Research needs space to breathe – an Effortmark poster

Research needs space to breath: an open book with dandelions flying away from it
Words Amy Everett
Design Julia Allum

‘Research needs space to breathe’ is a poster in my continuing collaboration with illustrator Julia Allum.

The words come from a blog post by user researcher Amy Everett. In her post, Amy talks about setting expectations when doing research, about how the best learning takes place somewhere between the “comfort zone” and the “panic zone”, and about how good things take time.

The phrase “research needs space to breathe” comes from her musing about how good things take time, and it resonated with me:

… research needs space to breathe: you will need time to mull over your findings, go through your notes, iterate your research materials and maybe even run some analysis sessions. It’s important to tell your team that you can’t be out in the field five days a week. This time either side of the research is just as important as the research itself.”

Amy Everett – 2019 wrap up

Thanks Amy for letting your words appear on a poster, and for working with Julia and me on the design.

Research includes tasks away from users

This poster is a reminder that we need to include some breathing space: taking time with the results, asking ourselves whether we need to tidy or consolidate the work, ‘resting’ it – and ourselves – in order to get full value from everyone’s time.

The tasks that we do away from users are a theme in Leisa Reichelt’s 2014 post where she  pointed out that around 70% of user researchers’ time is spent on the tasks that user researchers do before, during and after time spent with actual users.

It’s a theme that Stephanie Rosenbaum and I touched on in the workshop that we led at the 2019 Service Design in Government conference, where participants discussed the work that researchers do in order to research, and the work after research that we may or may not do: Research Debt.

This is the fifth poster in the series

You may also like to see the previous posters Julia and I have collaborated on:

How to get hold of the poster

As with the previous posters, Julia has generously agreed to make the poster available with a creative commons license. So to print your own:

If you’d prefer a high quality giclée print, visit Julia’s shop for A3 or A4 versions.

Research needs space to breathe. An open book, with scattered dandelions ascending from it