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?
I think that taking the position of an Extreme User is a fine way to start developing your design. Actually I often do think how the end user would experience and perceive the final product. Because a satisfied user or customer is something the businesses do value. And even in artistic productions it’s often thought how the audience might react to and interpret certain choices. Using the Extreme User approach is a natural continuum to using personas and can be used in conjunction with affinity diagrams. I guess “being” the user as in this case is an extreme form of empathy. Because of our users were almost like caricatures, that allowed very unrestricted paths for the design challenge.
2. 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?1.
Using storyboards is actually one of my favourite ways of modelling different experiences and products. I used mostly that to collaborate with my team members. I think using stories was overall our team’s favourite way of developing our idea from start to finish. Stories might be easier to come up with than storyboards because you don’t need to think about the visual execution. Personally my opinion is still that “a picture is worth thousand words”.
We didn’t really use design provocation cards for this assignment. However when browsing through them they seemed intriguing. I might get a pack of those for me and use them to stimulate my brain in my future design assignments.
1. How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?
I think that when an user is encouraged to speak their mind, it’s possible to get insight that might have been overlooked during the actual product design process. An interview with open questions is a viable way to do this as far as I know. Being empathetic and really trying to understand how the other person feels and experiences something is really helpful in many ways. In this exercise we all got the possibility to read actual interview data. When reading the text I tried to empathise with the person but also find the useful information amidst the chit-chat. However reading the “chit-chat” thoughtfully brought me also information about the person and the way he thinks about things overall.
2. How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?
The data must be in some coherent form in order to make the most out of it. Clustering is a way to make it coherent. It reminds me of scientific approach to documenting phenomena. You search for regularities that keep happening and make connections. From there you can approach the possible solutions and explanations. When all the information is visible at the same time, it helps to make all those connections.
3. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?
The most challenging part in this approach is coming up with fitting categories. But that’s also the strength of the technique because you start thinking about the connections between single pieces of information. Also you need to separate useful interview information from the useless and I think the ability to do that perfectly only comes with practice and experience. Later on when I checked what I had marked from the interview, I noticed that I had marked also non-relevant information. Maybe the next time I could aim for certain pieces of information and try to categorise it better.
1. Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or would it have made more sense to create a second different persona?
Our team’s subject was public transportation. We all shared very similar experiences and our perspectives were close to each other’s. I think that public transport shares these universal attributes so great differences in our ways to perceive it would have been unlikely. That might also have been a slight problem. Because all of the opinions were quite similar there wasn’t really conflicting views that might have sparked some creative discussion or even debate. A second different persona wasn’t needed in our case. Or at least based on our interview data. If we would had more variance in our data, then the another persona could have been useful.
Overall the experience was interesting. I find it intriguing to make sense of raw data and make deductions based on it.
2. Do you think your final persona was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?
Because of the universal nature of public transport regarding the user experience, I think our persona is a viable one. He might be a general persona, but public transport should serve the “average joe”. Public transport could be developed at least a little bit further based on our persona, and I think that matters the most. To make our persona better I think that increasing the amount of data that the persona is based upon should make it more deeper.
Update: The questions asked by Carlos, Hugh and Michael were as following:
“Tell me more about how virtual reality is related with interaction, is it intuitive?”
“Have you thought about do (virtual reality) glasses look good enough for non-nerds?”
“Have you thought about having a social aspect in virtual reality?”
“Tell me more about how will VR work?”
“Tell me more about how “flexibility” will be incorporated?”
- How did working through different materials help you to explore and express potential solutions to a design problem?
The goal in this exercise was to design a chair for Maggie Simpson, who likes her independency of movement and doesn’t like to be restricted to static positions.
The limited time really got me this time and I struggled to even get the prototypes constructed properly. My best sketch had to be severely simplified in order to get anything ready. Despite that I think I managed to construct a prototype that in some way captured the Maggie’s need to be unrestricted.
When my “rocking tube” went through its three variants made from cardboard, pipe cleaners and tooth picks, I was able to witness the strengths and weaknesses of my idea. My design philosophy in this particular task was “less is more” so I tried to follow that the best way I could.
2) What kinds of information and inspiration did the different materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?
My favourite material was definitely cardboard. That enabled me to build the best prototype considering the structure of my chair idea. Pipe cleaners couldn’t represent my idea properly, because I had this huge tube in my prototype. Also the tooth picks were quite challenging because of that same reason. It was fun however to see the different versions of the same idea. When constructing a chair choosing the correct materials is one of the key decisions. So it is with prototypes too.
3) What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?
I didn’t actually change anything, because the materials barring cardboard didn’t really depict my vision. The different materials brought forth different notions of the structure of the chair. The most crucial thing in building the prototype was balancing it correctly and creating some kind of a tube.
4) How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?
If there’s room for improvement, then I would certainly try to increase the freedom of movement in some way. Maybe adding wheels or something. For an active baby that likes to move around and experience little challenge my “rocking tube” would satisfy those needs at least partially. The actual chair would include mechanism that would allow the chair to rock from one side to another. Like something from her favourite playground (when she’s old enough to go in one). She’s being one-year-old, the real chair would be very soft and low so accidents wouldn’t happen.