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Thinking In Metaphors

February 4, 2017
by Adam Churchill

Metaphors have a knack of encapsulating a feeling or experience, and for this reason, they stick. User researchers gathering data can find the essence of a customer’s experience and communicate it effectively by looking for the metaphors that people naturally use to describe their experiences.

The qualitative datasets that researchers collect as part of user research are often full of metaphors – and not just the things that people say. Cyd Harrell notes that researchers take while observing participants often contain rich insights into user behavior. Metaphors humanize the data we retrieve and can become a powerful part of the larger design and product conversations we have.