Useful interaction design begins with understanding the needs and context of the users for whom we're designing. For me, the initial discovery phase has always been my favorite part of the design process. I really enjoy visiting people in their work and home environments. Observing how they interact with systems or objects. Listening to their stories and asking open-ended questions to learn more. I think I am an anthropologist at heart.
What aspects of needfinding do you enjoy? What discovery techniques do you use and in what context? Any tips or tricks that new designers to the discipline might find useful? Whether you've got decades of design experience or you're just starting out, I'd love to hear about your experience with discovering what users need.