Contextual user research methods for eliciting user experience insights in workplace studies
Paper in proceeding, 2020

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to contribute with experiences and reflections on user research methods that we have tested in our studies of users' experiences in office environments.
Theory: Previous workplace studies with qualitative data approaches mainly rely on traditional methods such as interviews and observations. Based on user-centered design research, we outline methods that can be used to facilitate understanding the interrelations between users and their surrounding environment.
Design: Three methods and their variations were applied in different case studies to facilitate understanding of user experiences in office environments: (i) spatial walkthroughs, (ii) card sorting, and (iii) experience curve mapping.
Findings: Spatial walkthroughs were more immersive and provided most insights on the actual context with respect to spatial design qualities. The card sorting enabled exploring user experiences with respect to predetermined aspects. The experience curve mapping enabled understanding the temporal aspects of the user experience. The latter two methods were less immersive and less disruptive in the organisational context than the spatial walkthroughs. The flexibility of these methods allows for tailoring the application depending on the purpose of the workplace studies. We recommend using a combination of these methods to capture a more holistic understanding of user experiences and improving the workspace design to better fit the users.
Originality: The outlined methods required user involvement and participation and provided insights for making evidence-based recommendations for designing or redesigning office environments that fit users' needs and preferences.

User involvement

Office evaluations

User research

Workspace design

Qualitative methods


Maral Babapour Chafi

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Antonio Cobaleda Cordero

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors



Transdisciplinary Workplace Research conference 2020
Frankfurt, Germany,

Subject Categories

Media and Communication Technology

Interaction Technologies

Human Computer Interaction

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Health Engineering

Related datasets


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