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TABLE OF CONTENTS Interviews 4 Ethnography & Field Observations 6 Contextual Inquiry 9 Diary Studies 12 ELITO 14 Affinity Diagram 16 Artifact Analysis 18 Cultural Probe 20 Visual Ethnography 24 Mapping 26 Card Sorting 28 Embodied Design Techniques 30 Final Synthesis 32

Interviews A qualitative methods for digging deep


“The goal is to understand the needs and

Interviews in HCI are used to dive deep with a

challenges presented by a particular situation.

subject and ask questions that pertain to the

Once those needs are well-understood, you can

subject area.

move on to specific details that would lead to a concrete design.”1

“Direct conversations with fewer participants can provide perspectives and useful data


that surveys might miss. Conversations and

1. Always do a pilot interview.

interaction with the right people can be both a hugely important source of insight and significant challenge. What you ask, how you ask it, and who you ask can determine the difference between novel insight and wasted time.”1

• Get sense of if questions are on right track. 2. Ask people to list things for you. • “What kind of activity does your family do in the kitchen?” • “What games do you play on your phone?” 3. Ask people to tell you stories. • “I remember when “X”…”

Nature of the method

• You can get a sense of the mental models of

Interviewing is a user research method that yields

these people.

qualitative results. Interviewing is best suited for when you need to “go deep” with a subject about the concerns of a problem space.


Lazar. Research Methods in Interaction Design. Chapter 8

Interviews ∤ Page 4 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

INTERVIEWS Use Case: The Meaning of Comfort

RESEARCH Background For this project I interview 3 subjects at a mutual friend’s home. I had not met these subjects prior to the event. I chose this location because when I thought of comfort, myself, I was in a place where I was with familiar people. I wanted people to open up to me about the topic, rather than be bothered skeptics. Knowing a mutual party helped facilitate the conversations.


Distribution of Subjects - 2 Female - 1 Male - Ages 23-31 Questions Asked

An Interview Study of Personal Narratives By Julia Rickles

I asked each participant the following questions: 1. How do you define comfort? 2. Please recall and describe in detail a specific recent incident in which you experienced comfort?

Julia Rickles | I543 Interaction Design Methods | Spring 2014



“[Comfort] isn’t...”

The Internet of Things

My subjects had an easier time defining comfort by looking at the things it is not:

Comfort for Wearable Devices

Other Design Implications

“The Internet of Things” is a system

Of course, “The Internet of Things” is not

Also- notably, none of my subjects

- “no stress”

of technically enabled objects that all

limited to the home. Wearable devices

mentioned the use of technology in their

- “not having to worry about the opposite of comfort.. whatever that may be”

possess the ability to communicate with

are generating a lot of research and

comfort scenarios. This notion could be a

each other.

development. My interviews yielded the

strong consideration for making devices

following insight for wearable devices


- “Not being uncomfortable” These answers might suggest that comfort can be many things to people, but it is certainly preferable to uncomfortable situations or discomfort.

Comfort for Domestic Design

that wish to evoke comfort & travel with

“The Internet of Things”, as a concept, is

the user into the wild:

My interviewees were happy to reflect on their comfortable scenarios. They all smiled, laughed, looked up in wonderment. Their answers varied, but they all involved simple pleasures:

My subjects were also able to clearly define what comfort is not, so this

very much in it’s infancy, but one area

Comfort was comforting for people to think about

people predict this concept will enhance

Design Insight:

gives us metrics to define what is not

is in the home or, domestic design.

Since comfort is easily found in the

comfortable, or what body data devices

home, designing for comfort outside of

could be sensing for.

- “just kicking back... with a beer”

Design Insight:

the home will prove to be difficult, but

- “went to bed”

My interviews showed that comfort is

knowing the qualities of comfort can

However, all of my subjects gave

- “sipping a delicious cup of coffee”

easily found in the home or familiar

help pioneer this space.

different definitions of comfort, meaning there is no umbrella algorithm for

places, so comfort of users will need to

- “good music” Comfort is in the home My interviewees all mentioned the home as a place for comfort.

be a major design consideration before

One of my subjects associated warmth

comfort. Thought should be given on

Designers begin putting foreign devices

and “the sun” with comfort, which could

how these devices and technology

in homes.

become valuable bits of information for

can learn from users to customize

the design of a wearable device.


- “When I’m with my family or at home. Not working.” - “Sitting in my dining room” - “... went home and went to bed”

Julia Rickles | I543 Interaction Design Methods | Spring 2014

Julia Rickles | I543 Interaction Design Methods | Spring 2014


INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT Please recall & describe in detail a specific recent incident in which you experienced comfort?


How do you define comfort?

Subject 1 Female, 27

“Not being uncomfortable. The absence of pain, and adversary conditions”.

“Yes! Sitting in my dining room, sipping a delicious cup of coffee, as the sun streamed through the window… and there was good music on”.

As she answered; she looked toward the sunny window and smiled. She had trouble with the first question.. As if she was afraid to be wrong and no problem answering the second. I think the moment she was talking about had just happened.

Subject 2 Male, 31

[Laughs] “Hmm.. I guess, simplistically, just not having to worry about the opposite of comfort.. Whatever that may be”.

“Lets see.. hmm.. Alright, so the last time it snowed really bad, my truck spun out.. I had to push it out, it was cold and gross, i got home, took off all my wet clothes, went home and went to bed.”

He began story with a laugh, as well. Definition was linear argument. His story followed the same flow. First he encountered an uncomfortable situation, shortly after, his comfort was renewed. He was grateful for comfort. Bad memories typically stand out over good memories

“Umm, i guess umm… no stress, feeling at ease with, not just physically, but mentally as well. A good stiff drink (laughs).”

“Right now! [laughs] comfort happened the most when I’m with my family or at home. Not working. Not just laying around, but not worrying about daily things, like the stress of a job or money.. Just kicking back.. with a beer [laughs]”.

She was next to boyfriend, subject 2, and looked back at him for agreement. It was Sundayshe definitely was comfortable and seemed like she had no intention of doing work.

Subject 3 Female, 23

Julia Rickles | I543 Interaction Design Methods | Spring 2014

Julia’s Notes

• Responses are personalized • Deep, in depth answers • Not based on statistics

Limitations • • • •

Not based on science User group can be limited Responses can be off topic Time consuming

Interviews ∤ Page 5 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Ethnography & Field Observations An immerse method to get to know a population


Ethnographies are long term engagements between a researcher and a user population. The

• •

more honest snap shot. •

“The description of ethnography as the in a group to develop an understanding of the group is straight from social science research... Ethnography can help in providing an understanding of the context in which specific interfaces or systems are developed

Ethnography is done in the field and is best suited for long term engagements. The goal is to deeply get to know a population and gain understanding.

Long term engagement. Really big time commitment.

First hand exposure with a particular community. In the Understand process, beliefs, culture, how they do what they do.

• 1

You are immersed in the environment. Lazar. Research Methods in Interaction Design. Chapter 9

in public you can be anonymous.

when it’s private you have to be known

Perspective changing, you form relationships and you Relationship is key- something the community does not

This give researchers a LOT a data.

Triangulation: you always have a wide range of types of data: video, interviews, photos, etc. You want to put them all together to see things form many perspectives.

Premature Closure: how do you know when you need to end study? It will depends.

What can you see in ethnographic field work?

You will distinguish between Practices: •

Consistent behavior, recurring actions/activities.

Routines, where they’re interrupted- break downs, repairs, negotiations.

wild, not in the lab. •

like will effect what they’ll allow you to see.

Characteristics of Ethnography •

Public vs. Private:

often keep those.

and implemented.”1

Nature of the method

Unlike interviews: gradually people become used to you very good at describing what they do, ethnography is a

community and analyze research results through

practice of using some form of participation

You can’t have an end goal in mind.

being there and stop holding back. Also, people aren’t

researcher’s goal is to become immersed in a an inductive analysis.

Inductive: you collect data and create theory around it.

[Longest length]

Episodes: •

More dramatic, more remarkable.

ex: Weddings and Collaring in Second Life

Ethnography & Field Observations ∤ Page 6 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Ethnography & Field Observations CONTINUED

• •

[Medium Length]



Happens briefly. Few people.

How do you know you’re looking at right thing or

ex: conversation at a party. Starts and end


not missing anything? 1. Make a research plan.

Roles & Social Types (deal with actors)

2. Do data analysis right away.

Roles: Formal (doctor) and informal (healer,

3. This analysis can guide you.

maternal) roles people fulfill to community

4. Look for patterns. Chances are, things that our

Social Types: Smart ass, girl next door, etc.

routine, will happen again and again.

• •

Social & Personal Relationships

Groups, Cliques, and Organizations •

groups: inter circle.

Vertical cliques: top (chief), subordinates, etc.

Horizontal clique: not everybody can be in group, but members are not in hierarchical layers in terms of role. All members are equal.

Settlements & Habitats:

Subcultures & Lifestyles: •

subculture: goth, LARPing

lifestyle: working class

Ethnography & Field Observations ∤ Page 7 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Ethnography & Field Observations Case Study Clutter and Hoarding in the Home



Field Researcher Julia Rickles

Subject’s Sunroom Layout



Legend: • A- Love Seat • B- Side Table with magazines • C- Rug • D- Dining Chair 1 • E- Heater • F- Long Table • G- Wall (back of chimney) • H- Bar with shelves over it. Loaded with photos and artifacts. • I- Plant • J- Small Dining Table • K- Dining Chair 2 • L- Chair • - Window • - Door o R1 – Researcher Julia (seated) o R2 – Researcher Gengsu (seated) o S1 – Subject Barbie (seated) o RC – Researcher comment (insession) o RN – Researcher notes (reflection) • Notes: This layout is not drawn to scale

• Responses are personalized • Lets you really get to know subject population • Feels thorough and in-depth • You meet interesting people and learn a lot!

Limitations • Requires a lot of work! • Hard to distinguish what is important • Would require a large budget & a lot of time • Did not lead to any truly unique insights, but our project was short term.

Female, 75-85 years old, worked as a teacher for many years before retirement. She lives in Bloomington, IN with her husband. She has 2 children and several grandchildren. She has hosted many foreign exchange students over the years, especially with the “Worldwide Friends” organization. Through this program she has made many friends around the world, and her home is filled with artifacts from her travels and gifts from her guests. This is the couples “retirement home”, so they have had to get rid of and store a lot of items in their move to this downsized home. The researchers arrived at the subject’s home at 9:50am. After introductions and formalities, we followed our subject to the sunroom where we set up and began to draw the space. The subject was put in touch with researcher Gengsu through her friend, a Chinese student who is hosted by our subject and her husband. The couple’s relationship is that of people who have lived together for many decades, our subject often sarcastically remarks on many of her husband’s habits. One major thing I noticed was that even in her old age, our subject’s memory was extremely sharp. She was able to name the place of origin and any associated story for all of the items she shared with us. Gengsu knew that our subject liked to show off her home and we expected the interview to go smoothly. I543 Interaction Design Methods (Spring 2014)

Fieldnote Template

Ethnography & Field Observations ∤ Page 8 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Contextual Inquiry A field data-gathering technique


Contextual inquiry makes the researcher the observer to the subject, who becomes the master. The goal is to learn that person’s work-flow.

3. Interpretation 1. You are going to have some sort of interpretation session with people you studied.

Contextual Inquiry is a field data-gathering

2. You need to walk them through

technique that studies a few carefully selected


individuals in depth to arrive at a fuller

3. Through a conversation, you need them to

understanding of the work practice across all

tell you if your notes are correct.

customers. Through inquiry and interpretation

4. Focus

it reveals commonalities across a system’s

1. You must go in with clear focus

customer base. It is about watching the subject

2. Use this to guide you’re inquiry.

perform a task and learning how an actually person actually uses something.1

Nature of the method How to: 1. Ask people to verbalize what they’re doing. 2. Ask questions along the way

You study the person who actually uses that piece of software. • Context is everything • Not future or past use, you’re studying present use How many?

Four Components:

• 4-6

1. Context 1. Must go to user’s environment. Not Starbucks. 2. Partnership 1. You are going to have some sort of dialogue 2. Not silent observation 3. But not interrupting, it’s a balance. 1 Contextual Design: Defining Customer-centered Systems, Hugh Beyer, Karen Holtzbla


• The more focused your inquiry, the less people you can use.

How is it different from Usability Test: • It’s not in the lab. • You also have set tasks in usability tests. • You are boss in UT, but in CI, you are the apprentice.

Contextual Inquiry ∤ Page 9 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Contextual Inquiry A field data-gathering technique

What to collect: • What they do • What they say • How they do it

SPRING 2014 | I543 Interaction Design Methods

• Sequences

Resourcefulness of Everyday Design

• Methods

Julia Rickles | Gengsu Tu

• Tools • Problems and interruptions • How do they come back form interruption • What kinds of interactions they have


« Researcher Julia Rickles, Gengsu Tu « Subject Judith Sylvester, Conservator « Location Storage, the Mathers Museum of World Culture (Anthropology Museum on campus) « Date Feb.7 2014 « Time 2:10p.m. - 3:20p.m. « Project introduction The project aims to investigate the ways in which non-designers engage in design in their everyday lives. Within the process of observation and inquiry, we will figure out the user/designer’s mental model they built, the tools they use, and the terminology they use to describe, methods, goals and values.


1. Ask obvious questions. • You want to have a conversation without interrupting. • Move conversation from: General > Specific > Commentary on action 2. Some people will be guarded

Our subject Judy works as a conservator at the Mathers Museum. She designs and creates storage mounts for ethnographic artifacts, and with very little money in budget, she has to scrounge a lot and find alternative uses for day-today things. The “Hanging Roll” is one of her designs.

3. Watch out for complaints or wishes for system • These are emotional out bursts.





• It’s not directly related to task at hand • Circle, note down, and ask for them to elaborate later.

Knowing the model being used allows you to capitalize on that understanding and meet people’s expectations.1

« Problem

4. Balance need for depth and breath • One task or big picture? 5. You need to learn some, and then suppress what

The museum collects and stores many types of textiles, of varying ages from

varying locations. Judy designed the “Hanging Roll” about seven years ago for the storage of irregular textiles that are “in between an article of clothing and a flat textile”. She found when a textile is of an irregular form, traditional storage methods do not suit (i.e. folded into boxes, hung on padded hangers, rolled up flat textile). Our subject shows us a particular

you know!

example of an irregular textile form that calls for the use of the “Hanging

• You’re studying the persons practice, not their performance


Roll”. The artifact of interest is a oneof-a-kind cloth that our subject notes “cannot be rolled because it does not open up completely flat… if we rolled it, it would cause a wrinkle. Overtime, [the wrinkle] would break the fibers”. She shows that by hanging it on the “Hanging Roll”, it lets the folds of the garment be relaxes.

1 Kuniavsky Chapter 8, Contextual Inquiry P175

Contextual Inquiry ∤ Page 10 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Contextual Inquiry

Use Case: Everyday Design

Project introduction The project aims to investigate the ways in which non-designers engage in design in their everyday lives. Within the process of observation and inquiry, we will figure out the user/designer’s mental model they built, the tools they use, and the terminology they use to describe, methods, goals and values. Our subject Judy works as a conservator at the Mathers Museum. She designs and creates storage

Strengths • Responses are personalized • Get to know subject’s habits and mental model well • Form relationship with user • Discover things past an interview

Limitations • Good for usage, not for lifestyle • You get complaints about other areas • Sometimes best technique is beyond a UX designer’s skill set

mounts for ethnographic artifacts, and with very little money in budget, she has to scrounge a lot and find alternative uses for day-to-day things. The “Hanging Roll” is one of her designs.

Contextual Inquiry ∤ Page 11 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

DIARY STUDY Self-reporting Logs


Diary Studies are user generated logs about a chosen topic. “Pencil-and-paper journals in which users are requested to log their actions and observations while interacting with a product. This is a method for exploring the relationships between human behavior and artifacts (material culture) in all times and places.” [Assignment 4 Document] “Diary or journals are guiding artifacts that allow people to conveniently and expressively convey personal details about their daily life and events to design teams” 1

Nature of the method • Useful as a supplement to other methods. • You get to hear their thoughts from that moment, it’s not a reflection. • Super structured to not as structured. • Can be paper or electronic • But- people will not always write in them. Some people are uncomfortable with this.


Procedures Designing The Form 1. Date and Time: people feel different at night than in the morning 2. Location: “As you were beeped, where are you?” 3. A person’s activity: “As you were beeped, what was the main thing you were doing?” “What else were you doing at the time?” 4. Companionship: “Who were you with?” 5. Internal: Questions that inquire about the subjects’ thoughts and feelings. 6. General Rules • Mix of qualitative and quantitative • Forms shouldn’t be more than 2 pages per day. • It’s best to do the worksheet by day. • You can collect them as time goes by and notice problems more easily. • A whole week can be misplaced, not the safest for keeping. 7. Do a pilot test: • Pick out what seems confusing, what to take out.

Universal Methods of Design. Martin and Hanington.

Diary Studies ∤ Page 12 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014


Use Case: The Stories of Mundane Tech


For this project I deployed one notebook to one subject. I instructed her to write down and sketch any encounters with mundane technology over the course of 3 days (2/12/14 - 2/15/13). On the afternoon of the third day, my subject and I sat down for an interview to discuss the studies results.

Strengths • • • •

First person perspective Get to know subject’s habits well The subject has room to explore ideas Quick impressions from subject’s POV

Limitations • The subject is often bad at keeping up with the responsibility of the diary • The pressure made my subject feel like a “bad subject” • Many entries were lacking depth and done last minute because I nagged her

Chart derived from my subject’s diary.

Diary Study ∤ Page 13 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

ELITO METHOD A way to triangulate data as a team


The ELITO Method is used to analyze and synthesize data collected after some sort of fieldwork. “The ELITO method is used to develop solid design arguments grounded in research observations and anchored to business directives.”1

Nature of the method • The team forms a shared vocabulary and


Use spread sheet or white board • 5 columns for every piece of data: • Observation - see read hear • Judgment - your opinion about observation • Value - what values are ultimately at work? • Concept/Sketch - what can the design team do to solve the problem or create value? • Key Metaphor - What is hook for this story? Memorable tag line.

collective memory • Provides structure for collecting data

1 Martin & Hanington, Universal Methods of Design, p. 70-71 ELITO ∤ Page 14 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014




We conducted the ELITO Method based on our ethnography assignment. The outcome was a 50 line excel document and 10 concept sketches.


Limitations • The process was time consuming • Concepting on the fly was difficult and led to • We didn’t really use our Key Metaphor column in the end

• It was easy for us to work in separate locations • Coming back to the excel doc lead to new ideas • The final process of cutting up the lines of logic helped formulate new ideas and make connections • We had to work quickly and couldn’t dwell on making anything too perfect, leading to a low stress environment

ELITO ∤ Page 15 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

AFFINITY DIAGRAM A way to find patterns in data


Affinity Diagramming is a way for groups to look at data and work together to make sense of it. It is an analysis method to triangulate data. “Affinity diagrams and consolidated work models show how individual examples of work practice are instances of overarching patterns that define the whole population, and they provide concrete representations of those patterns.”


Procedures 1. 2. 3. 4.

Generate Items Display Items Sort into Categories Draw Finished Diagram

Tips: • Write down date on post it notes. • Affinitze Silently • Go for gut reactions • Handle disagreements carefully*

Nature of the method • Typically uses sticky notes and a white board.

• Let people talk, motivate why. • Clarify what you’re writing in each phase so teammates are in same realm

• As a group: • Write insights separately • Analyze as a group • Find patterns • Good for: • Beginning, whenever • Expanding & Generates ideas • Creating new perspectives • When the solution is not readily apparent • When there are too many variables to consider 1 Beyer et al, CH 9. Affinity Diagram ∤ Page 16 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014




Our affinity diagram helped us to categorize Judy’s (our contextual inquiry subject) priorities and reassess what we knew about her job and everyday design. We separated her job as a conservator from the artifact specific (Hanging Roll) facts. One thing that can be seen in our affinity diagram is clear reasons why Judy developed the Hanging Roll: there was no available object to suit her need. It also looked at the process of her development: Judy developed a prototype to work out problem and then source the most suitable materials. We could also refresh what we knew about the tools and materials used as well as dig into the thought behind the functionality of the Hanging Roll and it’s parts.

Strengths • Quick generative tool • Easy to visualize connections of data • Interactive activity generates good conversation amongst teammates. • Gets team off computer to solve problems • Concepting was quick and easy after diagramming • Insights are quick still feel logical

Limitations • Would be good to leave up in workspace and not have to take it down (shared studio and 1 week time-line made this difficult) • Some details are relatively unimportant • Hard to see things in new way once they’re been sorted

Affinity Diagram ∤ Page 17 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

ARTIFACT ANALYSIS Understanding materiality


Artifact analysis looks at the materiality of an item, making the researcher formulate insights based on the potential of the item. “Artifact Analysis asks: what do objects have to say about people and their culture, time and place?”


Nature of the method Strategies for the study of everyday objects: Material ecology Emphasis placed on the extent to which an artifact participates in a system of artifacts and the possible interaction among artifacts, How things fit in system • 3 Kinds of Interactions: • Cooperative • Competitive • Independent Material Culture Emphasis is placed on told of artifacts in human meaning and activity • Artifacts are important less in their objective existence Museum Study • Material: natural vs human • Construction: how it came to be 1

• Function: what it does or used for and ways its function reveals intention • Provenance: history of artifact, when why how it was used • Value: value placed on artifact by creator, society, and social/cultural context. Classification • Intrinsically active: light switch • Intrinsically passive: photo • Normal use and alien use: hair as floss • Status object • Esteem objects • Collective objects: cutlery • Stigma objects: hoodie, sex toys • Social facilitators: facebook, board games • Occupational objects: meat thermometer • Indigenous objects and exotic objects: musical instruments Display Syntax • How objects are organized in relation to each other: highlighting vs understanding, clustering vs dispersing, status consistency and inconsistency Inferences • Cultural consumption • Knowledge, belief, ideology • • Use

Universal Methods of Design, Martin & Hanington

Artifact Analysis ∤ Page 18 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014



Objects we are familiar with become unrecognizable beyond their known use. This assignment takes a closer look at my desk lamp, specifically known as a “gooseneck lamp”. After an analysis I re-purposed this form into new designs for a sustainable future of the lamp.

Strengths • Makes you look at artifacts in new light • Deconstructions leads to new opportunities • Reuse is a sustainable thing

Limitations • Hard to see past intended use • I’m not quite sure when and where I would practically use this method.

Artifact Analysis ∤ Page 19 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

CULTURAL PROBE A way to triangulate data as a team


Cultural probes are designed objects, physical packets containing open-end tasks to engage users “The cultural probes—these packages of maps, postcards, and other materials—were designed to provoke inspirational responses from elderly people in diverse communities. Like astronomic or surgical probes, we left

Procedures 1. Define topic to explore 2. Recruit subject, get to know them 3. Build probe 4. Drop probe off with subject for a period of time 5. Remind subject to interact with probe 6. Pick it up and interview subject 7. Analyze results

them behind when we had gone and waited for them to return fragmentary data over time.”1

Nature of the method • Explore broad design space, spark design inspiration • Address intimate, idiosyncratic personal issues • Good when there is geographic and /or cultural distances • Good when used on unfamiliar group.

Art our subject made that was inspired by the probe.

1 BILL GAVER, TONY DUNNE AND ELENA PACENTI, Interactions Magazine, 1999

Cultural Probe ∤ Page 20 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014




We installed a cultural probe in the home of Taylor, a 25 year old male, to see how he would respond to how people deal with the loss of a relationship.

Strengths • Records personal events. • Captures emotions as they occur. • Design inspiration (can start the design process) • Yields insights that cannot be observed. • Provides insights of use, seeing how subjects use items they may not be familiar with.

Limitations • Too individualized. Would be hard to gain insights into groups and cultures. • Stream of consciousness • Objects disrupt a reflection process. • Focus is on the objects rather than allowing the test subject reflect on what they are thinking and express that. • While it captures insights on emotion, insights on activity are not readily shown. • Either conclusions must be drawn or other research methods incorporated. • Incredibly time consuming for unknown result.

Cultural Probe ∤ Page 21 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Genealogy & Landscape Analysis A way to understand user’s artifacts


Genealogy & Landscape Analysis allows us to dig into what people carry with them and why. “Artifacts are material things we encounter and use. They are ubiquitous in our lives and are an integral part of our daily experience. They also participate in much larger wholes, including spaces, ecologies, and human activities. In this assignment, we will continue our explorations of artifacts by bringing to bear both genealogical and landscape sensibilities to our understanding of personal possessions and how they forge meanings. Rooted in the Humanities, Genealogy is a form of analysis that traces the emergence, development, and transformations of a concept, type of artifact, or practice. Landscape analysis is derived from urban design that examines relationships and configurations of a set of artifacts in a given material ecology.”1

Nature of the method • By utilizing genealogy and landscape analysis along with other types of methods we can collect rich data for synthesis and form strong concepts from the insights obtained. • For example, a contextual inquiry into how the artifacts are used can give us a richer understanding of the artifacts. Interview questions can jog the participant’s memory. • By understanding the role that artifacts play in users’ lives, the design teams can be inspired to create responsive products and systems based on true needs and values.

Procedures 1. Define topic to explore 2. Recruit subject, ask to photograph the things they carry with them 3. Ask probing questions 4. Take photographs 5. Analyze the results by using landscape and genealogy to categorize groupings, and identify relationships

1 Our I543 Assignment 9 sheet Genealogy & Landscape Analysis ∤ Page 22 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014


Use Case: Genealogy and Landscape of Personal Possessions About


Through the genealogy and landscape analysis, we • One aspect of reality is better than no aspects explored the relationship between the artifacts and of reality. their owners. We observed how the objects carry • You can never get the whole story without meaning in the landscape of the backpack from talking to the person how she stores the artifacts to why she picked out • It can be quick and dirty, quick observation. the colors of the artifacts. Even if our participant does not consciously think about it, she has Limitations chosen the artifacts in her possession and they all • Discovering the participant’s deeper feelings have stories and purpose. This is exemplified in the about the artifacts takes a lot of time and two items we performed genealogical analyses on. Her computer and wallet both have rich stories probing. that extend beyond the meaning of their form. • When we first asked our participant which items carry sentimental value, she did not think any of the artifacts did. We had to dig deeper to get those very embedded, but significant details.

Genealogy & Landscape Analysis ∤ Page 23 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

VISUAL ETHNOGRAPHY Using image based research to design



Visual Ethnography is the use and potential of

1. Recruit subjects, in situ

photo + video + hyper-media in ethnographic and

2. Take photographs of them doing their day to

social research.

day work 3. Interview in tandem with photographs (best

“The method builds on earlier examinations of the unique properties of photographic articulation, interpretation and use, employing the inherent ambiguities of

done with a teammate who is taking photos) 4. Analyze photographs and triangulate with details from their interviews 5. Create designs based upon the insights

photographic imagery.”1

Nature of the method Why is the method good? • One aspect of reality is better than no aspects of reality. • You can never get the whole story without talking to the person • It can be quick and dirty, quick observation.

1 Dona Schwartz , University of Minnesota

Visual Ethnography ∤ Page 24 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014


Use Case: Visual Ethnography of People In Bloomington About

We ventured to the farmers market, a local co-op, a restaurant, and a brewery facility to profile these five unique individuals who call Bloomington home and are damn proud. Visual Ethnography is a powerful reflection tool for researchers. While transcribing an interview and writing observations provide researchers with rich data, the visual images allow the researches to uncover insights that might be hidden and deeply embedded in the subject’s life that they might not be aware of.

Strengths • Capture the essence of the subject in their work lives through the photo and the narrative. • Method used to build a case for the user • Able to see beyond the mundane nature of the artifact and understand the importance of why this artifact is embedded into the subject’s life

Limitations • It should be used with other methods to better analyze and develop insights for a design implication • Only see part of that subject’s life, not whole story

Visual Ethnography ∤ Page 25 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

MAPPING Charting an experience


Cognitive Mapping • How: Ask participants to map and existing

Mapping helps you showcase what you have learned from research.

or virtual space & show how they navigate it (spatial knowledge vs. spatial ability)

“Mental mapping is a research technique used

• Why: Gets people to describe + discover

in both psychology and geography for studying

significant elements, pathways, & other

cognitive orientation and spatial behavior”

spatial behavior associated w real or virtual



Nature of the method

Social Mapping


• Does technology play a role in space? If so,

• Cognitive Mapping


• Concept Mapping

• Used for HCI4D

• Mind Mapping • Territory Maps • Customer Journey Maps

Mind Mapping • A tool that enables designers to develop an understanding of and generate ideas about

Behavioral Mapping An observation technique that tracks behavior over space & time.

the problem space + highlight areas for further exploration. • It provides a foundation for designers to create guidelines for the projects user

Two Ways: • Place-centered mapping • Activities, you stay in one place • Individual-centered mapping • You shadow/follow a person.

research. • Resources: • Mind Jet • 99 mind mapping resources • Xmind

1 Mapping ∤ Page 26 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014


Photo by Mitch Spicer

Customer Journey Map Tool commonly used in services design. An

Use Case: Customer Journey Map

“oriented graph that describes the journey of a user by representing different touch points” • Benefits: highlights the gaps, pain points, and opportunities of the experience sloth from the perspective of the user and the provider. • Consider: Thought, Behavior, & Emotion, or: Frustration level, phases of journey • Other things to consider: • Emphasis is placed on making visible the experiences where she might have with service over time • Connecting through several touch points • You can show current + ideal


In class we watched a video about a girl who is sad and responds by knitting herself a boyfriend. In a team Mitch Spicer and I developed this Journey Map.

Strengths • Allows us to analyze several things at once • Appeals to my “visual thinker side”

Limitations • You should run it by the subject to verify assumptions • It takes time, not super simple

Mapping ∤ Page 27 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

CARD SORTING Using image based research to design


Types of info you can obtain with a card sort

An organizing technique for different groups. Can help to get it out of your head and can be used in a session with others. “Card sorting is a participatory design technique that you can use to explore how participants group items into categories and relate concepts to one another, whether for digital interface design or a table of contents”1

Nature of the method

• “Objects”: pieces of infer or tasks that are (or will be in our product) • Motivation: how people think those objects should be organized so that you can strive to replicate these groupings. When you’re trying to understand their mental model. • Used for: Information Architecture, concept generation, participatory situation. • You can do a card sort for entire sets or subsets of data

How many people:

• Under 30 total • Typically 10-12 person groups • 6-8 people if you don’t have time or resources

• Over all organization of the content of tasks i your product • Label users apply to different categories of info or tasks • Missing objects & unnecessary objects ( important to not give people what they expect to see)

How many cards?

• 90 or less • The more cards to be sorted, the more you are likely to overwhelm the users

Open Card Sort

• Used when you want to know how users group content and understand the labels they use for categories

Closed Card Sort

• Used when you are working with a predefined set of categories and you want to know how users sort items within each category • Works well after an open sort.

How to Identify Objects:

Go through data & Id things based on data 1. Work with Development team • Can be time consuming 2. Make sure the objects are clear and easy to understand for the user • If a version of the product already exists, you can card sort the areas you want to re-architect.

Free Listing: 1 Universal Methods of Design, Martin & Hanington

Ask people to free-list all the items associated with a given domain. [Benefit: you obtain user’s terminology, how the describe object.]

Card Sorting ∤ Page 28 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014


Photo used under Creative Commons from:

Continued Procedure

1. Welcome (intro, forms, etc.) 2. Conduct a card sort practice round • [Tip: keep brief ~5 minutes, do something fun! Ask them to list all of the zoo animals, once they’re on the white board, you can ask them to group. Get them to understand on a very elementary, everyday level. Break ice & move on.] 3. Instruction • [Tip: spread out stack, people are intimidated by stack, they think visually] 4. Card Sorting 5. Wrap-Up

Card Sorting Tools • • • •

xsort Classified Web sort Web CAR

Cons of Software:

• Skews response • Doesn’t allow you to observe people “thinking aloud” *misses main point* • Barrier or entry issues, have to train people • Can loose everything if you hit back button. • One aspect of reality is better than no aspects of reality. • You can never get the whole story without talking to the person • It can be quick and dirty, quick observation.

Shaowen’s Tips:

• People might feel competitive with each other • Can be more effective individually • In any case, the smaller the group, the better the results • You cannot design for everyone- hopefully you can seer patterns: differences, & move forward with the design.

Pros of Software:

• Uniform output- analysis tools • Don’t have to be there • Wider Reach

Card Sorting ∤ Page 29 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Embodied Design Techniques Using your body to design


Body Storming

These embodied techniques allow researchers to

• Set up by designers for designers, want the

act out scenarios, experience user situations, or

designers to see how it feels (can also be

use their bodies as a vessel to explore a space.

users). • Usually at beginning of design process

“Experience Prototyping” as a form of

• Brainstorming using your body.

prototyping that enables design team

• Walking through a scenario & see what it feels

members, users and clients to gain first-hand appreciation of existing or future conditions through active engagement with prototypes”1

Nature of the method There are many types of Embodied Design

like to go through the process. • See is people will understand something by doing it in a physical way.

Role-Playing • Done by designers mostly, practice of physical and spatial quality that lets people to role play


in a scenario you want to try out.

Experience Prototyping • “You do experience design using your body, focus on notion of participation” - Suri & Buchenau, “Experience Prototyping” • Behavioral prototype (more tangible interaction) vs. Experience Prototyping (imaging new experience)

• If you want to further refine or design, you ask designers to act out process. Characteristics of Role-Playing 1. 1. In the moment activity • Actually trying to be in a particular time 2. 2. Physicalization • Using your entire body to act out the

1 Suri & Buchenau

Embodied Design Techniques ∤ Page 30 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Body Storming, Role Playing, Informance, & Performance


• This would be used when design in already

• Used by design researchers. After ethnographers have gone into the field, the researchers act out an aspect/event/activity of

in place, this is used to decide if design is appealing, experiential. • Way to assess design work.

field world to illustrate design or make a case for a new design in front of the stakeholder. This is done in place of trying to write this into a report.

Use Case: Experiencing Disability

• Highlight importance of some issues

We were instructed as teams to reenact scenarios

• You use your body to communicate.

written by our classmates to simulate a disability.

• This is done after ethnography and interviews, We had 40 minutes to enact two disability you do this to present.

scenarios, in which we took notes, as well.

• Chose a pieces that is appealing and motivative.

The outcome was design based on insights we discovered during the use of the embodied design



• Mostly done by designers • Visualization technique where scenarios are rendered in the activity environments. • Interesting because the designers “wizard of oz’d” the design at CHI, and invite user to come up to stage and interact. Done on a stage with researchers and participants. Embodied Design Techniques ∤ Page 31 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

FINAL SYNTHESIS Conclusion of Notebook

This semester (Spring 2014) has come and gone

handoff. This trend allowed me to flex some of my

quite quickly. I put my life as a graphic designer

design skills on the projects to follow. I also feel

on hiatus to discover something called HCI/d, and

like I learned how to organize information better

major reason I made such a decision was to dive

and have opportunities, through the design of the

deep in to the “why”. Why are we designing this

page, to pull out information to better explain the

website? Why do we feel the brand should look

study. I feel like I have 10+ portfolio ready projects.

a certain way? Why are we doing this in general, when I have never met the stakeholder or end user.

Ethnography & Field Observations

It became more and more difficult to feel like my

This study was a bit different. I remember going

work had a real purpose, other than to be seen and

to Barbie’s home and wanting to be super

then thrown away after it’s time of use. Among

prepared. Sonny knew Barbie through a friend of

other things, I came to graduate school to learn a

hers, who met Barbie and her husband through

methodology of why, and that is what I have begun

an “international friends” program for foreign

to learn in Interaction Design Methods.

exchange/international students. I really prepared for this study and I remember Sonny and I arriving


at her home early (which was intentional on my

In reflection, I felt pretty at ease with these hit and

account) to compare notes and go over who would

run style interviews. The questions were written

say what and when. Barbie greeted us into her

out for me and quite simple for me to relay to my

home with open arms. The initial intimidation

subjects. Choosing my subjects made have been

wore off shortly and we sat in her living room and

a little biased, I chose nice looking people. The

listened to stories of the past and present. She was

biggest thing I gleaned from this experience was

an amazing subject and I loved going through my

stepping up my document. We all had to rewrite

notes and recordings afterwards to reminisce on

our documents. At first I created a word doc, I

some great phrasings and idioms she mentioned.

thought that this was a draft situation. What

This study made me realize how much I enjoyed

Shaowen was expecting was a fully form and

sitting down with people and learning about their

designed “white paper”, of sorts, ready for client


Final Synthesis ∤ Page 32 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Contextual Inquiry


For the contextual inquiry Sonny and I felt weird

Many have hated on the ELITO Method, but I

using Barbie again and decided to look at our

don’t mind it. Kind of a stream of consciousness.

subjects. My neighbor Judy works at the Mathers

It puts all of your ideas in one place and lets you

Museum so I thought she might be an interesting

expand from that. I think they “key metaphor” is

subject. I knew so little about her life and my

a little bizarre, but all in all, it’s good for getting

eyes were opened wide. I understand that I

organized. I don’t think it will be as widely

might do the same in the workforce with, say,

understood when I am working in industry, but I’d

accounting software, and that stands a chance

like to borrow a variation of it. Also, excel might

of being less interesting, but all in all, I loved the

not be the best software for this sort of thing, it

contextual inquiry we did. Judy let us explore this

makes it feel a bit too rigid.

really amazing place with her and showed us an ingenious invention she made in order to do her

Affinity Diagram

job better. It was a real privilege to be let into her

Affinity diagramming is something I was familiar

world and to learn from her.

with but did not know how and when to use it. To me, sticky-notes are a fantastic medium. They feel

Diary Studies

transient and allow for freedom of thoughts, and

This study did not go as well for me. I used a girl

I enjoy using this method for things like interview

from work, and she was definitely a very eager

preparation or paper writing. The things you are

participant. I bought her a box of cheeze-itz for her

able to see once you have all of the information

contribution, as well. The blame cannot be placed

laid out in front of you is incredible. The links

on any one element… but in general, I think the

Sonny and I were able to make about a project we

nature of the study makes the subject feel like a

completed several weeks ago was quite fun. I have

bad participant. All people want to do it please the

a real affinity for it… get it?

researcher, but it becomes hard for them to take you seriously and do a good job. Especially when

Artifact Analysis

you know someone a little, they feel like they need

The artifact analysis was fun to do as a solo

to help you do a good job, like your grade depends

project. I broke apart my mundane lamp I have

on it, and that possibly contributes to some of the

never much cared for. This technique could be

paralysis of use. Maybe the verbiage of “mundane

used for projects dealing with sustainability.

technologies” confused her, maybe I didn’t prompt her enough, maybe she was sick. I will never be

Cultural Probe

able to say, but I think subjects should be seriously

The cultural probe felt similar to the diary study,

pre-vetted and maybe more in person check ins

I felt like I was asking a lot of someone. The

should occur, and maybe I, as a researcher, could

probe concept was quite interesting, we were

plan easier prompts in the diary.

looking at the greif a person feels after the loss


of a relationship. Our probe wanted to uncover


some little moments, and we focused on the

Journey Maps are something I can really get

text message. I think this sort of study works

behind. Even in the making of them you uncover

great in academia, I am a big fan of Bill Gaver at

new things about the project or product experience

Goldsmiths. I do, however, have trouble seeing

at hand. I could see myself doing this in the real

how this applies to a real word context.

world as part of my research. I look forward to exploring the other types of mapping methods, as

Genealogy & Landscape Analysis


This project was quite hit and run. Again, enjoyed getting to know a person who I would have never

Card Sorting

crossed paths with otherwise. The photos we

In my brief brush with card sorting, this seems like

took cause us to make some leading assumptions

a useful technique for information architecture.

about her life, but in all I think we derived some

I like watching our subjects think aloud together

great insights and created some interesting design

and see connections that we could not. I also like


being the subject and coming to a consensus with my team about the order of things. I look forward to using this method in the field.

Visual Ethnography Prianka and I had a really good time tracking down people to study. I think a great partner can make for a great, inspired project. We would take turns photographing and interviewing. I loved talking to people as they work and I felt a lot more confident in my interviewing skills. I love building a rapport with people and learning about what they do. This project would have gone quite differently at the beginning of the semester.

Embodied Design Techniques These techniques were worthwhile to learn, but a tad far fetched for me. Possibly it was the cards we were handed or maybe it was the team I was with, but it felt quite goofy to try these thing. I do think it is worth it to know your user and put yourself in their shoes, I am not quite sure how embodied I am comfortable with getting.

Final Synthesis ∤ Page 34 ∤ Julia’s Methods Notebook 2014

Written and designed by Julia Rickles in Bloomington, IN, April, 2014. This piece was created for Shaowen Bardzell’s “Ineraction Design Methods” Course at Indiana University.

Methods Notebook  

Julia Rickles 2014 Interaction Design Methods Notebook

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