Context of Use Analysis

The term “Context of Use” refers to the environment in which users will be interacting with the product. To obtain the most reliable usability insights, research needs to be performed in that environment rather than a lab setting. Users’ needs, attention, obstacles, and expectations will determine the product constraints your design team must work within for the product to be usable. This analysis is best done as early as possible after ethnographic data has been gathered to check for situations not directly observed during user interviews. This extra step can prevent the design of functionality that would be unusable in context.

Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time Needed Depending on How Much Research is Available: At Least 1 Week
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • Documented research results
  • Relevant market and user analysis

Carry Out This Method

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  1. Collect and analyze the results of market research studies you have completed, or relevant market research that already exists.
  2. Analyze video, transcripts, or quotes from completed contextual observation or user interviews your team has completed.
  3. Compare these test results to the tasks you expect users to complete with your product. If any tasks would be too difficult in the product as it is currently designed, bring this to the attention of the design team.
  4. Determine usability gaps that require further research.
  5. If your analysis indicates that further contextual information is required, send researchers into the user environment to use the appropriate observation method. This may be Bodystorming, Contextual Inquiry, or Day In The Life depending on your needs and the context in question.

Try These Tips

  • These insights can inform the creation of Personas.
  • This method can help you determine where there are gaps in your user research.

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