Workshop: Contextual Design with Karen Holtzblatt

  • 29 Sep 2014
  • 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • The Wellstone Center, Room 212, 179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55107-2360
  • 0


  • Includes cost of workshop and new membership

Registration is closed

This 1-day workshop with Karen Holtzblatt, the inventor of Contextual Inquiry and Contextual Design, covers the techniques that bridge the collection and analysis of user data to design. Attendees will have hands-on experience using the steps of Contextual Design for walking the consolidated user data (the Affinity Diagram and other models) and ideation (Visioning). Karen will also be introducing the first major changes to Contextual Design in 25 years in response to the fundamental changes in how our users work and live.  


Reinventing Contextual Design and the Cool Project

Contextual Design is a complete front-end design process rooted in Contextual Inquiry, the widespread, industry-standard field data gathering technique. Contextual Design adds techniques to analyze and present user data, drive ideation from data, design specific product solutions, and iterate those solutions with customers. After a brief overview of Contextual Design, Karen will explain what triggered the qualitative research and subsequent quantitative validation in her company's "Cool Project", the resulting "Cool Concepts", and the changes in Contextual Design techniques being put into place today.


Using Contextual Design's Techniques for Presenting the Data and Ideation

After introducing the design project being used for the rest of the workshop, Karen will lead participants in hands-on practice of walking an Affinity Diagram, identifying potential issues and design ideas. The participants will also review the key Contextual Design models, including new models: Day-in-the-Life, Collaboration, Identity, Relationship, and Sensation.


Participants will use what they learned from the consolidated models and data walk to practice Visioning, Contextual Design's structured brainstorming process for ideation. Finally, participants will be introduced to Contextual Design's new techniques for optimizing Visions for the Cool Concepts.



This workshop is for anyone who has been using Contextual Design and wants to understand how it has changed, and by UX designers and researchers who want to learn how to leverage the data they have been gathering and communicate it to their stakeholders.

What to Bring: Whatever you want to take notes to support your learning. Lunch and snacks will be provided; cost includes ticket to the Happy Hour immediately following the workshop from 4:30 - 6:30 PM, same location.

Room 212, Anna Heilmaier room
179 Robie Street East
Saint Paul, MN 55107-2360
About the Instructor
Recognized as a leader in requirements and design, Karen Holtzblatt has pioneered transformative ideas and design approaches throughout her career. Karen introduced Contextual Inquiry, now the industry standard for gathering field data to understand how technology impacts the way people work. Contextual Inquiry forms the base of Contextual Design. Most recently, Karen initiated the Cool Project to explore the way recent touch mobile devices are changing people's lives. The resulting Cool Concepts reveal the themes core to the cool user experience.
Karen co-founded the company InContext Design in 1992 to use Contextual Design techniques to coach product teams and deliver market data and design solutions to businesses across multiple industries. Her books, Contextual Design: Defining Customer Centered Systems, and Rapid Contextual Design are used by companies and universities all over the world. A member of the CHI Academy, Karen received CHI's first Lifetime Award for Practice in 2010.
This workshop is sponsored by Valere Consulting and Recruiting.
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