From the outset of the research/questioning phase of the exercise I identified that my partner wanted to give a birthday gift of chocolate cake to a platonic female friend. What appeared at first as a simple interaction became far more complex as I probed deeper. The user believed that the recipient of the gift wanted to begin a romantic relationship with him, while he wanted to clearly demonstrate that friendship was his aim. During questioning, the user disclosed that he felt that anything with high monetary value would have a romantic connotation, therefore he believed that a gift of low or moderate price would diffuse any romantic subtext for good. The prototype I put forward to address this problem was packaging which would clearly impart that the gift had been inexpensive.
- How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?
Working in direct contact with a real person and user was extremely helpful when conducting research and gaining feedback on the user’s gift giving experience. Working face to face with a user allowed me to not only listen to the user, but also observe the user’s non-verbal cues. If I had conducted a remote email based survey of my user, I would not have picked up cues that there was more context behind his gift giving experience. My initial assumption was that the user would want to impress or ingratiate himself with the individual he was giving a gift to, but by probing my user’s intentions I revealed the exact opposite which drastically shifted my thinking on an initial prototype.
- What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?
It was mildly unpleasant to feel as though I did not have enough time to fully expand upon a design or deeply reflect on the users entire experience. Ultimately though having an unfinished design allowed me to easily incorporate feedback from the user into the prototype before my own thoughts became too ridged or linear.
- As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?
When I was presented with an equally lowly-resolved prototype as a user I was open to the possibilities and tried to steer the designer towards what I felt would be beneficial or useful in my eyes. By being consulted during the early phase of the designs development I felt I was invested in this and future prototypes, and part of the design process.
- Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?
I would have spent more time with the user and delving more in depth into his intentions and expectations of his gift giving experience. I would have tried to push the user more to describe his gift recipient and asked questions provoking him to think about his experience and the gift recipient’s experience. I would have also produced a wider variety of designs during the early phase to experiment more with the user and harvest more feedback.
- What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?
I would infuse my work with greater breadth of design before approaching a trial user. I would collect more information from the user and tried to speak to other users who are in similar conditions. I would also keep in mind the principle that the user is both a user and a designer who has practical information about the perspective of all potential users.