Learning about other research methods at different stages of the design process opened my eyes to the wide range of information that can be obtained by not only customer or target audience, but also the designers and researchers themselves. The questions posed to us during this activity allowed me to critically consider the implementation of these research methods. Though all effective in their own ways, some are more compatible to create the most effective and informed design.
Even though critique is a rather familiar feedback strategy my peers and I use regularly, I still took away additional strategic details I could implement in future critiques. Learning about critique in further detail also helped me distinguish its objectivity and focus on the designer’s decisions from the Love Letter/Breakup Letter method’s focus on customer feelings and impressions.
II: Kano Diagram
Even though the Kano Diagram method and Love Letter/Breakup Letter method may be difficult to implement together, I think they are similar in the depth in responses. The Kano Diagram brings up the concept of hypothesizing and anticipating user behavior. Combined with a method that affirms or disproves this behavior like the Love Letter/Breakup Letter further in the design process, designers will be able to easier stay on track with their goals of the product while giving adequate consideration of external factors.
If one decides to use the Love Letter/Breakup letter method to gain a better understanding of the current market’s products (writing a letter to a competitor’s product), it may effectively be used with the Kano Diagram to generate important contextual research.
III: Usability Testing
Usability testing and love letter/breakup letter are able to be implemented later in the design process, when testing out the product. Learning about this method opened my eyes to the research’s range in objectivity. Usability testing focuses on the functional aspect of the product. However, the love letter/breakup letter method focuses on the result of the functional aspect of the product — the affective response.
Out of all the research methods I was introduced to throughout this process, the Usability Testing method is probably the most compatible with the Love letter/Breakup letter, mainly due to the stage that it exists in the design process — after the prototype. This determination of compatibility is not absolute, however, as the nature of the project greatly determines the types of research needed. The broad range of research methods that exist yields an even larger number of possible combinations of methods to integrate into a research project. With that said, I believe the use of design research methods themselves are a form of design — in effect, we are designing our process of learning more information as our project evolves.
The speed dating activity also opened my eyes to the variety of research information that exists. It is impossible to correctly predict what types of research are needed for project, so I believe that using an iterative approach, or at the very least, a flexible approach to research is necessary to move forward with a project. Maintaining flexibility will allow new research questions to form naturally.