Entering a design research project can be intimidating – heck, sometimes it’s even tough to talk to a new coworker, not to mention interviewing and gathering data from hundreds, even thousands, of new faces. Graffiti walls can be a simple, open way of gathering input from diverse audiences – and are efficient. Once you’ve set up your graffiti wall, it’s not time-intensive to monitor or collect responses.
A design research method, graffiti walls have three parts:
These materials are then placed in a common area where your audiences can interact with them. Graffiti walls gather qualitative data – i.e. words, shared language, creative responses that are descriptive in nature, and not numerical.
Consider the audience you are trying to gather information from when deciding to use graffiti walls. Would your audience(s) be comfortable talking to a researcher? If not, a graffiti wall can provide an open forum for them to still be a valuable contributor.
Do time, space, or other constraints prevent easy access to your audience(s)? If so, graffiti walls can provide an accessible space to contribute over a sustained period of time.
Is language a key focus of your design research project (such as branding, organizational mission, vision, and values, etc.)? If so, graffiti walls can cast a wide net for gathering lots of language from a large group of contributors.
Graffiti walls shouldn’t be considered the end-all, be-all method for collecting qualitative research from your audiences. If you’re trying to accomplish one of the below objectives, you should utilize a different design research method: