When I prepared for my first anthropological field research in West Africa, I carefully planned and packed all the stuff I was going to carry. My kit had to be portable, and it had to include everything I really needed to do my work (and stay sane).
In the user researcher’s portable kit of tools, there are a core set of items that let us get the job done. These essential articles pack very tight, because they’re made up of skills and attitudes. The following travel pack gives me the confidence to get the job done in any setting – be it a conference room of hostile contractors and distressed clients, an animated gathering of a rural women’s agricultural cooperative, a dimly-lit coffee shop for guerrilla usability testing, or a well-lit, well-managed usability lab.