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

This exercise helped me build empathy with prospective users because the interview process allowed me to understand their needs, wants, motivations and frustrations. The interviewer employed open-ended probing questions which allowed me to generate an informed idea and identify common themes. For example; interviewee 8 valued outdoor activities, good food (i.e. local restaurants and markets), being economical, and staying in homely accommodation when travelling (i.e. not “generic” hotels) . They also found a phrase/gesture book handy.

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

The clustering of information was effective in that it provided me with a visual representation of underlying themes in regards to user needs. Whilst some affinity notes popped out first as fundamentally similar and could be clustered together with an appropriate blue label (i.e. “We want to be economical”), other notes were slightly more abstract and group discussion facilitated; we were able to draw a blue label thematic link  between “doing cool things” and “eating good food” through “meeting locals to provide information”. Furthermore, walking the wall and viewing other groups’ clusters helped us to refine our own and consider other patterns.

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

A challenge was trying to restructure clusters if there were too many affinity notes under each blue note. Next time, I would try to only convey one major idea per affinity note and/or trash identical affinity notes to avoid repetition and be more efficient.