What our team has learned during the interaction research and design process.
Our cultural probes were a little too vague in some of the activities we provided in our booklet as some of the responses resulted in one word answers. However, we found the probes useful in gaining insight on personal values and priorities from individual participants in our target group.
In creating the personas and foundation sheets, we based our information on data we gathered from collecting and analyzing our cultural probes. We found that in narrowing down small details, it allows us as the design team a clear idea with how certain personas would behave and understanding how they would react in a given circumstance.
We gained insight and empathy on our end users when we created the informances to understand how they go about their day by acting out scenarios that we thought would accurately represent their daily habits. We further focused down on the specific scenario of packing a bag to a journey framework as we wanted to address an issue specifically that ties the group together in preparing for yoga. However, upon conducting the participatory design workshop, we had a revelation talking with our participants and realizing that our assumptions of packing as a problem was not an issue in their lives at all. This was the biggest breakthrough in our design process as we realized the informances and journey frameworks were flawed and inaccurate.
We shifted our design frame instead of worrying about problems of mobility and back pain as we first predicted, to a more real problem of the needs of our group with the need to purchase multiple bags. The presence of the participant who already gave birth was a huge boon on our process as she was able to reveal her intuition on the situation of different bag options for pregnant mothers that even the other participant was not aware of or be able to foresee. Having multiple perspectives on a situation is an important asset in achieving a thorough investigation. By shifting our problem frame from a prenatal yoga bag to a general utility bag that can grow and transition into a diaper bag, we made a huge leap in course correcting to solve a real problem. We recognize that although the interaction design processes of creating personas and journey frameworks are useful in gaining empathy with our users to understand their needs, design is an iterative process and it requires constant investigation.
Also upon conducting the participatory workshop, we discovered interesting biases that were not obvious to us. Upon showing the users our low-fidelity prototype sketches, the surprising response to our wheeled design that afforded rolling was a predisposition to associate our design with a carry-on luggage. This resulted in an extremely negative reaction from our participants who asserted they would rather carry the bag even if the weight would be uncomfortable to lift.
One thing we were unsure of after conducting our participatory workshop and realizing our personas, informances, and journey frameworks was whether to go back to them and revise. We decided to just leave them behind and rely our final iterations based solely on our participatory workshops and user evaluation.
As we conducted our testing evaluation with our medium-fidelity prototype, the users were eager to share with us that they had forgot to express during the participatory workshop a feature that they wanted. We were surprised with the participants’ feelings and engagement in their involvement of the design process. Our medium-fidelity prototype incorporated most of the features as communicated from our participants’ during the participatory workshop. We were surprised to find that although one of the features was one they listed as what they want, they realized they didn’t actually want it. It was an interesting finding to understand how users may not actually know what they really want, they only think they want it.