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这一次我带着强烈的私心,来到了设计调研专家石之慧在上海的家来做客兼采访。私心是因为我对设计调研的工作着迷 - 从调研中取得有用的洞察来帮助改变人们的生活。在这个“用户体验”当道的年代,你怎能不对设计调研产生好奇?

This time I came to visit the design research expert Zhihui Shi’s home in Shanghai with extra excitement. Extra excitement is because I am really fascinated by design research and I know how much fun it is to be a nerdy researcher to find out insights that can help making impact on people’s life.

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之慧曾在英国和香港留学,回国后一直在上海工作,现在就职于一家跨国的老牌设计咨询公司齐思设计TEAMS Design。作为一名资深设计研究员,她已带领着团队为多个世界500强企业提供过设计研究咨询,包括 Microsoft, ThyssenKrupp, Bosch, Siemens, BMW, Intel, Samsung, BP, Dell 等。在以用户为中心的创新设计中都需要从最初的调研着手,通过发掘真正问题的所在来找出商业机会与设计方向。

在国内,许多企业在近几年才刚刚意识到设计的重要性,越来越多的公司开始改革将产品创新摆在了核心的位置。“用户体验”这四个字大家耳熟能详,但少数人能真正懂得如何用到实处,许多设计师也是如此,容易陷入用自己的主观判断来做设计,缺少了同理心。在这个人人都想创新的时代,如何来发掘用户的潜在需求是一门学问。之慧希望将来能够通过自己积累的知识与经验,帮助更多国内的初创企业设计开发出高质量的产品或服务。

设计调研通常是采用定性研究的方法来执行的。经常需要去各种用户家里做深度家访的之慧,这一次角色转换,由我来去她的家里做一次家访,来发掘她生活中的点滴。

After finished her study in UK and Hongkong, Zhihui came back to work in Shanghai, and she is currently working at a global design consultancy TEAMS Design. As a senior design researcher, she has led a team and collaborated with a lot of Fortune 500 companies for research and strategy consulting, including Microsoft, ThyssenKrupp, Bosch, Siemens, BMW, Intel, Samsung, BP, Dell and so on. User centred innovation design is all starting with research, in order to discover the real problem and ask the right question to trigger new business opportunities and design direction.

In China, many companies are just waking up to realise the importance of design until the recent years, and they’re starting to reform the business structure by putting design innovation into the core position. “User Experience” is what people say they know, but only a few really have the knowhow to make it work well. As for some designers themselves, it is easy to take a subjective view when doing design and lacking of empathy. Innovation is such a hot topic in town, how to dig out the potential user needs is an art. Zhihui hopes that she can apply her knowledges and experiences in helping the local startups to create high quality products and services in the future.

Design research is usually taken by qualitative research methods. Zhihui often does home visit for user research, but this time around, it is my turn to do the home visit on her to find out more about her life.

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Q1: 一天之中你最喜欢哪个时刻?

Z: 我喜欢一天中忙得全情投入而忘记时间的时刻,无论是工作或者业余爱好,因为这样的时光总让我觉得很有满足感。

Q1: What is the best moment of the day for you?

Z: I like the moment of the day when you put all your attention in something and you totally forget about the time passing, either with work or a hobby. Because the moments like this make me feel fulfilled.

Q2: 是什么让你想成为一名研究人员的?你经过了怎样的历程?

Z: 其实我更愿意介绍自己是做产品创新或者产品设计的,而研究正是这个过程中不可或缺的部分。如果脱离设计讲,研究的范畴太大了也少了份灵性。我的专业背景是产品设计,在大学的将近6年时间里,我和其他所有设计系的学生坐在同一个课堂上。坦白地说,我并没有觉得自己特别有设计天赋,但是我也认识到自己比大部分同学有更强的逻辑思考能力和分析能力。同时也是在研究生时候很幸运地获得了一次实习的机会,便一发不可收拾,爱上了这份工作。

我觉得入行不难,但如果要对一个行业保持长期的热情却并不容易。但对于我来说,做设计研究就有这样的魔力。我觉得研究就是一种思维方式、也可以是一种生活态度:那就是,为心中的疑问寻找答案。 久而久之,你看待事物的方式就会发生变化,着眼多个层面和不同深度而非停留于表面。

Q2: What made you want to become a researcher? What path did you go through?

Z: Actually I prefer to introduce myself as working in the field of product innovation / design, research is an indispensable part during the process. Without the design context, the sphere of research is way too wide, and lack of a sense of aspiration. My background is in industrial design, during my 6 years university education, I studied with other design students together. Frankly speaking, I didn’t think I was very talented in design, but at the same time I found myself have better strength in logical thinking and analysis than other peers. After I luckily got offered a design research internship opportunity when doing my master degree, I just fell in love with what I do and kept rolling.

I think it is not difficult to enter a profession, but it’s hard to stay in passion for it. But for me, design research has such magic. I think research is a way of thinking, and it might be an attitude towards life: that is, keep searching for an answer to the question in your mind. Over a period of time, the way you look at things will change, you will start to scan through multiple layers and different depths rather than only stay on the surface.

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Q3: 儿时的梦想是什么,是否和设计相关?现在的梦想是什么呢?

Z: 儿时的梦想是做舞蹈家,到现在也是。我小时候挺害羞的一个女孩儿,我觉得舞蹈这个东西太奇妙了,可以代替人说话而且是最心底的话。但后来我觉得喜欢的东西也不一定要当成工作或者是要得到别人对你的认可才行,我更愿意把舞蹈当成很私人的东西,只和自己或者身边最亲近的人分享。那个时候还不知道有设计这样的行业,但我觉得两者都和艺术相关。

Q3: What was your childhood dream, was it design related? What about now?

Z: My childhood dream was becoming an dancer, same as now. I was super shy when I was little, and I thought dancing was so magical that could speak for you from the bottom of your heart. But later I felt that you don’t have to make what you like to be your career or get approval from others. I rather keep dancing in a personal level, and only share it with myself or my close friends/families. Back then I didn’t know anything about design industry, but I thought dance and design were both art related.

Q4: 很多公司都会做很全面的市场调研,为了其商业,产品或服务上的发展,但他们可能对设计调研并不是十分熟悉。在你看来,设计调研与市场调研有什么区别?他们是否有重叠的地方或着完全不同?

Z: 市场调研可能存在于所有和商业相关的活动中,根据不同的商业目的而涉及到不同的调研方式和内容,调研的对象除了用户,往往还有企事业单位和行业环境,同时也少不了定量数据的采集。设计调研涉及的调研规模通常较小,很少涉及定量数据的采集,调研对象主要是典型用户。

就用户这块而言,市调是偏重于了解用户的喜好和态度,关注的是对产品的市场定位;而设计研究是着眼于用户潜在的需求和行为背后的动机,往往关注的是产品使用的体验。很多时候,市调是设计研究的基础,为产品发展确立大的轮廓和方向。

用户体验是设计调研中最为关键的内容。除此之外,“设计调研”还会考察相关的领域,如科技、市场竞争、其他利益相关者、设计趋势等等。

Q4: A lot of companies will do comprehensive market research for their business, product or service development, but they may not familiar with design research. What are your thoughts on design research vs market research? Are they overlapping to each other or completely different?

Z: Market research can exist in any business related activities, but involves various research methods and content, depending on different business scopes. Research target is not only about user, but also include the corporate background and industry environment, and quantitative data collection is a must. The scale of design research is normally smaller, not likely to involve quantitative research, and the research target is mainly on the typical users.

Talking about user, market research is emphasising on understanding user’s preferences and attitudes, focusing on product’s market position; but design research is to identify user’s potential needs and behaviours, focusing on the product user experience. Most of the time, market research is the foundation of design research, by setting a big picture and direction for product development.

User experience research is the most critical part of design research, in addition, it also involves investigation of related areas, such as science and technology, market competition, other stakeholders, design trends and so on.

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Q5: 你的调研工作涉及到了很多不同的领域范畴,你是如何来调整每一次不同的项目的,以及你会遵循怎样的工作流程?

Z: 如果遇到比较新的调研领域,那一定要先花时间给自己和团队扫盲,不至于在开会时把客户当成百科全书。和客户面对面的时候,你自始至终是一个专家的角色,一定要对自己有这样的要求。

然后再根据问题本身和项目的实际情况对项目的范畴和方式方法进行设计,同时和客户和设计团队的充分沟通 。研究的执行之前,还要有一个充分的准备工作,包括调研对象的招募和调研材料的撰写。执行(数据采集)的时间往往是几天到几个星期不等。之后的部分就是反复的整理、讨论、总结和综合,得出研究结论。研究的工作往往会和之后的设计有交集,也是一个反复迭代的过程。

Q5: Your research work involves a diverse range of industries, how do you adapt to each one, and what process do you follow?

Z: If encountering a new research area, I will certainly spend some time to get my head around it with my team, and avoid to turn the client into Wikipedia during the meeting. When facing the client, you have to always maintain in an expert role, you have to set the requirement to yourself like this.

Based on the problem and the project’s actual situation, I will define the project scope and research methodology, at the same time communicate with the client and design team sufficiently.

Before conducting research, need to have a full preparation, including research target recruitment and research material composing. Execution (data collecting) time varies from a few days up to a few weeks. Following with iterative steps of data sorting, discussion, summary, synthesis, and then finally draw conclusions. The research work is overlapping with design phase, it is also an iterative process.

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Q6: 你觉得在一个调研项目中最重要的一个阶段/环节是什么?

Z: 研究的执行。每个访问的机会只有一次,不能重来。必须把握好每一个提问的关键时刻;而且要能够在现场随机应变,因为很多关键的洞察是在当时被意外发现并需要被深入发掘的。

Q6: What is the most important stage during a research project?

Z: Research execution. Because every interview only have one chance and not redo-able. You must grasp the key moments for asking each question; also be resourceful on site according to circumstances, because many of the key insights are discovered by accident and need to be further excavated.

Q7: 对于如何从调研中得到有用的洞察,你有什么实用的小建议?

Z: 留意到连用户自己都没有意识到的行为规律,如一些小动作或者是一些习惯性的误操作。不通过访谈而得到的洞察往往是藏得最深的机会可能。

Q7: Do you have any tips to share on how to gain insights from research?

Z: Discover the behaviour pattern that the users themselves don’t even realise they have, for example, some small gesture or habitual mis-operation. The insights that are not obtained from the interview often hide the deepest possible opportunities.

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Q8: 和大家分享一下你做过的调研中最有趣的一次经历。

Z: 那是几年前我第一次去印度,做关于电动工具的调研。当时组织的是座谈会,由于对当地的交通状况缺乏常识,结果我们在下午2点被堵在大马路上。我和我的搭档想尽办法但最后还是迟到了半小时。当时觉得特别不好意思,但结果是虚惊一场,我们发现一个受访者都还没有来,后来才知道在印度迟到一个小时是再正常不过的事情。我觉得这也我做调研工作的小小福利,就是可以到世界各地去领略不同的风土人情。

Q8: Could you please share with us your most interesting research experience?

Z: That was a few years back my first time to India for a research regarding power tools. We were going to a focus group that day, but got stuck in traffic at 2pm because of lacking the knowledge on local transportation condition. My parter and I tried any possible ways but still ended up half-hour late. We felt terribly sorry at the beginning but no respondents arrived either when we showed up. Later we found out being one-hour late is the very common in India. I think it is my little benefit as a researcher – finding out and experience the different local custom around the world.

Q9: 在你的调研工作中所遇到过最困难的情况是什么?

Z: 最困难的情况,我觉得是几年前做的一个和聋哑人产品有关的项目。除了语言本身的障碍,更多的是交流方式上的差异。聋哑人朋友通常内心都很敏感、自尊心强,而且也对陌生人比较设防。后来,我们采取的方式是,首先请他们熟悉的手语老师来做翻译;然后我们都学会简单的手语和聋哑人打招呼和表达谢意;同时我们也邀请他们的家人朋友和我们坐在一起访谈,让他们感觉更加亲切和放松,而我们也可以从他们周围的人群中侧面了解关于他们的事情。结果,这个项目做得非常顺利和成功。

Q9: What is the most difficult situation you have encountered during your research work?

Z: The most difficult situation I had was during the project a while ago for a product targeting at dumb/deaf people. We were facing not only the language barrier, but even more about the communication differences. Dumb/deaf people usually have a sensitive heart with strong self-esteem, and tent to be more guarded against strangers. So we came up with the solution by inviting their sign language teacher for translation, and meanwhile we learnt how to do the simple sign language such as “hello” and “thank you”. Furthermore, we invited their friends and families to join our interview in order to make them feel more close and relaxed, and for us we could find out more about them indirectly from the people in their circle. As a result, this project was done very smoothly and successfully.

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(之慧告诉我她下一个梦想旅行目的地是马达加斯加,她想去看看那只在动画片里出现过的猴子!)

( Zhihui showed me her next most wanted travel destination Madagascar, and the little monkey she wants to meet from the animation film. )

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Q10: 如果你可以自己选择,你会希望在什么方面做深入调研?

Z: 感觉每个阶段,我会对不同的话题感兴趣。研究本身可以是一个工具,关键还是想能解答一些问题。如果当下说,我最想去解答的问题是,如何用设计创新帮助startups作出高品质的产品或者服务。我感觉自己大部分做的设计创新都是为主流的大企业服务的,但是很多人对设计创新并不知晓,也不了解其背后的工程和商业价值。我想让更多的创业者来认识我们在做的事情,并让更多人从中获益。

Q10: If you have the choice, what area do you want to do research in?

Z: I feel that I am attracted to different topics in different phases of my life. Research itself is a tool using for answering questions. At the moment, the question I want to tackle the most is that how to use design innovation to help startups to produce high quality products or services. The design innovation work I have done before are mostly for the main stream big corporations, but a lot of people do not know much about the design innovation yet, either understand how much work behind it and its business value. I would like to get more entrepreneurs to understand what we are doing, and let more people getting benefit out of it.

Q11: 哪个人或事对你的思维方式影响得最深?

Z: 辛向阳博士(现任江南大学设计学院院长,国内交互设计的传道者),他是我做设计研究的启蒙老师。在当年的香港理工大学,他给我们上了第一堂产品开发的核心理论课程以及提供给我们第一次做设计研究的实践机会。他个人的待人接物和处事风格,也让我深切地感受到了做设计的人要有一个博大而宽厚的心。

Q11:  Who or what has been the biggest influence on your way of thinking?

Z: My design research mentor Doctor Xiangyang Xin (current Dean of the design faculty of Jiangnan University, the priors in interaction design in China). When I was studying in Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he gave us the very first product development core theory course and provided us the initial practice opportunity in design research. His interpersonal skills and way of handling affairs made me deeply feel that doing design need to be broad-minded with a generous heart.

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(她和她的瑞士男友一起专门亲手做了个苹果派,做客的感觉真好!)
(She and her boyfriend baked a home-made apple pie while I was there, I felt so overwhelmed!)

Q12: 你最近是否有对什么事儿着迷?例如一本书,电影,设计,活动,或者任何事儿?

Z: 最近对虚拟现实(Virtual Realty)比较关注,也是因为我参与了SHVR (上海VR) 活动的组织和协调工作。很多人甚至都没有听说过这个可以畅想我们未来生活的技术,所以我觉得做这件事情很有意义。

Q12: What are you currently fascinated by? Could be a book, movie, design, activity or anything…

Z: Lately I am interested in Virtual Realty, also because I am involved in organising and coordinating the SHVR event. Many people haven’t even heard of this amazing technology which helps us generating imagination into the future, so I think it is very meaningful to do so.

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Q13: 工作外,你还热衷于什么事情?

Z: 工作之外,我喜欢忙各种充实和取悦自己的事情。我爱好比较广泛,对很多事物充满兴趣。最近两年在努力学习法语,一部分原因是希望考验自己的意志力,既然开始了就不轻言放弃。

很多人都喜欢旅行,我也不例外。给自己的要求是每三个月出国旅行一次,现在也是按照这个计划在执行。对于我来讲,旅行就是生活的催化剂,也加速着人生的蜕变。

Q13: What are you passionate about besides your work?

Z: Besides my work, I like all kinds of things that can fulfil and entertain myself. I have a broad range of hobbies, interested in a lot of things. The recent couple years I’ve been studying French, part of the reason is to test test my willpower – don’t give up easily once started.

A lot of people are into travelling, I am no exception. I set a standard for myself – go travelling abroad once 3 months, and I have been following this plan since then. For me travelling is the catalyst of life, and it also helps accelerating the transformation in life.

Q14: 你觉得一个设计研究员需要拥有什么品质或特点?对于刚入行的设计研究员们,你有什么样的个人建议?

Z: 我觉得比较重要的三点:同理心,要设身处地站在对方的立场思考;客观导向,在看待事物的时候尽量不要带有个人主观色彩 ;足够的耐心。研究无论大小都是一个较为严谨的过程,特别是在做实地调研的时候,工作量很大而且具有重复性,但正是这样的重复验证带来了更加准确的结果。所以,不要轻易下结论,一定要反复思考斟酌,最后是需要由研究员来“一语见真谛”。

Q14: What qualities do a design researcher need to have? What advice would you give to young design researchers?

Z: Three points which I think are more important: empathy, put yourself in other people’s shoes; objective-oriented, try not to look at things with personal subjective; enough patience. Research has a rigorous process no matter the scale size of it, especially there is a big work load and can be very repetitive when doing field research, but from the repetitive validation you can get a more accurate result. Therefore, do not jump to conclusions until you have thought it through repeatedly and thoroughly. At the end, researcher needs to be able to nail down the insight in a nut shell.

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之慧的男友现在上海创业做VR(虚拟现实)方面的开发工作,这一次我也是享受到了额外的福利,一次性在他们家把一系列的VR demo玩了个够。之慧也一直在探索通过科技的辅助来做设计调研,例如线上调研系统可以得到快速数据,或着用Google Glass来让用户自己记录每天的行为等。或许VR在未来也可以用于设计调研的辅助工具。但除了借用新科技的辅助外,用心去观察与解读才是最重要的,无论是在设计调研中或是在我们的生活里。

Zhihui’s boyfriend is an entrepreneur in Shanghai doing VR development, this time I was like a child entering a candy store that I tried out all kinds of virtual reality demos on their oculus rifts. Zhihui is always exploring new technology for design research as well, such as using on-line survey systems for fast responses, using Google Glass for daily behaviours recording by users themselves and so on. Perhaps in the near future, VR may also be used as an additional tool in design research. However, besides all the extra help from technology, the most important thing still is – observing and interpreting through your heart, no matter dealing with design research & innovation, or our daily life.

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yingting

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