This week I had to make a presentation about three HCI methods and here I’ll publish the handout.

Video as Design Specs

To enhance the design process we should not only rely on written data but should consider a wide range of media. Videos suite very well to give context because it can store a lot of information in very small amount of time. In a video, you can show a work process, emotions and cultural backgrounds without the effort you have to take to write all that down.

Scope of Usage

Most of the design methods we’ve seen in the book of the second week (Dubberly, Hugh.2004.HowDoYouDesign.DubberlyDesignOffice.SanFrancisco), many design processes include more or less the same steps in the process.

  1. Investigate the problem,
  2. specifying requirements,
  3. designs and prototype, and
  4. evaluating the designs with the requirements.

As mentioned before, video can include lots of information you can’t easily put into a written documentation. In my opinion, written documentations often were interpreted by the author. In a video, it is more open to exploring new requirements “by accident” because not all the information is displayed in a video is intended. Therefore, it’s very useful to get more used to the problem and the context.

In the text (Buur, Jacob.2010.Ethnographic Video as Design Specs.SPIRE Research Centre.Sønderborg), they made a workshop with people from different views to gather ideas to design an electronic system of a de-mining project in Angola. It’s a good method to be very close to the users without the possibility to meet them or as preparation for meeting them.

Method Process

Preparation

First, of course, you have to gather video content. It’s best practice to have videos right from the place you’re designing for. In the text, they did not have videos from the actual de-mining project but they took videos from a similar de-mining program in Congo.

Videos & Discussion

They showed four videos, one each to motivate the participants, show user requirements, maintenance requirements and environmental influences. After each video session they made a discussion and after the third video, they started to collect requirements and mock-up some solutions.

Approaches have also been developed to include ‘social aspects of work’ (Viller & Sommerville.2000.Ethnographically Informed Analysis for Software Engineers.Int. J. of Human-Computer Studies vol. 53)

Requirements Prioritization

They defined the requirements (in a second session after the visit in Angola) and prioritized them into must-have, should-have, or could-have requirement. They used a video wall and mapped the requirements to an appropriate looping video. This made the discussion more straight forward because it wasn’t necessary to explain the requirement in a detailed way as if it was written or even more abstract.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Provides context in an easy way
  • Contact to users is not always necessary
  • Requirements can be discussed while having real world examples visually
  • More individual interpretation of requirements

Cons

  • Getting appropriate content can be hard and time-consuming

Conceptual Design

According to Brenda Laurel, the author of “Design Research – Methods and Perspectives” brainstorming is not enough. It is important to share ideas and often and in an early stage. In this way, you can gather feedback as soon as possible and from all stakeholders such as users, colleagues, experts, and bosses. So, she recommends making slide presentation according to a template of here right after the brainstorming. It is a good framework to both answer or open new important questions about the design vision. Also, you can include visual cues and are forced to break it down to a short presentation. She recommends to spend only a few hours on doing this and deliver it fast. Using a template for the slides helps to deliver faster and focus on the important parts.

Scope of Usage

This method is in particular useful to validate brainstorm ideas and include stakeholders at an early stage. It helps to get an overview and narrow things down.

Method Process

The template of Brenda Laurel includes following points:

  1. Titlepage
  2. Overview
  3. Userdescription
  4. Storyboardofuserexperience
  5. Prototype
  6. Features/functionality
  7. Justificationfordesign(theoreticalandpractical)
  8. Resultofusertesting
  9. Shortcomingsofdesign
  10. Expansion–Whatelseispossible?
  11. Nextstepsindesignprocess
  12. Summary

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • You can communicate ideas faster
  • Fast feedback of stakeholders
  • Fast evaluation of brainstorming ideas

Cons

  • Is not very detailed design research

Bodystorming

Bodystorming is very similar to brainstorming. The difference is, that you are physically in the actual (or similar or stages) environment you are designing for. In this circumstances you can either observe users, test prototypes you make ad-hoc or validate ideas through staging “in the wild”. Compared to traditional brainstorming, there’s often time immediate feedback. The goal in the article “Understanding contexts by being there” (Oulasvirta, Antti/Kurvinen, Esko/Kankainen, Tomi.2003.Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming.Springer-Verlag.London) is to “providing useful services without disturbing the natural flow of human activities.” (Oulasvirta, Antti/Kurvinen, Esko/Kankainen, Tomi.2003). So they not only used it to do field research, but also to find and evaluate ideas for solutions. They assume, the more the environment is likely to the actual environment, the better the result will be.

Scope of Usage

As interaction design it could be used to (1) do user research, (2) validate ideas and (3) prototype. Bodystorming shouldn’t exclude other methods, rather it should be used in a combination with others.

Method Process

Preparation

First of all, it is important to do preparation before you start body storm. The team in the reading prepared themselves by phrasing design questions (through preliminary observation and inherent data) and a detailed explanation of the question to prove/answer through bodystorming. A design question should easily describe a problem that occurred.

Doing Bodystorming

In the article, they took ten participants (with different ages) and did three different bodystorms. In the first approach they went to the original environment, in the second and third they went to a very likely one and in the fourth, they staged it in an office. The first three cases they observed the actual users and sought for problems of them. After the actual bodystorm, participants wrote down solutions to the problems that occurred and discussed them.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Provides effortlessly context about the problem
  • Less imagination for the context creates more focus on observation
  • Immediate feedback

#### Cons

  • Documentation takes a lot of time
  • Staging is hard to keep being serious

They hypothesized first, “…that being physically present in the ‘real’ environment saves time from the design group in studying user data.” and secondly, “…that body- storming would provide a more accurate understanding of contextual factors.”. Both of these hypotheses were evaluated but there wasn’t any result that proved it. Also, they observed to create ideas “on-site”, a relaxed atmosphere is required. (Oulasvirta, Antti/Kurvinen, Esko/Kankainen, Tomi.2003.Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming.Springer-Verlag.London)