- 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).