1. How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users? 

Research based on interviews with a range of travellers. The interviews provided specific experiential concerns with the human attributes of travel – how the different users encountered the experience of travel – from specific personal points such as difficulties in navigation, being directed to homogenous travel destinations or specifically wanting to find ‘inside information’ specific to their needs and wants, through to the overall travel experience for the individual interviewees.

We were able to see the issues regarding travel through many different perspectives. We were able to build empathy with the prospective users because we were able to see a range of individual needs relating to the ‘human experience’ in travel; containing direct and emotive concerns, from a larger perspective through to specific issues.


  1. How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs? 

The clustering of information showed that even with a diverse group of people interviewed, there were similar needs and difficulties related to the theme of travelling. By sorting through the ‘highlighted information’ the group was able to find common themes in their challenges and requirements across a range of demographic groups.


  1. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

The main challenge with the technique was finding commonalities across each group member’s post-it findings and working out whether the information could be clustered with other observations – or if it was a slightly different category itself. The main issue to arise in terms of difficulty was working within the constraints of the time-frame. In looking to distil the interview transcripts into a list of interests, needs, motivations & frustrations, I personally would have liked more time to read over the interview a few times to fully understand the issues of the interviewee – allowing me to understand the context of the issues and be able to frame these issues in the form of a first-person observations on the post-it notes.

In bringing a range of disparate information together, and searching for common themes within each post-it note meant that it was like solving a puzzle, looking for clues based on the transcriptions of highlighted information paraphrased each small post-it note. As we became more familiar with each person’s information, there were certainly common themes in the experiences and requirements, which we were able to cluster. The benefit of course with working on post-it notes was that the information was easy to move, rework, rephrase and edit.

How would you do it better next time?

Firstly, having done it for a first time, I am sure that our group would know what to look for in terms of the underlying meanings within the interview transcripts. I would suggest that next time, our group could benefit from discussing key statements within each interview together to create a concept map – based on the interview. This experience would no doubt influence the type of language we used in the post-it transcriptions and the types of information we would look for within each interview. I think we would also next time define the categories much more readily as user statements/questions in the language we used to communicate the concerns.