Doing with Theory (2): Iteration and Re-Testing

See the last post:

Metaphor elicitation technique is the good way to find out the user’s mental model on a certain object, but it was not easy for non-expert to facilitate during the first attempt. After the pilot workshop, I decided to revise the protocol before jumping on to designing the next workshop. First, I summarized what worked well and what didn’t .

What worked:

  • It’s very useful to figure out users’ unconscious needs
  • It’s definitely helpful to find the novel idea that I have never imagined

What didn’t work:

  • Some collages were very hard to interpret
  • Depending on how the interpreter analyze the collages, the takeaways will be very different.
  • It’s better not to share the interpretation results with the participants, because some of them disagree with the result.

Overall, the interpretation process didn’t really work well because basically it’s a very subjective activity. In fact, ZMET interviewers should take the training course before facilitating workshops. I had to keep in mind that those digital collages are just a method to express abstract concepts. So, I decided to pull more ideas from the participant by asking 5 Whys.

5 Whys

According to Wikipedia, 5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem by repeating the question “Why?” Each answer forms the basis of the next question.

5 Whys is another great way to find out the core value that the user cares the most. Indeed, I think it aligns so well with my metaphor elicitation workshop. Instead of directly interpreting digital collages, I will use it as the starting point of the question.

Iterating Deep Metaphor Workshop

After the feedback session, I redesigned my worksheet with 5 Whys questions and once again had the individual workshop sessions with my classmates. I asked them to create a digital collage first and then put a title on their work. Starting from the images they selected, I asked them 1) why they chose them, 2) Why did they feel/think when picking those images, 3) Why did they want to avoid negative feelings (or have positive feelings) and 4) Why do they achieve those desires.

A new worksheet for the metaphor elicitation activity

During the first attempt, I had a hard time interpreting the digital collages that my participants created because there was a huge chance of having subjective bias. This time, instead of translating them directly, I only used the collages for the participants to facilitate their storytellings. In this way, the whole process got a lot easier to pull out the participants’ hidden needs without interpreting their narratives.

So What’s The Next Step?

Okay, so the first part of the workshop is done. Then what comes next? I had a hard time to design the second part of the workshop which is supposed to be the concept ideation activity based on the metaphors found during the first half. However, since each participant creates the very different digital collages, it was quite hard for me to pull the key metaphors to initiate the second half. Besides, I wasn't sure if it’s a good way to pull a couple of concepts and ignore the rest.

I talked with Dan about how to organize the metaphors I found. He recommended me to categorize those metaphors first, and then conduct a generative workshop using low fidelity props as the Part II. By using deep metaphors, designers might be able to create a whole new experience for AR technology. That sounded very intriguing and so double-diamond design process :)

Design Studies in Practice

Carnegie Mellon School of Design: MDes Seminar III

Nurie Agnes Jeong

Written by

Design Studies in Practice

Carnegie Mellon School of Design: MDes Seminar III

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