From observation to design insights

Having a glance at this Thoughtless Acts book that was standing on a shelf in my apartment, I ran across the last part about why documenting such practices is relevant. The book is a collection of different snapshots which captures the ordinary actions people unconsciously perform every day, avoiding wet surface on the pavement, putting one's coffee on a radiator, etc. So why is this important? Beyond the "such interactions can inspire design opportunities"

"Highlighting needs and problems worth solving: though: the world doesn't need a unique design solutions for every creative adaptation we see (that's the kind of stuff that ends up advertised in in-flight catalogs!). Rather we shiuld look for patterns of more universal needs. (...) Freeing us from existing paradigms through a focus on action: break through limitations imposed by existing solutions, force to focus on the actions that we are trying to solve through design (...) Revealing what is intuitive, helping us design appropriate cues: helps configure material elements and qualities into intuitively recognizable and understandable forms (affordaces). (...) observation can sharpen our awareness of how people respond to particular arrangements and elements. (...) Tuning us in the cultural patterns and meanings: observations help us become more sensitive to sociocultural habits and the meanings conveyed by particular design attributes. (...) Uncovering emotional experience (...) Harnessing tacit knowledge to inform the design process: by encouraging people to notice and document their habits, workarounds, unspoken rules, and cryptic signaling systems, we can work together to uncover the opportunities for improvements. (...) Inspiring more flexible and enduring solutions: many people nowadays are disenchanted by the obligation to design, produce, or purchase a plethora of short-lived, disposable, single-purpose, or single-use items and are interested in findings solutions that create more enduring values."

Why do I blog this? an interesting description of how designers might turn qualitative appraisal of daily life as "insights".