User research with Georgia Tech's graduate students

Conducted user interviews and analyzed qualitative data to find user pain points and suggested design solutions

Summary

Class

Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

My main role

  • Led the user research part of the project
  • Recruited 5 out of 6 users and conducted 3 out of the 6 user interviews
  • Did interview data analysis using coding method
  • Distilled patterns to create user personas
  • Facilitated the ideation diverging and converging exercises

Duration (for my part)

3-4 weeks (Oct - Nov 2016)

Other members in the team

  • Jack Bordoni (User research and Design)
  • Nick Vernon (User research and Design)
  • Steve Jones (Design)

Process

Brief

Follow the user-centered design process to find and solve a problem on-campus


Chose the user group as a team

As a team, we brainstormed and discussed multiple ideas around what we could do. After narrowing and voting, we selected the user group of Georgia Tech's graduate students with parents.


User interviews

Conducted semi-structured interviews

Since we were not familiar with the problems our users faced, we conducted user interviews. My contribution to this part included finding 4 out of the 6 users we interviewed from my personal network, framing the interview script along with another team member, conducting 3 of the 6 interviews, and taking notes in 2 of the 3 remaining interviews. The research work was distributed in a way so everyone interested got a chance to participate/conduct interviews.


Affinity mapping

Created an affinity map to find high-level patterns

As a team, we collaboratively did affinity mapping. Each user quote from the interview was printed each on a card which we were rearranged to form groups and find high-level themes.


Qualitative Data coding and Personas

Coded the qualitative data to find patterns and created personas

To find correlations between user profiles and self-reported behaviors and pain points, I coded the user quotes. Since we did not have a specific problem focus, this was an open-ended categorization, which means that all user quotes were included and code labels were created on the go.

I then distilled the insights I got from the coding process in the form of personas.


Brainstorming and Ideation

Rapidly generated multiple ideas

I facilitated a quick ideation exercise where each of us came up with 8-10 design ideas in 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, we discussed the ideas and gave each other feedback. Below are the initial ideas I came up with:

Then, individually, we detailed our top 3 favorite ideas. I was interested in knowing the perspective of Georgia Tech student representatives on this issue. So I, along with another member of the team, conducted interviews with representatives from 4 student groups to find what they thought. The insights from that research information the design ideas we proposed.


Converging and FAcilitation

Narrowed down on which idea to develop further using discussion and voting

By this point in the project, all of us had very different ideas of what we wanted to design. To get everyone on the same page and narrow down on one idea, I facilitated a quick converging exercise. We laid out all individual ideas on the whiteboard. For each idea, we wrote and discussed the problem that the idea solves, the goal it wants to achieve, and the personas it targets. At the end of the discussion, each of us voted and we selected the top two ideas. Next day, we met with two users and based on their feedback, selected the one idea to go ahead with as a team.

After this phase, the other team members took on the lead in designing the interface for the solution.