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

By reading the full interview transcript, I was able to gain a very deep understanding of the context which enabled me to abstract a more unique user-need statement. Specific examples in the form of anecdotes inspire a more complex understanding of the problems faced by the prospective user. The character of my transcript, for instance, couldn’t gauge whether places were popular because they were good, or popular because they were most known about or advertised. Similarly, he found it challenging to know whether recommendations by locals were personal or skewed by their preconceptions of his desires. This dichotomy of tourist traps vs authentic experiences proved to be a major recurring theme.

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

Clustering helped synthesise many discrete and specific notes into over-arching themes, as well as gauge how common or important each one is, inferred by the quantity of notes. These contribute to a core understanding of user needs as a collection of key aspects, which provide the directions of focus for the designer.

3. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?

More time was definitely needed to tease out all the unique aspects of so many yellow notes! We didn’t even reach the pink note stage! It was extremely challenging to cluster the notes in ways that captured their uniqueness, however this technique really helped to suggest different logical frameworks for organisation. It becomes apparent that there are many ways the notes could be clustered, so they could even be re-arranged to derive additional blue notes!