My research and process are often intertwined. I use a variety of ethnographic methods to gather data, such as cultural probes, participant observation, surveys and interviews. This in turn allows me to develop prototypes early and start user-testing from the beginning. I allow the findings of tests to drive the idea development.
I prototype technology in lo-fi ways (gradually increasing fidelity), to test my assumptions early on, while changes can still be made quickly. This ensures the ideas are well developed before I move on to tackling technical challenges.
I find participants through a variety of social networks, from widely open ones like Twitter, to tight-knit community based one such as Ravelry.
Early testing is made possible by the use of quick prototypes. I test at each stage of the project and as often as possible. This allows me to evolve it organically and provides a huge amount of feedback.