There is no substitute for a person to person interview in the field when seeking to understand a problem.
It’s probably 100x better than a survey.
Today, I found myself in a 15 minute interview with two high school students at the library trying to learn about why they use the space the way they do. Just in that short conversation, countless insights emerged. There were a dozen jumping-off points for new ideas and further exploration.
The beauty was that it didn’t take that long. It was scary asking two strangers if they would answer some questions. But after that little leap, the learning was invaluably rich.
A little ask can go a long way.