1. How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

Having worked for several years in the advertising industry, briefs and counter-briefs are not unfamiliar to me. Actually I consider the receiving of a brief to be the most important part of a project. Because that determines the goal and the means how to achieve it. Failure to communicate often results in waste of resources and a fracture to customer-business relations.

Engaging real persons face-to-face is something I prefer over changing emails etc. I like to ask questions and maybe get some extra insight that might not be in written form. You can also receive instant feedback from your prototypes and ideas. In this case the experience of gift-giving is so personal, that I really had to listen what my partner had to say. Quite quickly I grasped what needed to be done and I went on sketching. My main prototype remained quite the same from start to finish.

My final prototype was a smart phone application. It enabled my partner to easily browse different restaurants and their info but most importantly, make bookings. Her core experience itself was fine, but it needed to be streamlined. (Mainly the booking should have been easier.)

2. What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

A creative process is often subjective, so sometimes questions and even conflicts may arise when unfinished work is brought forth. This time however my partner listened carefully and was eager to see more. I try to make clear with unfinished ideas that they are going to improve and they are just coarse plannings. In early stages of projects I’m quite used to showing unfinished work to people so this wasn’t nothing particularly unsettling.

3. As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

My partner was asking accurate questions and to the point. I even started thinking about my past experience and how her ideas would really have improved it in real life. It’s always fun to see how good brief discussion evolves from a chit-chat to something more tangible. When she asked questions and presented prototypes, I tried to be as open-minded as possible and give her improvement ideas if possible. (Funnily both of our gift-giving experiences and the prototypes we made to improve them were quite similar.)

4. Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I really didn’t grasp how limited the time was. That in mind, I would concentrate more on asking the right questions. Both the emotional and the practical viewpoint of the gift-giving experience we’re intriguing me. Getting extra insight might have changed the way my prototype would have been designed. Also the little details are important to take into account during both the brief and sketching/planning processes. One dependent clause might tell you something that dozens of emails maybe wouldn’t.

5. What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

Being empathetic towards your client always helps. Changing opinions and ideas usually gives extra value to both of you. And when you can understand what your client is after, it tremendously helps to concentrate on your own work. Personally I would aspire to be even more open-minded but at the same time direct the design process towards concrete results.