending on your needs. It can be an excellent tool for product managers and researchers because it's an easy and inexpensive because it only requires microsurveys.

How To Use Contextual Inquiry for Product Research

There are a few simple steps to using Contextual Inquiry:

  • • Identify your target customer and research questions
  • • Create microsurvey questions
  • • Conduct your research
  • • Analyze and report your findings

Let's take a closer look at each of these steps.


Identify your target customer and research question

The first step is to identify your target customer. Contextual Inquiry is most effective when targeting a specific customer segment or group. You'll also need to identify the research question you want to answer. This could be anything from understanding how customers use your product to exploring a specific problem they're trying to solve.


Create microsurvey questions

Once you know who you're targeting and what you want to learn about them, it's time to create your microsurvey questions. Contextual Inquiry surveys and interviews are very different from traditional research methods. Contextual Inquiry surveys are microsurveys, they should only take a few seconds to answer. Contextual Inquiry microsurveys are quick, easy ways to understand your customers better. They can be used for product research questions, like understanding how your customers are using a product or what problems they're trying to solve. Contextual Inquiry microsurveys can also understand how customers are using your competitor's products or competing solutions.


Conduct your research by launching the in-product microsurvey

Once you've developed your Contextual Inquiry survey or interview questions, it's time to start researching! Remote research is straightforward with Contextual Inquiry, and you can conduct interviews and surveys anywhere in the world. Contextual Inquiry is very inexpensive, but it can provide invaluable insights into customer behavior and needs to inform future product development decisions.

These in-product microsurveys can be used to understand if users are performing a task you expect them to do or exploring other paths. Contextual Inquiry surveys and interviews let you 'talk' with your customers wherever they are within your product.


Analyze and report your findings

The final step is to analyze and report your findings. Contextual Inquiry provides a deep understanding of customer behavior that can help you better understand how they use your products or what problems they're trying to solve. Contextual Inquiry can complement other research methods, but it's also great for standalone research. Contextual Inquiry can help you better understand your customers and improve your products.

In conclusion, Contextual Inquiry is a great way to learn about your customers and better understand their behavior. Contextual Inquiry can help you solve research questions, including understanding how your customers are using a product and what problems they're trying to solve.


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