POEMS Research Framework

1 Person

Half Day

Frameworks can help organize research during the initial phase of the design process, when understanding is most important. The POEMS framework (People, Objects, Environments, Messages, and Services) helps guide your research questions and provides a neat way to code in-field observations as you capture them, making analysis much more efficient.


9+ Sparks
2+ Sorting Tool
POEMS Research Framework Guide
30 min
Prep For Note Taking

Start by planning your method of observation. In what context will you be observing and/or interviewing? Who will you be observing? How will you be capturing information (photos, video, notes). For some general guides, see Artefact's tips on conducting successful field research.

Once you're prepared, you can either take notes by hand, in a word document or spreadsheet, or directly into Insights. If using Insights, be sure to have a reliable internet connection. Create a new group for each session or person that you are observing/interviewing to keep things organized.

30 min
Capture & Categorize

Create a Sorting Tool with five columns, labeled: People, Objects, Environments, Messages, and Services.The POEMS framework will help you organize observations of user interactions by grouping them into one of the columns.

For existing notes, drag them out of the Spark Tray and into the appropriate column. If you are capturing new notes or transcribing, you can enter them directly into the column using the New Spark shortcut button at the top of each column.

30 min
Repeat as Needed

Repeat the process as needed, creating additional groups and tools for each new participant in your research.

60 min
Discuss & Derive Insights

If you've interviewed/observed multiple users, conduct a higher level analysis by creating another POEMS sorting tool one level above the groups where the information was captured.

You will now have access to all of the Sparks created in each of those groups. You can pull out key elements that were most intriguing or most unexpected and build a composite map across multiple users. It's helpful to use this as a starting point for discussion with a team. You can add another new column to the tool to capture any insights you derive from the discussion.

More resources:
10,000ft Insights
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