Class #2, Week #2 – Conduct User Research and Create Shared Vision

This week’s assignment was to start implementing the work in last week’s proposal.  Specifically to conduct user research on target users, understand their wants and needs, and creating design tenets to reflect findings.  There were several deliverables this week. What an action packed, hands-on, get right into real work assignment.

  1. Identify four people (thank you friends who helped)
  2. Create a research protocol that includes a product concept description, questions to interview to understand users wants and needs related to the product.
  3. Running the research sessions, taking notes, using consent forms and moderator’s scripts.
  4. Writing a report on the approach and findings that includes information about the users, the approach, analysis, findings and recommendations.  It also should include a common persona and design tenets to help guide design of the product.

Here is a sample of the gathered data, with names hidden to protect identities. data

Here is a sample of the what the user data told me:

  • Everyone
    • uses a combination of tools and system to track reminders
    • have both personal and work-related reminders
      • some like to mix them together
      • some like to keep they separate
      • all of them have a need to access them both simultaneously, even if still separate, and have a hard time doing so
  • Most everyone uses Google Calendar and Outlook as well as a generic paper-based system too (e.g., Post Its, lists on paper, physical journals)
  • Everyone had a challenge that was not related to technology or systems — to just remember to track reminders at all
  • It varied among users as far as the amount of detail or how they want to and keep reminders
    • some wanted only titles
    • others wanted more metadata
    • some wanted just a to-do list
    • others wanted just a calendar (date driven to-do tasks)
    • others wanted both
  • Only one user had a Macintosh/iOS computer but several had iPhones (iOS). Though everyone had access to a PC computer.
  • A few users had Android phones (not iPhone/iOS)
  • While everyone had a hard time remembering tasks thus their need to track and be reminded about them, it was mixed as to if users wanted to manually review to be reminded versus having an automated pop-up reminder.   They felt it could be distracting or annoying to get lots of reminders, especially when a task wasn’t ready to be worked and had to keep “snoozing” reminders.  However, it was equally frustrating to have to keep looking at the entire list to see what wasn’t done – often things at the top of the list got more attention and some lower down might even be ignored.
  • Only one person mentioned using voice (AI e.g., Siri, Alexa, Cortana) to manage reminders, though they  were aware of it–just hadn’t tried it themselves.
  • Only a few other “apps” were mention outside of Outlook and Google Calendar and they were: Fitness Pal, Things, and an un-named grocery list app.
  • The biggest take away was that everyone preferred simpler over added fancy features.  They all said that it has to be quick and easy otherwise, features won’t be used and if they are it’s harder to use the data in the lists (what’s being reminded in the first place).  So usability should be high with less focus on fancy and numerous features (a few main design tenets).

Stay tuned for more next week. Upcoming activities include: Hand-sketched workflows and screen wire frames, test plan, design materials, recorded research sessions, and a final written report for stakeholders.  Class #2 is entirely devoted to this project.

-SARA

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