- How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
It allowed me to see where in the body the movement was coming from, what affordances you need to make, what could be disabling for some users (eg. elderly users or disabled users) and the areas to focus on. It gave the design process a new layer, allowing for a deeper understanding of the physical and tangible experience between the user and the product.
- Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
Yes we did, also through talking through what we were doing and working in a team. Through physically moving we were able to more readily design something that is comfortable for the user and we know is user-friendly.
- What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
A challenge was adjusting to the act of bodystorming as a form of brainstorming. I am often used to using mind-maps, writing ideas down and sometimes drawing, so to use the body was a new and exciting challenge. It was difficult to know what to do initially when it came to the process of body-storming as it didnt come naturally to me but once we warmed up and started communicating it became helpful.
- Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?
It allows for the designer to see the problem in a new, more realistic light. To be able to physically act out something gives a much better understanding of the physical affordances you need to make and allows for the designer to empathise with the potential users. It also allowed for us to be more playful and fun with our ideas. Being able to act things out instead of writing them down seemed to make the imagination flourish and brought up some very interesting potential designs.
1. How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge?
The exercise helped me to broaden my imagination and use my sense of empathy and understanding of the character in order to develop a product that they’d love. Being able to think as the extreme user, instead of myself, allowed me to think about things differently and through different eyes allowing for a new take within the design process.
2. Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?
This technique is very different from other methods of design I have utilised. It allowed for a greater sense of empathy as I understood to a deeper degree what the persona needed and wanted from a design. I think as designers we often shake our heads at thinking of people as generalized stereotypes but by creating these extreme users it definitely allowed for a new perspective and an understanding of the user’s desires and frustrations.
3/ Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?
Creating a story/narrative about the user allowed me to further develop my ideas and follow through with a storyboard. This allowed me to see the use of the design, how it would fit into their lifestyle and if it needed any changes. Creating a narrative helped with things such as the aesthetic of the object and certain scenarios in which it’d be used. This allowed for a broader understanding of what was needed to be designed and how to make the user happy.
- How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?The detailed descriptions of the user’s troubles and desires allowed me to fully understand what was important to the prospective user and what could be improved for a more fulfilling experience. It highlighted their needs and wants in a very straightforward manner that directly pointed me to the areas I needed to work on to create a product the prospective user would want.
- How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?Being able to cluster the information allowed me to see what the critical issues and needs were of the prospective user. It was the ability to see patterns that directed me to the areas I needed to focus on. By clustering information you are readily able to see patterns, repeated desires or frustrations and the personality of the user themselves. It highlighted the tasks for the designer in a very straight forward manner.
- What was difficult or challenging with the technique?It was a challenge in the beginning to determine which post-it notes were not relevant enough to work on and how many needs, wants and frustrations should be noted. At first it took quite a while to cluster the information into appropriate groups however this was easier as time went on.
- How would you do it better next time?I would write more detailed post-it notes, however I would create less. This means I want to be more discerning in what I see to be needs, wants and frustrations of the user. By being a little more concise I think the exercise would prove less convoluted like it was in the beginning. I would also like to be able to re-read the data.
- How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?Sketch noting is an extension of note taking and requires a sense of multi-tasking. When sketch noting you become a lot more discerning as to what information is relevant. When note taking often people tend to write down almost everything that is being expressed, or at least try to. When sketch noting however you have to absorb the information, imagine how to express it visually and then choose what is relevant to sketch down. It is through the visualisation of the words you are hearing that you open and extend your creative mind, allowing for more creative responses.
- How does this visual approach facilitate communication of your ideas? Conversely, how does it prevent it?Through visualisation you are able to communicate your ideas in a more tangible manner. This can make the information you are noting down become a lot more ingrained in your mind and perhaps more understandable to others who are viewing the sketch notes, as opposed to just reading words. It is through sketching that you have to further open your mind to the words being expressed and sketch relevant images that represent your perception of what you have just heard. In a way this is taking a further step to note taking. You are not simply copying words but creating original visuals that represent the words you have heard. It is through this process that you further understand and explore the concepts being spoken about making it easier for your to communicate your understanding of the topic.
- Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.Personally I am not an illustrator and am also somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to drawing so for myself I found sketch noting to be at times frustrating rather than simply expressive and natural. I found my attention was drawn towards what I was doing rather than being able to fully absorb what was being spoken about. It was in a sense a distraction. That said, this was only going to happen when sketch noting things whilst the talk was occurring. If I were to do this after the talk I feel it could be very helpful in me expanding my creative mind and remembering what was being spoken about. As a visual person it would be an additional form of representation in regards to my perception of what I have just heard and would allow me to further think about the concepts discussed.