The concept of speed dating is well known, and in design and research the same idea is applied to comparing multiple design concepts or ideas in rapid succession. This gives researchers the opportunity for quick feedback and also to collect more general information on usage context, societal and environmental issues. Speed dating is typically used at early stages of development to rapidly screen visual ideas and storyboards rather than more developed prototypes.
A typical speed dating process may include:
Contextual research in field, using interviews, role playing, artefact analysis, directed storytelling, diary studies and cultural probes to understand potential users and identify opportunity areas where people have articulated a need.
Create storyboards for different scenarios to elicit an emotional reaction to the characters and help participants identify with them, focusing on specific scenarios identified in contextual research.
Speed dating of storyboards in rapid succession followed by a focused question to elicit the reactions of target users, leading to a ranking of the different options in terms of how closely they match the needs of users and how effective they might be in addressing the needs.
Reflection and discussion to identify misunderstandings and to refine and improve ideas as well as identify any new potential opportunities.
Simulation of usage occasions and environments to allow users to role play different scenarios and allow researchers to understand the use of ideas to solve specific problems in specific real-life contexts.
Speed dating is a useful research and design tool for exploring environments and contexts that are not easily accessible, to uncover risk factors and user needs for a specific design challenge before the process of prototyping (technological) solutions is started.
Universal Methods of Design by Martin & Hanington