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Design Research guide
why design research matters to us Design the right thing, before designing the thing right BECAUSE IT SUCKS BUILDING SOMETHING FOR 9 MONTHS ONLY TO FIND OUT NO ONE ACTUALLY WANTS TO USE IT
DESIGNING THE RIGHT THING IS ABOUT ASKING “WHAT IS A GOOD PROBLEM TO SOLVE?” Any solution can only be as good as the depth of understanding of the problem.
Empathy gives us a deep understanding of the problems of others It helps us ultimately design the right thing because we can see, feel, and understand the perspectives of people who are different from ourselves.
We gain empathy for people in 3 ways OBSERVE LISTEN but let’s start with listening TRY IT OURSELVES
“so what do you think of my idea?” directly pitching your idea People who are new to design research start by asking two types of questions (don’t do this) “would you use this if…..” asking hypothetical questions about the future
We don’t act on the user’s request, we act on their behalf It’s the users job to tell us about their problems, it’s our job as designers to solve it.
People don’t say what they mean, and don’t mean what they say Attitudes help us understand what people think but are a poor reﬂection of actual behavior. People are bad at predicting what they’ll do in the future. It’s not that we don’t value what people think, it’s just that we can’t make design mandates solely based on people’s opinions. EVERYONE WILL SAY YES TO THIS Instead of asking… “Are you interested in working out?..” …a better question is “How many times have you exercised in the past month?”
Stated vs Revealed preferences Online dating sites know that what people say doesn’t always match their behavior so their design has to accommodate attitudes + actual behavior. They call this difference Stated vs Revealed preferences. Our products messaging should reﬂect stated preferences, but the designs should be based off of revealed preferences. “You may say that you like Blond, Jewish, Democrats but you have a habit of reaching out to pot-smoking, Indian, Republicans.. This is called Revealed Preference” - “Looking for someone”, New Yorker
The things we ﬁnd attractive in an online dating proﬁle have almost nothing to do with the things that we ﬁnd attractive in a real life person when we’re sitting in from of them. We react to a person’s behavior but what we see in a proﬁle are attitudes, preferences, and background characteristics. - Benjamin Karney, UCLA psychology professor
Before we talk about how to interview customers correctly you’re probably wondering, how many people should I speak with? Short answer 5 - 20 Long answer Typically we would speak with 5-20 people.You’ll start seeing clear patterns after speaking with a few carefully selected people. Nielsen Norman group did a study showing 3 users gets you about 75% of the total usability problems. Speaking with 5-6 is a good number.
1. what was the hardest part about? 2. can you tell me the last time that happened? FRAMEWORK FOR INTERVIEWS TO LEARN ABOUT PROBLEMS WITHOUT DIRECTLY ASKING FOR SOLUTIONS 3. why was that hard? 4. how did you solve that problem? 5. why was your solution not awesome?
Meet Dave, a tech startup founder with 3 employees 1. what was the hardest part about ______? “Knowing the bare minimum of what I had to do” 2. can you tell me the last time that happened? “When I wanted my company to be legit” HERE’S A SIMPLE FRAMEWORK FOR INTERVIEWS 3. why was that hard? “I always felt like I could get in trouble later” 4. how did you solve that problem? “I paid lawyers to help me set it up” 5. why was your solution not awesome? “Felt like lawyers were reaming you every second”
1. what was the hardest part about_______? “Knowing the bare minimum of what I had to do” It’s tempting to give Dave exactly what he wants, in this case some type of feature that gives him access to lawyers. But we as a design team know that the solution was the give him the assurance of ‘ knowing the bare minimum’ and ‘not getting in trouble later’ without ever even needing to speak with a lawyer. 2. can you tell me the last time that happened? “When I wanted my company to be legit” 3. why was that hard? “I always felt like I could get in trouble later” 4. how did you solve that problem? “I paid lawyers to help me set it up” 5. why was your solution not awesome? “Felt like lawyers were reaming you every second”
Why we observe We observe people with our products or in their natural habitat. Research interviews can teaches us about people’s attitudes and what they say they do but when we observe we see true behaviors. Pairing observation, listening, and doing it ourselves lets see the workarounds and contradictions. The starting point for most of our projects is observation in it’s natural setting. Observation can sharpen our awareness of how people respond to particular arrangements; we notice what people already do intuitively. That helps us make predictions about how people interpret this things we design. -Jane Fulton Suri, IDEO
So after listening to, watching , and doing it yourself you want a list of the following Workarounds shows you that people actually want your product How are people ﬁnding creative ways to solve problems they don’t even realize they have. Contradictions What are the contradictions between what people say and what they actually do makes sure your product is designed correctly
“People are already solving their problems somehow, the Workarounds are so unconscious that people don’t even realize that they do it.”
We once spoke with athletes about their buying behaviors of specialty athletic gear But when I asked him, ‘how did you solve this problem?’ He said 1. found out his friend’s dad owns a specialty athletic boutique 2. One athlete mentioned an occasional problem of specialty gear being sold out in his size but that “it wasn’t a big deal to him” reminds himself of the release date 3. finds out if his friend is working there 4. asks him if it’s there 5. pays him ahead of time 6.asks friend to hide it under counter 7. organizes his day to go pick it up after school
His workaround validates our solution but we heard a contradiction between his attitude and workaround so we need to frame our product so he sees the value in it. One athlete mentioned an occasional problem of But when I asked him, ‘how did you solve this problem?’ 1. found out his friend’s dad owns a specialty athletic boutique 2. reminds himself of the release date 3. finds out if his friend is working there 4. asks him if it’s there 5. pays him ahead of time 6.asks specialty gear being sold out friend to hide it under counter 7. in his size but that “it wasn’t organizes his day to go pick it up a big deal to him” after school
thoughts on designing the thing right Design the right thing, before designing the thing right
in order to design the thing right we ask “what is the best way to solve a problem?” Designing the thing right is about designing for the way people already think and matching mental models. We know we designed the right thing when people intuitively know how to use a product without ever even seeing it before.
mental model of eating out in the US 1. SIT DOWN AT RESTAURANT mental model of eating out in the Costa Rica 1. SIT DOWN AT RESTAURANT 2.WAITER COMES, PLACE ORDER 3. FINISH EATING, WAITER BRINGS CHECK 4. FIGURE OUT HOW TO SPLIT CHECK 2.WAITER COMES, PLACE ORDER 3. FINISH EATING, STAND UP GET CHECK 4A. (FIGHT FOR CHECK) 5. HOW MUCH SHOULD WE TIP? 5A. (STARE AT FRIEND WHO’S GOOD AT MATH) 4. CHECKS ARE ALREADY SPLIT 5. TIP IS ALREADY INCLUDED 6. WAIT FOR WAITER TO COME BACK 7. VENMO 6. PAY AT COUNTER
Eating out in the US Eating out in the Costa Rica Designing the thing right is about designing for the 1. SIT DOWN AT RESTAURANT 1. SIT DOWN AT RESTAURANT way people already think and matching mental 2.WAITER COMES, PLACE ORDER models. 3. FINISH EATING, WAITER BRINGS CHECK 4. FIGURE OUT HOW TO SPLIT CHECK If we opened a restaurant 4A. (FIGHT FOR CHECK) in 2.WAITER COMES, PLACE ORDER 3. FINISH EATING, WAITER Costa Rica we would BRINGS CHECK have to match their Mental Models for eating out, the 5. HOW MUCH SHOULD WE TIP? 4. CHECKS ARE ALREADY SPLIT 6. WAIT FOR WAITER TO COME BACK 5. TIP IS ALREADY INCLUDED 7. VENMO 6. STAND UP, GO PAY IN COUNTER same is trueMATH) the products we design. for 5A. (STARE AT FRIEND WHO’S GOOD AT
1. SHOW YOUR PRODUCT OR PROTOTYPE 2.GIVE A SAMPLE TASK INTERVIEW FRAMEWORK FOR LEARNING ABOUT MENTAL MODELS 3. Before each step ask.. “where do you go next?” 4.…and then ask “what do you expect will happen?” 5. KEY AN EYE OUT FOR ANY CONFUSION
CONCLUSION Designing the right thing.. …designing the thing right do you know the workarounds? when you ask ‘where do you go next?’ and ‘what do you think will happen?’ do you know the contradictions between what people say and what they actually do? do people consistently give you the correct answer?
THANK YOU HJ Kwon email@example.com
N R M AKE LEA Coming soon TEST DESIGN RESEARCH: VISION + DISCOVERY PROTOTYPING a guide on connecting Design PRODUCTION LAUNCH + MANAGEMENT SCALE + HANDOVER Research to Prototyping