Needfinding.

Need finding is a crucial tool in any UX designers arsenal. The ability to observe others is often taken for granted by fledgling designers that make their first moves towards paper or computer screens. If you have never done any need finding before I am going to show you how you can easily do this with minimal effort that will produce astounding insights that can really help your design projects take off. For this project I decided to couple it with some other work that I have been doing as to kill two birds with one stone per say. So the work you see here is part of a much larger initiative but can be used as one way of looking at the beginning of the design process from a slightly different lens. The beginnings of projects often come from a problem or a person. This is also true of need finding but the difference is you don’t even think about a problem at all before you have done an observation of the potential group of people you may be designing for. It is very refreshing to come into the design process without any preconceived notions about ANYTHING. By simply observing you gather all of the requirement you need to begin a design.
As you may know slow-change design is a very hot topic these days. I began my research by conducting some need finding and what I the following is what I have come up with thus far. My observations were aimed at trying to find habits that people may have good or bad. My aim was not to specifically find something but to observe and if certain habits presented themselves than that would be good, but certainly wasn’t necessary. I did provide myself some constraints by asking to observe my participants while they were in their down-time. Habits are something we all struggle with and often want to change.
Predisposition: People have habits.

(Pictures denoting the interaction of rick observing his yields and showing them to me)

Observations

– Rick was very concerned with circumstances. Such as the right circumstances that would be needed to produce the best yields.
– Weather patterns are a concern for Rick.
– Different breeds take different times from seed to fruit.
– Weeds, watering, insect removal has become a daily routine.
– Rick picked a number of different items and showed me many and their current conditions based on his reasoning for why or why they were not succeeding.
– Favorite saying is that “the best thing that a gardener can cast onto his garden is his shadow.”

– Rick checks his garden daily sometimes four to five times when he is home and has the opportunity.

Breakdowns/opportunities

In this case the behavior is not exactly a bad behavior or obsessive behavior but possibly he could track the health of his garden based of the some variable. If this variable is x then y= and so forth. This way if he is able to track the progress of the garden he would not need to check the garden multiple times to check on the condition. He would be confident that the garden is okay and he would be able to trust the application to give him the information that he needs. 


Observation 2: Norma, retiree
For this observation I interviewed a retiree that I simply watched in her living room. I talked to Norma for about fifteen minutes before I noticed that that she held the computer in her lap while she watched TV. I asked her why she did this and her response was that she liked to check the weather both from the computer and the TV. I asked her why and she explained that different weather channels have different observations and she liked to check to see the differences. I asked whether she liked to go outside and she explained she never goes outside.

 (Pictures denoting the interaction of the user checking the weather on multiple screens)

Observations

– Observation started by me simply sitting and observing her behavior while she watched TV.
– Norma flipped some channels back and forth but then she would return to the weather channel.

Breakdowns/Opportunities

1. The breakdown here is simply that fact that multiple channels could have been presented on one monitor therefore bypassing the need for multiple monitors in the first place. To address this problem the behavior would need to be mitigated with either a way of stopping repeated attempts to check the weather or provide an improved interface that would not hinder the person from completing the behavior but simply augmenting it in such a way that it would not seem overly obsessive.


Observation 3: Jill, Assistant professor of communication disorders
For this observation I went grocery shopping to observe a typical grocery shopping experience. Part of Jill’s work week is that she goes to the store once a week on Saturday and picks up the groceries for the week. I observed Jill grabbing specific items and asked which ones she liked the best. Jill explained that her favorite product or one that she gets on a weekly basis was Diet Coke. I asked her why and she explained that it wasn’t really that it was Diet Coke but that it was carbonated beverages. She also bought a number of other items but the carbonated beverages were a must.

(Pictures denoting the interaction and experience of picking out carbonated beverages from the store)

Observations

– Jill began shopping gathering a number of items item’s leaving her cart at the end of the aisle.
– Never actually taking the cart down the aisle she would grab specific items and take them back to her cart.
– There was a list and specificity to the items she chose. She explained that there were certain items that changed on her lists but of the items one stayed the same and that was the caffeinated beverages.

Breakdowns/opportunities

1. The breakdown is that the person could have been notified or a behavior could have been altered if the person had been reminded or was cognizant that the behavior was occurring  The opportunity in the case of this interaction is having a device that notifies them and asks them whether they believe performing these actions is in there best interest. Essentially it would be in the form of a question so it doesn’t seem like it is telling them what to do but possibly suggesting alternatives. 


3 comments

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