- Choose one object and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise.
At the beggining, it was difficult to think about different affordances. It was easier for some objects and really difficult for others.I will choose dental floss. When thinking about it and how it could be used in a different environment, I imagined that dental floss can have similar affordances as any thin (very thin) thread. You can hang, tie, decorate with it or even use it as a headband or ring (for example, if you think that a kid is playing with it).
2. In the second exercise we explored how different users interact with chop sticks. We realized that for many people is not as easy to use them as it looks. By adding some extra features, we discovered that the same sticks could be transformed in “learning sticks” for people who doesn´t know how to use them. These new features also were very helpful when we changed our partner´s ability (making it more difficult to intercat with it fingers, which is crucial when using chop sticks), so we felt it was a good design improvement, that converted a hidden affordance into a perceptible affordance.
- What kind of information did it give you about the usability of the prototype?
I think both techniques helped gather information about the emotions/feelings/thoughts risen in the user while performning the tasks or interacting with the protoype. Moreover, they help rise positive and (specially) negative features and issues of the prototype. The user behavior was more useful to gather non-verbal information because you focused on the physical reactions of the user, while the think-aloud helped the observer understand better which actions/steps of the task and which features where the ones that caused those physical reactions. By complementing both techniques, the observer can build a good picture of when, why and how the user felt with the prototype. It gave clues of which aspects annoyes the user, which ones enable it to perform the task, which features were memorable, useful or confusing, etc…so both techniques were very helpful to help the observer realize how the prototype could be improved based on the user experience.
2. What aspects of the techniques worked well or were frustrating?
In the user-observation it was difficult to concentrate on both the verbal and non-verbal behaviors of the user. In the think-aloud sometimes it was difficult to process the information, write it down and concentrate on what the user was saying next (specially collecting the data of the interface part/location was frustrating). I think that having at least 2 observers (one that focuses mainly on the verbal and one that focuses on the non-verbal or physical expressions can be useful). Even more, recording the evaluation could help the observers rise more issues that could have gone unnoticed in the real-time observation (in the tutorial we were not able to record because we could not record with the camera, observe and write down at the same time, we were only 3 per group).
By physically acting out to explore ideas, we were able to imagine better how the user felt in that particular situation, and surprising solutions/ ideas appeared for some of the issues raised during brainstorming (like the one someone in the group thought for solving the neighbour-bathroom problem on an airplane).Through bodystorming, we discovered new perspectives on the same issue, which could have gone unnoticed otherwise.
However, some of the issues raised were not necessarily solved through bodystorming but I think in those cases ideation and collaboration were key. Bodystorming was more useful when the “whole body” was involved in the problem/need, for example when a neighbour wants to go to the WC, but not bad smells or thick air. In those cases, brainstorming was more effective and building over others ideas was really useful too. I think a combination of different methods is a good way to ideate.
I received good feedback on my poster, and I believe because the topic I chose concern us all (or almost all). Specifically, my peers made the following comments:
- Have I thought about users connecting and commenting anonymously? Yes, one of the features of the web page and participation in conversations is precisely about that, anonymous participation for those who want that (I forgot to mention that during the 3 mn presentation).
- Suggested to have a look to: Are You Ok (month social events) and Yummly.
- I did not know that…people sharing little tips and advice on what works for them to calm down or reduce stress could be so useful
- Tell me more about your idea “The Mindful Watch”, I think that a wearable aiding people who experience negative mental issues is a solid idea (then the idea of complementing both of my ideas appeared, the watch and the well-being school).
- How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking…? It helped us focus on a solution related with the user values and interests, so in a sense we narrowed the possible ideas to relate them to the Extreme User. Instead of thinking on anything that we thought could be interesting for any person, new ideas came in, although all of them from the perspective of the chosen user (samaritan). By creating a character profile,it was easier to identify with it and be more emphathetic when ideating.
- Did any if the other design techniques help you to work through ideas….? The storytelling defenitely helped and the storyborad was a reflection our consversations and insights that appeared when telling the story, but it did not excatly helped to create more ideas. The storyboard was a consequence of the brainstorming & storytelling. By imagining a “true story” we were able to put ourselves on the shoes of the character and get more engaged. It also helped to combine, reinforce and compliment our ideas and collaborate better, creating a shared understanding of how the new solution should look like.
Q1. As a group, we chose to analyse the activity going to the supermarket. We were 6 people in the group and after the interviews, we came up with at least 15 variables that could affect how intervieews behave. After placing each one of us on the continuum of each variable, we started discovering patterns. However, the characteristics of the people interviewed were different enough to create a second, or even a third proto-persona. Some intervieewes were on the extremes of each variable , while others were more “average” or “balanced”. We also realized that some of the variables listed were not related or could not explain different behaviours ( such as age, occupation, background…) but were useful to give more details in order to describe a more realistic persona.
Q2. We did not had enough time to explore much about the frustrations and problems of the persona. We knew how she behaved when going to the supermarket but it would have been useful to dig more into the “whys” in order to define the persona´s goals and build more empathy. We also got a little trapped in describing the exact real person behing the persona, I know I should avoid this when doing this exercise next time and use the characteristics that are helpful to differentiate one persona from another.
1. How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?
This exercise challenged us to translate simple comments into user needs, frustrations, problems or desires. Instead of starting from pre-established, general statements (e.g., Some people like to feel like a local when they travel) we began the other way around, going from specific points or comments to more general insights. With the affinity diagram, you can get a better understanding of central themes. By starting from specific issues (e.g, I avoid tourist traps, I like to talk with locals, I love traditional food, I like to feel at home when I travel, I don´t use travel guides,etc.), you can
imagine how and why a user feels. What things are important for them in that particular context, what do they value, what things they like or dislike. You can put yourself in their shoes, and maybe you even feel identified with some of the issues they raise. With such a level of detail, you understand better their behaviours and build empathy.
2. How did the clustering of information help you understand user needs?
By clustering, you start seeing the “bigger picture” and discovering key insights. It helps the designer realise that by clustering a set of comments or issues (affinity notes) he/she can “find” unmet needs, something the user values in that context or a problem that could be solved or something to be improved. Starting with issues that might seem trivial or unimportant, you start finding key trends and insights on users needs and behaviour.
3. What was challenging with the technique?
The first challenge was that some of the yellow labels were a little ambiguous or confusing for other members of the group. Getting to a shared understanding on how to classify the affinity notes was also challenging. Especially because you have to find a general insight that captures the most important points, without being too abstract. I think that time was also an issue, so for the next time, it would be good that we read the interviews before (even twice), to be able to write as many affinity labels as possible and to get a better understanding of the user needs and behaviours.