Contextmapping is more than a collection of methods, it is a design research approach with basic principles. These basics are presented here. For more theoretical background visit the TU Delft contextmapping website.



Be curiousBe curious

Designing for people means gaining empathy with them. Empathy is a process that starts with wanting to learn more about the other (for more information about empathy in design, see Sleeswijk Visser 2009).



paris by night


Study products and services in the context of everyday life

Products and services do not exist in vacuum: they are part of an everyday context in which people  (even passively) use them in combination with other products, services, people in a variety of places and over time.




generative sessionPeople are involved as experts of their experiences

People are experts of their own experiences. By inviting people in their expertise role and clearly explaining how important contributions from their point of view are, people will enjoy opening up and provide valuable information.




Driehoeksdiagram2Generative techniques are needed to reach deeper levels of knowledge

People are not directly aware of their everyday experiences. With interviews you find out what they say and think. With observations you find out what they do and how they use things. With generative techniques you find out what they know and feel and maybe even dream of. Contextmapping makes use of a combination of these techniques.



past-present-futureAsk about the past before asking about the future

People have a hard time looking into the future. By taking them on a journey of what is meaningful for them personally in the present and in the past, they are much more aware of what might matter to them in the future.



boarding journeyCommunicate concepts from the user point of view

Storytelling is a powerful way of what a concept might offer the user(s). By explaining and visualizing the effects that a concept can have, people will understand its essence more intuitively and quickly.

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