1. How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?
I realised that when writing down observations (vs just reading the transcripts), the interviewee’s needs, attitudes and behaviour became more obvious and pronounced which allowed me to identify overarching trends more clearly.
Admittedly, at the beginning of the transcript, I felt it was difficult to build empathy with the interviewee since his perceptions, behaviour and travel habits were very hard to relate to and understand. I also felt at times very frustrated because the interviewee was often hypocritical in his recounts and quite stubborn in his ways. However, over time, as the interviewer dug deeper and asked more questions, I was able to build a pretty good profile of the interviewee which made me understand his background and behavioural tendencies a bit more. As a result, I was more empathetic in my observations of him.
2. How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?
Yes in that despite the varied and dynamic personalities of the various interviewees, we could start to visualise the similarities and identify commonalities of needs/attitudes amongst the participants. It also helped me align my observations in relation to other people’s findings versus focussing too much on my interviewee’s isolated needs – which are not necessarily indicative of the overarching issues presented by the total group.
No, because of some challenges (see question 3) which impacted upon my ability to fully unlock the users’ needs and make inferences from the data.
3. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?
I found this activity quite challenging for a couple of reasons:
- It was hard to cluster information when each team member had different interpretations of and ways to communicate the needs/insights of the interviewees (ie. some people went into a lot of detail versus others who summarised top line information). In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to have decided upon a consistent format, language and number of observations amongst the team prior to the exercise.
- Also, it wasn’t clear to me exactly what the brief was and what the context/background was behind the interviews. As a result, it was hard to decipher which observations were relevant versus our own personal interpretations of what might be useful information. For example, I wrote down a heap of observations because I wasn’t sure exactly what was relevant and so I didn’t want to miss out on any information that could potentially be helpful. Had I been given background information or was clear on what the project/brief was, it would have made a huge difference in focusing on observations that were useful.
- Probably as a consequence of point 2, there were A LOT of post-it notes within our group which then needed to be categorised. Unsurprisingly, this took a lot of time and effort especially because we all had different interpretations of the data and how to categorise these in the best way. As a result, there were quite a few ambiguous and repetitive categories which without knowing what the brief was, I’m not sure whether these categories were useful or insightful in any way.
Until next week,