Everything you need to know about Context Mapping (in just one paragraph).

One of my colleagues once told me that you should always have someone in mind when writing.

Well, today that someone is myself… Not so long ago I came around the subject of Context Mapping (CM), but I just couldn’t get my head around it. So I started Googling CM and read a couple of articles on the subject, when simultaneously started to write down bits and pieces I found in those articles. And here I am, trying to explain CM in 1 just paragraph. If you’re also unsure of what CM is, read the paragraph below!

CM is a technique that is used in the field of UX Research. This technique will gain insight in the deeper emotions and needs of real users [Figure 1]. Deeper emotions can be dreams, wishes, fears, aspirations and ideas. CM is useful during the beginning of a design phase, and will give the team an idea of the latent and tacit knowledge of users. This type of knowledge comes floating to the surface with generative tools. One of the most used generative tool is the the cultural probes technique: Respondents are instructed to make a mood board, containing words and images, expressing good and bad facets about a defined situation (e.g. cooking at home). By letting real users talk about that certain situation in the past, present and future, the design team gets inspired. And, since you include your users in a very early stage of the design phase, your product will be in scope with the user needs.

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[Figure 1] Source: Convivial Toolbox, E. Sanders, P.J. Stappers

So if you’re a UX Researcher, go on and try this technique out! I’m sure I’ll do it in the near future. If you’re already familiar with CM, please let me know how it helped you in your project.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me if you feel like doing.

My name is Do, I’m a Freelance Designer and Creative based in Amsterdam. If you want to work together, hit me up!

Big thanks to the kind people at the TU Delft who shared their thoughts on the subject in such way that I was able to translate them into my own words: http://studiolab.ide.tudelft.nl/studiolab/contextmapping/files/2013/01/RI9-2.-Kistemaker-hoe-werkt-het.pdf [Article is in Dutch.]

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Freelance Designer based in Amsterdam. dokriek.com

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