The Human Factors Gift Guide
It’s that time of year again, gift giving season is here! You want to get the perfect gift, maybe not just for the holidays, but any time of year (e.g., a birthday, retirement party, promotion, etc.). Well, your local human factors team has you covered. We are experts at conducting needs assessments, otherwise known as figuring out what someone wants or needs, of course.
First we’ll guide you through some quick data gathering techniques so you can be confident you’ve selected the best gift. Then we’ll provide you list of gifts that are sure to meet the needs of your family and friends. We’ve made sure they check the box for one or more of the following:
Our goal is for you to be the perfect gift-giver now and in the future so, as the saying goes “Give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.” We’ll teach you how you can do a quick needs assessment, so you can be better equipped to give the perfect gift, always!
Step 1: Learn a bit about what the recipient does. This can be done by naturalistic observation. You can go to their home or place of employment and watch them perform tasks or interact with other people. If this is not feasible, you can perform some semi-structured interviews with those who interact with the person on a daily basis. If you aren’t going for secrecy, you can also flat out ask the person to describe a typical day in their life. From these data gathering techniques, you will find out areas of interest or perhaps where daily hang-ups (pain points) occur.
Step 2: Use the data collected in Step 1 to formulate the angle you choose to purchase a gift. Are you going to appeal to an interest this person has or are you going to try and solve a problem they frequent in their daily life? Depending on how much information you gathered in Step 1 and what angle you want to pursue, you may have to repeat Step 1 and further refine your data collection process to hone your requirements gathering. For instance, if you choose to go the gift-something-they’re-interested-in route, you may need to find out if they are already in possession of the item or have already attended the event, etc. Hence, you may need to repeat Step 1.
Step 3: Assess your options for the gift and cross reference that with the person you are shopping for. They may like the gift, but will it fit the need (i.e., the interest or solve a problem)? And because this is a human factors gift guide, it has to fit a need. We simply can’t stop the process at “Yea, they’ll like it.” That’s malarkey. Anyway, you want to really see if this gift will meet the need. For instance, does the gift recipient prefer experiences over tangibles? Does the recipient have a slightly disturbing obsession over Harry Potter? This could present a strong impact factor to your gift solution!
Step 4: Build a simple use-case and develop a scenario in which the gift has been implemented into the task-flow of the recipient. In this way, you can evaluate common uses and common outcomes regarding the need your gift will ultimately fill. For instance, the gift recipient is a nurse and they are on their feet all day long. You also know their favorite color is orange. You’ve selected the gift of orange slippers with Tempur-Pedic insoles because this will fit seamlessly into your nurse friend’s daily routine. She gets home from work, after being on her feet all day, and puts on her favorite-colored (ergonomic) slippers! Win-win!
Step 5: Now that you’re sure to have selected the perfect gift, based on evidence, you can feel confident in presenting the gift to its intended recipient!
We know you may not have a lot of time to conduct a full needs analysis this holiday season (we’re experts and we know a lot about a lot). Therefore, we’ve curated a list of gifts that are sure to meet the needs of those in your life!
For the Academic in your life:
For the Techie in your life:
For the Fitness Guru in your life:
For the Sports Fanatic in your life:
For the Adventurer in your life:
For the Naturalist in your life:
For the Foodie in your life:
Thanks for checking out this Human Factors Guide To Gift Giving! Tell us about some of your favorite gifts you’ve received! Also, tell us about a topic you’d like for us to cover. We’d love to hear from you!
These posts are written or shared by QIC team members. We find this stuff interesting, exciting, and totally awesome! We hope you do too!