Nancy Fried Foster, Nora Dimmock, Alison Bersani. (2008). Participatory Design of Websites with Web Design Workshop (2).

The topic of week 2 lecture is about Design Research. I learnt different research methods to gather the information of user’s needs and preferences. In the article “Participatory Design of Websites with Web Design Workshop”, the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries would like to revamp their website. So they organized workshops to do the research. Similar to what I‘ve learnt in the lecture, River Campus Libraries defined 4 focus groups “Faculty”, “Graduate”, “Undergrad” and “Library Staff”. They are the users of the library website. They use different functions in the website. Then the design team setup questionnaires to gather information like the user’s background, how often they user the library website, do they user mobile phone often, they favorite web browser and word processing program, etc.

In one of the workshops, the design team provide a blank paper to ask the users to draw their ideal library website homepage. So the design team could understand the users’ preference easily. In the other workshops, they provided a printout of current website homepage and ask the users to put the comment on the screenshot.

  • Circle the items on the page that they like and use the most
  • Add any items that are not currently on the page but that they would like to have there
  • “X” out any items on the page that they do not like or use

So it is kind of Ethnography research method.

After the workshops, the design team analysis the data they got and design a website to meet the users’ needs.

After this lecture and reading the article, I understand the importance of doing user research before the design process. The design team has to understand the users’ needs to build a good product. We also need to understand the problems of the existed product so we could fix all the issues in the new product.