- 100 Days of UX
- Artifact Analysis
Artifact Analysis is the study of how people use and conceptualize objects. It is an
examination of the object's qualities to better understand its users and the culture in
which it typically exists.
Artifact Analysis is Day 4 of 100 Days of UX, an exploratory effort to
survey the 100 methods of design outlined in
Martin and Hannington's Universal Methods of Design. For 100 consecutive days, I learn one new method
a day and write about it.
The components of an artifact analysis are the:
Material analysis which queries physical characteristic such as material
composition, durability, wear patterns, disposability, etc, and asks questions like: What
material is this made of? How was this constructed? and How easy would it be to
Aesthetic analysis which includes a subjective visual assessment as well as
questions about historical references and emotional meaning. Questions like: How
valuable is this? Could this be currently trendy? Could this ever have been
trendy? are appropriate here.
An interactive analysis which addresses the object's affordances and operational
use: Is/was the object ever functional, instrumental, shared, individual, and so on. Questions
like: Could this object be customized by its owner? What else could this object
be used for? and so on.
As we can see, artifact analysis involves asking a lot of how, why, and what questions. Some of these
are available in this Artifact Questionnaire by Noah Litvin of Design Led Research Toolkit.
Other less involved questionnaires are available depending on the researcher's needs.
Some advantages of artifact analysis are that it does not require human participants, can yield
unexpected insights, and it may be used to study people/cultures across both time and space.
Some disadvantages are that ones findings are not always as easy or feasible to confirm, one is
limited to available artifacts, and one runs the distinct risk of applying their cultural biases.
Day 3 - Affinity Diagramming
Day 5 - Automated Remote Research
Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design: 100 ways to research complex
problems, develop innovative ideas & Design effective solutions. Rockport
Litvin, N. (n.d.). Artifact Analysis - Design Led Research Toolkit. Retrieved June
Foraker Labs (n.d.). Glossary - Artifact Analysis. Retrieved June 06, 2017