Need-finding is the first step you have to take to create an user center design. The goal is to find the real user needs supported by real data and not only assumptions.

As part of the Interaction Design Specialization curriculum there is a course called “User Experience: Research & Prototyping”. In our first week we talked about “Design Research”. It covers:

  • Stake holders Map.
  • Observation.
    • Safari.
    • Interviews.
      • Intercepts.
      • Scheduled Interview.

About my first week assignment

Topic: Experience of physical exercise

  • Create a stakeholder map which identifies all of the people involved in an experience.
  • Create a list of all the questions you have for these people.
  • You’ll then chose one question and conduct an interview with 5 people to answer this question.
  • Write a short reflection about your experience on what you have learned about generating a list of stakeholders and questions, as well as the experience on conducting intercept interviews.

I based this study thinking about my son Eduardo, I notice in a preview study for an app was that kids do “exercise” but they call it “going out to play”. I selected “Spontaneous physical exercise”, my belief is discover new ways of exercise you do without noticing. I inspired myself in kids: physical exercise through gamification and just make exercise fun again to adults.

Target: Adults who don’t exercise”.

Satakeholder map

Kids playing

Safari

Kids playing

Perhaps one of the things that enjoy the most was to try my own Safari. This observation technique consist in following an activity with an attitude of “not knowing what is going to happen”, take notes and pictures. This was not necessary for the assignment, but I just wanted to try.

I try to emulate this technique by observing my son playing with his friends outside. I couldn’t join them in the game, but I took some notes:

  • Children do not necessary do this physical exercise with a uniform or equipment, they simple use they regular clothes or go out with what their are wearing (my son has went out to play with pajama). For some people with depression one tip is if they don't feel like changing to their sport clothes, just do the exercise with whatever their are wearing.
  • Children do physical activities with friends, joy and understanding. Adults need this social interaction in "Joy" so they can overcome obstacles in life.
  • Children do not need an specific place to move! they change from place to place: the living room, some corner, jump around from one place to another, play in parking lots. The environment changes every time, they do not stay still. This is pretty different to adults that usually make exercise in one confined place.
  • Groups were made between 2 or 3 children.
  • Children have a fixed scheduled for playing in the afternoons or whenever they are free during the weekends.
  • Kids do not worry about other thing that what their doing in that moment, they follow the game dynamic.
  • Physical activity varied constantly, they will not perform a single activity more than 10 minutes. The activity or game changes, mutates.
  • Kids do not have costly equipment, what they have in hand in the surroundings is incorporated into the game. Sometimes this objects have special "powers" or "abilities", this qualities are being created on the fly.
  • Sometimes a kid breaks the rules, but the other kids remind him in a friendly way what is allow and what is not. There is no conflict.
  • The environment is part of the game.
  • Imagination is the key.

Interviews

Elizabeth Gerber gave us some tips in order to perform better interviews:

Before the interview

  • List the number of stakeholders.
  • Ask family / friends for introductions: You can find extra stakeholders if you ask for introductions of friends and family members.
  • Schedule interviews.
  • Create interview guide.
  • Test interview guide for brevity and clarity.
  • Gather competitive products.
  • What to wear? - match the person, do not under-dress or overdress.
  • Go in pairs. Somebody else can take notes, you can focus in the eye contact. Sometimes you can bounce ideas afterwards and check if you miss something.

During the interview

  • Why are you there and why are you interest in the project.
  • Set expectation for the interview length.
  • Let them know they are in control.
  • Get permission to record (if you have not permission to record, you can take notes).
  • Make them feel comfortable.
  • Reflect passion for the subject.
  • Honest and critical feedback.
  • Listen.
  • Do some Laddering: Make connections between an experience and the value. Ask: why, why, why.
  • Respect them, do not say “Why do you do this?” ... say “That’s interesting”.
  • Ask for critiques, no compliments.
  • End early.

After the interview

  • Share results with your colleague
  • Write summaries within 12 hours.

Tools

  • Backpack
  • Camera.
  • Recorder.
  • Notebook.
  • Sheet with all the questions.

I did an Interview Model for this assignment based on the samples given. But this Model is more adaptable to schedule interview.

Intercepts

Facebook screenshot

This is the technique we were asked to do for this assignment. It consisted in perform 5 intercepts in a public space. Since I have mobility problems I did it though social media. You have to be very careful about what is evaluated, sometimes people forgot to add in the summary from this activity to write down similarities and differences between interviewees.

What I learn from making this intercepts on line:

  • Facebook is probably not the best way to ask for information for the general public. It's easy to be access by family and friends. But for a larger audience the links seem to break even if is a public post. Gather information in several networks is also not that efficient. Next time I better use Google forms or other tools.
  • I will read and practice intercepts everywhere I think we didn't extend this area in this particular course.
  • Comparing to scheduled interview, I feel that this on line intercepts are more restricted. People doesn't seem to share more. Or maybe my "Whys" are not being answer on the same time.

Results

They asked us to choose only one question. I choose this question What was your favorite “going out to play” game? … why?) related to the past of the person because it was the one that really knew I wanted to know and share. I think perhaps the capacity of knowing tastes in playground games could determinate their preferences in physical activities, even if they don’t like to do exercise at all. There is a clear social factor embed, and people do not investigate why we don’t like to exercise.

If you want to take a look to the answers (Spanish / English) I created a google doc with all of them. Feel free to add comments if you like.

Playground games are physical exercises that people used to do without noticing they were really “doing exercise”

  • Depending of the generation, playgrounds games can change the name. Also in the same country the name can be different depending on region groups inside the country.
  • The most popular games mention as favorites were "Hide and seek" and "tag".
  • Kids make small variations in each classic playground game, it make it more “interesting”.
  • Depending of adults in charge of the children; one sort of games were more accepted than others. For instance: one grandma used to tell to one of the interviewee that hide and seek was to “play with the devil”.
  • Interviewing 3 female siblings, their favorite game was the same “Hopscotch”. Perhaps in groups of friends or family their favorites games go around the one they agree the most to play.
  • Only two Interviewees admitted that they didn’t like to do physical exercise as children, and they agree to play to either have fun with friends or be part of the group (social approval).
  • One thing I can see at glance is that is three major differences between their choices about the dynamic of the games:
    • Group one: Is up to physical activities, they like to run, get dirty, have physical challenges.
    • Group two: Is more about mental challenge to beat others using creative techniques to win or just outsmart them.
    • Group tree: People that just challenge themselves in order to improve their abilities.
  • People uses to share this activities with siblings, cousins, friends. But two of the interviewees play by themselves.

Findings

  • My friend in Poland described this game called paper chase! Amazing, ideas about an app that help adults to follow "clues" in order to follow a path appeared in my head.

Licencia Creative Commons
What was your favorite “going out to play” game? por Maria Gabriela Pérez se distribuye bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0 Internacional.