• How did this exercise help you to build empathy with prospective users?

By analysing the language from written interview under certain guidelines it was possible to gather both a broad overview as well as specifics about the persons desires, needs, wants and frustrations about a given topic, while remaining distant/objective.

I found empathy was gained through hearing a great deal of background and extra information that the interviewee provided, which painted a richer picture of their situation and helped to better articulate the nuances of their needs.

The card sorting/post it sorting aspect really showed that diverse people may experience the same issues when encountering similar situations.

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

The clustering was interesting. I liked the challenge in trying to distill a lot of random, specific and somewhat emotional thoughts into clear simple needs – and those needs then became liberated from the specifics of the persons specific problem – eg, a terrible time using a digital map service became simply ‘I need technology to blend into the background’.

The physical spacing of ideas also helped to make connections where they were harder to see before. It also highlighted the difficulty in dividing ideas that overlapped in odd ways, and yet had crucial similarities.

  • What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How could you do it better next time?

Stickier notes lol. Mine kept on falling off.
In future I would spend more time on each section. More time making the initial notes, more time sorting the categories before making statements on their sentiments. I feel like that would bring around a clearer and more focussed outcome – however as it was a tutorial we make do with the time allotted!

I feel that now, having done it, the next time I will approach each stage with the intention and knowledge of what the following stages are and so be able to provide more useful groundwork for the later fluid ‘sorting’ stages.