I found it a little intimidating being the user in this scenario – I felt that there was a real pressure to get through the flow of the product quickly and smoothly. It was frustrating having someone takes notes even when you felt they weren’t warranted. In the case of the evaluator testing their own work, you had to remember that the notes were to help them improve the prototype, not judge your capabilities with their prototype. It was easier being the user when you were being tested on the site that no one had any affinity to (officeworks)
This was fairly straightforward, it was difficult to assess the level of detail to go into with this though e.g. does a small frown warrant as much weight on the score card than a bigger frown. I liked how assessing the facial expressions revealed very quantitative data, however, it was still fairly subjective data.
This was a little tricky because when the evaluator was testing their own prototype, you had to be sensitive to the fact that they had designed it so you didn’t want to be too harsh or too rude. It was a lot easier to think aloud on the generic site (officeworks). I found that once I got absorbed into the task, however, I needed to be reminded to think aloud because it is quite an unnatural thing to do
This was tricky when testing multiple participants because everyone approached “thinking aloud” differently and so the qualitative data between different participants varied greatly. It would have helped to provide the participants with more of a clear framework of the things to let me know as an evaluator perhaps – this comes as a trade off perhaps though, because you want data which is really accurate to what the user is thinking and not misconstrued by adapting the data for the kind of data I wanted to collect.
1) How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
Our group chose the sleeping on aeroplane problem. Physically acting this out, helped us contextualise the problem spatially and gain a better insight into the proximity of other passengers and the seats in front and behind us. This helped us recognise the physical constraints we were working within.
2) Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through body storming? In what way?
When we considered an idea, we then were able to contextualise it to consider if it was actually feasilble. Body storming was particularly useful in this regard because there is such limited space on an aeroplane. Often we were able to adapt our ideas to suit the physical constraints of an aeroplane.
3) What was difficult or challenging about body storming?
It was difficult to activate our imaginations to not only consider the plane row we were enacting but also think about our space in the broader context of a plane and then consider that we had theoretically already been flying for a few hours. I also found it hard to imagine my group as complete strangers on an aeroplane and how I would interact with them differently if I did not know them.
4) Does body storming lend itself to certain types of problems?
Body storming can feel childish and play-like. It that sense, sometimes it could be difficult to try and recreate a scene which is a serious representation of reality. If it distorts reality, sometimes solutions could not be feasible or practical in reality. Body storming really needs to be carried out in the actual context of the problem later in the ideation phase to test again and try and envisage new solutions again. It is a useful tool but must be considered as only a part of the ideation phase.
Blog reflection 5
1) How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?
It was different to how I usually approach a problem. Usually, I envisage a solution to fit a broader range of people which meets their needs on some sort of mediatory level. In this extreme user case, I set out to solve the problem with the mindset that I wanted to create the best possible solution catered directly for the explicit needs and frustrations of my user. I was able to target the product so specifically. However, it may have not been a suitable product for anyone apart from my user because it was so explicitly tailored. Overall, it was an interesting exercise in considering alternate ways to approach a design solution.
2) Did any of the other design thinking techniques help you work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?
Storyboarding was a very helpful technique because it easily allows you to see how your solution would be used in the context of a problem. Providing a context helps to solidify how a product could work in reality. It was also a very helpful tool when communicating ideas amongst our group.
Blog Reflection 4
1) Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise.
a) Reflective listening
By nature, I think I am quite a reflective person and usually just let the person I’m taking to speak and offer simple phrases and words like “yes” “ok” “I understand” and “that’s interesting” to give the person validation that I am listening. For some people, that is enough, for others, I think the reflective listening technique can work well – it really depends who you are talking to and what their personality is like.
I think the reflective listening technique is very helpful for me when discussing a complex topic or having something taught to me. It gives the teacher in the scenario validation that what they are saying is being absorbed mindfully. It gives them a chance to see gaps in my understanding or if I have in any way misconstrued the information being presented. In a basic scenario about having a conversation about a simple topic with little depth of difficult concepts, it is not as beneficial.
b) Defamiliarisation of everyday reality
The text which I wrote revealed a lot of things about myself I had not consciously realised before. Doing this activity with two sperate contexts (train and bus) also helped to consolidate my findings and recognise patterns between each scenario. For example, the very first thing I would focus on would be sound and that constituted about a third of my writing. The rest was primarily dedicated to colour palate and my thoughts. I found it interesting that all of my thoughts and reactions I wrote down nearly correlated perfectly with the type of sounds and the quality of sounds in the recording. I never realised how much attention I paid to auditory cues.
c) Empathic Modelling
I found myself focusing on light and the way light behaved a lot more than usual during this activity. We also did an activity where one person closed their eyes and the other directed them where to go and then instructed them to touch an object – I found this activity very interesting because even though my vision was compromised with the cling wrap, I still relied on my compromised vision far more than my other senses. This was really highlighted to me when we did the exercise without sight.
Tutorial 3 – Personas
1. Describe your experience of creating personas from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or did it make more sense to create a second different persona?
We found that 2 participants correlated quite strongly across the variables we mapped out. However, the other two participants were somewhat discordant although they did align with some opinions/variables. Perhaps if we had more data, stronger trends would start to emerge and we could create personas which were more strongly grounded in both qualitative opinions and quantitive data.
From our data, we had one strong persona and a second one which had a combination of thoughts from the remaining two participants – some of these thoughts were shared between the two actual participants, but for other opinions, we needed to agree to a compromise because of the differing opinions. It was important for us to remember that we were creating an archetype of a user, rather than a stereotype – it was ok, as long as the data we used was broadly representative.
2. Do you think your final persona(s) was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?
I feel that we were very lucky how closely our data aligned for our primary persona. I feel that given the small sample size of participants, we did well creating a persona which would generate empathy for our users. However, if we had interviewed more people and had more data to draw observations from, I feel that we would have been able to create a more representative archetype which would have been more successful in generating empathy with users. I would change the sample size of participants and also map the data against a wider range of
I would change the sample size of participants and also map the data against a wider range of variables to consider opinions, needs, motivations and frustrations from more angles. This would generate a more relatable persona.
1) How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?
Through this exercise, I was able to see a helicopter view of the user’s interests, needs, motivations and frustrations. This really helped me gain an overview of the user’s situation, context and personality which assisted in me being able to see “the big picture”. Once I was able to consider all the facts I was able to empathise better.
2) How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?
Affinity mapping helped me take the idea of building empathy with users one step further because the facts and insights on the initial observation level post-it notes were not given any special hierarchy which differentiated them from other notes. For example, a note which says “The user is frustrated by the lack of information online about restaurants when travelling” is given the same visual hierarchy as a note which says “The user is motivated to travel because he likes to experience new cultural experiences” even though the user stressed the latter multiple times, it only has one note attributed to it.
Because of this even visual hierarchy when affinity mapping, we can consider ALL aspects of motivations, frustrations, needs, interests etc. on an even playing field without the user biasing the solution to address only the problem they stress the most in an interview. In this way, a more comprehensive solution can be created. However, it would be helpful to revisit the initial research to validate that the user’s most pertinent frustrations were addressed in a comprehensive manner.
When designing a solution for the user, it is helpful to consider the big picture while also taking into consideration small details. In this way, we can design a solution which truly solves a real problem and addresses the needs of the user – perhaps without them even realising it!
3) What was different or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?
I found it difficult that everyone in the group wrote their notes in a different way i.e. some used full sentences, others used dot points etc. This inconsistency made it more difficult to place notes because some with too much information on the one note fell into multiple categories. Next time, I would agree on a standardised way to write the notes before beginning.
From some people’s notes, I did not know what they meant by them, this meant that when everyone was mid-work-flow, we all had to stop so the person who wrote the note could explain the original intention. Next time, as people place the notes on the board, I would get the author to explain in the beginning what they meant.