How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users? 

The interviews helped me not only identify and understand the user’s needs, wants and motivations it also helped me identify areas of potential need.

In being able to read through their experiences the common themes were things that we could all relate to in our way of thinking about experiencing new things vs being comfortable and set in our ways. It helped to understand areas of weakness and strength and mirror them with life experiences we might have had to form an association with the user and understand the roots of their needs and actions by being able to understand the emotionalIMG_20160803_202538 IMG_20160803_202534 13844295_10154026594369635_1330749998_o IMG_6642 components of their successes, difficulties, and priorities when experiencing travel and family.

How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs? 

The clustering of information allowed us to identify common areas of need and highlighted some areas we may not have been able to clearly identify quickly without undergoing the exercise. It allowed us to form a more concrete picture of how certain needs impact experiences and thoughts around things like technology, personal habits, encountering new things etc.

The end result was a much stronger identification of user need in to clear areas to then focus on how we might meet those needs or provide innovative thinking around servicing or bettering initial ideas about what the user might require given a set of scenarios or experiences.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

The main challenge I found was using the right language in conveying and grouping need. Language is really important to get right when grouping and I found it hard to fit the right language to a group of needs.

The other thing I found particularly difficult was mixing a number of people’s different ideas on post it notes as some people tended to focus on certain things which may not have been so need oriented or were general observations. So grouping those was tricky because the underlying need wasn’t clearly identified on the post it so it made it difficult to fit it into a given group or even a new grouping on its own.

I don’t feel like there was enough time to complete the exercise in the tute and even with the walk around enough explanation of why some people’s were better than others and a discussion/review of what went well and didn’t in the exercise. I would have liked the tutors to sum up some of the key strengths/weaknesses from the groups but there simply wasn’t enough time.

How would you do it better next time?

Take more time to be clearer with language and take more time to understand every post it should link back to a need and re-write/re-think the categorisation.