Buffer

Steve Portigal did a workshop, “Well we’ve done all this research, now what?”, at the IxDA SF Redux in March 2010. Here’s my notes from the talk.

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The highlights of his presentation are as follows:
– In order to be able to act on the data you gather, make sure you are looking at the right problems and asking the right questions. This is vital to any engagement. McDonald’s once asked about who’s fries were people’s favorites. The way they phrased the question meant that they actually got the wrong data back.
– Try to stay out of “solution land”
– Manage the Interview flow
– Ask questions that flow naturally from the question before it
– Let the interview go in unexpected directions without sacrificing what you need
– Questions for the beginning are more fact-based, questions for the end are more imagination based or personal
– Let them answer your questions
– Don’t presuppose answers in the question itself
– Give them time to answer (allow silence) and to continue when needed
– Define characteristics (of participants – such as, takes 40 pictures a month)
– Consider landscape (Are they involved/no longer involved/refuse to be involved/over the top involved in your activity?)
– Consider all participants of the system (chef, host, waiter, customer, etc)
– New technologies (especially those that enable new visible behaviors) are often met with distrust. (Society “sanctions” people who violate the “rules” we live by.)
– People assert their own normalcy by verbally balancing themselves from the end points of the normal curve. (pic 7335)
– Cultural Context: Normal isn’t “right or wrong” – it’s the set of background rules that define much of what people choose or ignore.

Debrief:
Create two paragraph highlights of each interview to be shared with the team ASAP. (While we aim to be descriptive and not interpretive, this is where our synthesis begins.)

Synthesis Overview:
– View it (sense making) as iterating through successively refined views of the data (slowly but continuously through the project)
– After each interview or observation ask “What did we see and what does it mean?”
– As they proceed, keep asking those questions

How-to:
– Present each interview as a case study
– Refer to the roles and give highlights of the descriptive comment:
– Who is this person, what did they do, what did they use, etc
– Stick to the high level and set the context
– Bring up meta-content: Oh, here’s a great quote!”
– Seeds for brainstorming (flesh out the theme)
– Others will add other examples that will support or contest theme
– Make sure to follow the structure of getting through each story (just get them on the board)
– The first two may be slow but it gets faster as you build on it

(pic 7350 here)

Ideation:
Use the ideation process to generate as many solutions as you can. For each ideation generate as many strategies as you can. Use the strategies and the different business areas to develop a range of solutions. Bounce back and forth between generating strategies and solutions.

Developing Strategies:
– Responses to any particular ideation question can lead in many different directions
– Example: How can we enable obvious utility in a low-cognitive-load way?
– Embrace the finding: Leverage visual language of children’s toys (Support people’s behavior)
– Challenge the finding: Create learning opportunities to improve cognitive task management (Change behavior)