Rapid Contextual Design

Rapid Contextual Design

A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design

1st Edition - December 14, 2004

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  • Authors: Karen Holtzblatt, Jessamyn Wendell, Shelley Wood
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123540515
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080515717

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Is it impossible to schedule enough time to include users in your design process? Is it difficult to incorporate elaborate user-centered design techniques into your own standard design practices? Do the resources needed seem overwhelming? This handbook introduces Rapid CD, a fast-paced, adaptive form of Contextual Design. Rapid CD is a hands-on guide for anyone who needs practical guidance on how to use the Contextual Design process and adapt it to tactical projects with tight timelines and resources. Rapid Contextual Design provides detailed suggestions on structuring the project and customer interviews, conducting interviews, and running interpretation sessions. The handbook walks you step-by-step through organizing the data so you can see your key issues, along with visioning new solutions, storyboarding to work out the details, and paper prototype interviewing to iterate the design—all with as little as a two-person team with only a few weeks to spare!

Key Features

  • Includes real project examples with actual customer data that illustrate how a CD project actually works
  • Covers the entire scope of a project, from deciding on the number and type of interviews, to interview set up and analyzing collected data. Sample project schedules are also included for a variety of different types of projects
  • Provides examples of how-to write affinity notes and affinity labels, build an affinity diagram, and step-by-step instructions for consolidating sequence models
  • Shows how to use consolidated data to define a design within tight time frames with examples of visions, storyboards, and paper prototypes
  • Introduces CDTools™, the first application designed to support customer-centered design


Usability professionals, UI designers, user experience professionals and managers, plus IT professionals and commercial developers in the high tech industry who are developing new products and systems for commercial sale or in-house use.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
    Chapter 2: Planning Your Rapid CD Project
    Chapter 3: Planning Your Contextual Interviews
    Chapter 4: The Contextual Inquiry Interview
    Chapter 5: Contextual Interview Interpretation Session
    Chapter 6: Work Modeling
    Chapter 7: Building an Affinity Diagram
    Chapter 8: Consolidated Sequence Models
    Chapter 9: Using Contextual Data to Write Personas
    Chapter 10: Walking the Affinity and Consolidated Sequences
    Chapter 11: Visioning a New Way to Work
    Chapter 12: Storyboarding
    Chapter 13: Testing with Paper Prototypes
    Chapter 14: Paper Prototype Interviews
    Chapter 15: Rapid CD and Other Methodologies
    Chapter 16: Issues of Organizational Adoption
    Appendix 1: Supply Checklist

Product details

  • No. of pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Morgan Kaufmann 2004
  • Published: December 14, 2004
  • Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780123540515
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080515717

About the Authors

Karen Holtzblatt

Karen Holtzblatt is a co-founder of InContext Enterprises, Inc., a firm that works with companies, coaching teams to design products, product strategies, and information systems from customer data. Karen Holtzblatt developed the Contextual Inquiry field data gathering technique that forms the core of Contextual Design and is now taught and used world-wide.

Affiliations and Expertise

InContext Enterprises, Inc., Concord, MA, USA

Jessamyn Wendell

Affiliations and Expertise

Design Consultant

Shelley Wood

Affiliations and Expertise

InContext Enterprises

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