Field Studies: Magic or structured analysis? Giles Colborne
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Field Studies: Magic or structured analysis? Giles Colborne

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How can you predict the value of contextual research? What types of insight can you expect to get? @gilescolborne's slides from UPA 2011

How can you predict the value of contextual research? What types of insight can you expect to get? @gilescolborne's slides from UPA 2011
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Field Studies: Magic or structured analysis? Giles Colborne Field Studies: Magic or structured analysis? Giles Colborne Presentation Transcript

  • Magic... or structured analysis?Giles Colbornecxpartners @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4027405671/
  • This is Sarah. i visited her researching how people buy from online auctions. She said: i’d never buy clothes from ebay. But when i asked her to show me a favourite purchase...@gilescolborne
  • ...She ran up to herroom and gotthese - designertrousers boughton ebay. When yougo into the field,you discover theanswers you get inthe lab may not bethe whole story. Dolce & Gabbana! @gilescolborne
  • We need to getinto the field. Andas contextmatters more, theneed is growing. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/32615508@N02/3047982712
  • but contextualresearch is moreexpensive. And it’shard to convincebudget holders topay it when thepremise is: ‘we don’tknow what we’ll find out but it’ll be cool.’ They won’t let me @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/2666070091/
  • Field research yields ’slots of useless data. it atinteresting to know thwhere you keep yourphone says somethingabout how you use it - but that won’t help me design a mobile app. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/niyam/2105979190/
  • And the outside world is such an unpredictable place, that luck plays a part in getting field research right.@gilescolborne
  • Unknown insights irrelevant insights Out of scope insights Just plain unlucky So that’s field research. i need a way of understanding where i might get value. And of training colleagues to do it.@gilescolborne
  • years ago, i asked an d expert how to plan fiel research. she said - get . out there and just do it That makes it sound like we arrive at results by magic.@gilescolborne
  • Would you trustsomeone who was goingto use magic? i’D want toknow what they had uptheir sleeve.So can we be morestructured? @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/4027405671/
  • When we research, we’relooking for leveragepoints - small changesthat can make a bigdifference. They’re easyto find in lab studiesbecause you cut out all variables.the @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/thalamus/2690847744/
  • in the lab, you have aparticipant and acomputer. it’s easy to see where the leverage points are. you can change the user (hard!) or the device (easier). @gilescolborne
  • in field studies,it’s harder tosee where theleverage points might be. @gilescolborne
  • Donella meadows was a edsystems analyst involvin environmentaleconomics. She identified12 leverage points whereyou can influence a complex system Donella meadows @gilescolborne
  • Constants, parameters, numbers The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks More profound effect Structure of material stocks and flowsEasier to notice Length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes Strength of negative feedback loops Strength of positive feedback loops Structure of information flow Rules of the system Power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure Goal of the system Mindset or paradigm from which the system arises Power to transcend paradigms @gilescolborne
  • Constants, parameters, numbers The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks Structure of material stocks and flows Length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes Strength of negative feedback loops Strength of toShe was applying this positive feedback loops andsystems in economicsinformation flow Structure ofthe enviro nment, but wecan apply this to our system Rules of theinformation systems,change, evolve, or self-organize system structure Power to add, stoo. Still a list of 12 item Goal simplifyis complex. let’s of the systemit to make it easier to Mindset or paradigm from which the system arises apply. Power to transcend paradigms @gilescolborne
  • Constants, parameters, numbers Physical The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks Structure of material stocks and flows Length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes Strength of negative feedback loopsThe physical layer isof positive feedback loops Strengthabout properties andresources. The speed information flow Structure ofof a computer Rules of the systemnetwork, the amountof time it takes to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure Power tocomplete a task. of the system Goal Para meters that affect a system. Mindset or paradigm from which the system arises Power to transcend paradigms @gilescolborne
  • so a friend creating amobile train ticketingapp watched users tosee how long theystood in line fortickets at rush hour. @gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/macspite/877883222/
  • He figured that they had to be able to download the app and buy before they got to the front of a ticket line. So a constraint that he had to meet.@gilescolborne http://www.flickr.com/photos/macspite/877883222/
  • Constants, parameters, numbers The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks Structure of material stocks and flows Length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes Strength of negative feedback loops Logical Strength of positive feedback loops Structure of information flow Rules of the system the logical layer is about what Power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize is information system structure Goal of the system available, to whom and what it does. You can Mindset or paradigm from which late that to the re the system arises Power to transcend paradigms content and functionality specs for a system.@gilescolborne
  • online When we redesigned the r a train ticket buying service fo ople at company, we watched pe people train stations. We saw ains that arriving, looking for tr ’t weren’t listed. They hadn ral realised there were seve ey’d gone mainline stations and th missed to the wrong one. They their trains.@gilescolborne
  • t They didn’t have the righ info. So we added clues to the buying process so they’d know which stations they were choosing. And we added maps to the print-outs, . so they’d be doubly sure in other words, we changed the spec.@gilescolborne
  • conceptual layer Constants, parameters, numbersis about ‘what is it The size of buffers and other stabilizing stockswe should bedoing?’ the scope of material stocks and flows Structureof the solution. Length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes Strength of negative feedback loops Strength of positive feedback loops Structure of information flow Rules of the system Conceptual Power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure Goal of the system Mindset or paradigm from which the system arises Power to transcend paradigms @gilescolborne
  • a when i was researching for travel-agent extranet an airline i visited travel agents big and small. People like Robin who worked in a big travel Gail on agent had strict limits web access. we’d have needed to get the it department to agree to give him access to the extranet.Robin @gilescolborne
  • edPeople like gail who work setat a small travel agentup their computers just ’show they liked. But gail edcolleagues each favour oulddifferent websites. it w Gail tobe hard to get them all adopt the site. So there was really no et. audience for the extran Robin @gilescolborne
  • Gail used But Gail and Robin bothRobin RSS feeds - getting the right airline’s info onto the ent, feeds was a more effici effective solution. of so we changed the scope the project. @gilescolborne
  • Physical refining Logical spec’ing Conceptual Scope , So now we’ve got a quick easy to use model for of figuring out what kinds for leverage points to look ject - and what kinds of pro they’ll be useful in.@gilescolborne
  • when you’re planningresearch, you can d thebrainstorm the user an ht wecontext. Ask - what mig s besee? what might the userdoing? This helps prime you for the kinds of observation you might make. Cluster these into rough timelines. @gilescolborne
  • Three types of observation Then look for actionab le observations (ones you can turn into physical constraints, logical specs or conceptual Actionable scopes). Actionable observation observations are Things you can influence. Link ‘context’context observations (thingsobservation context you can’t use, but which . observation support and add flavour Some observations will be unconnected. Now you have your leverage points. un-connected observation @gilescolborne
  • ars My expert friend had ye ed of experience which prim her about what to pay attention to. But she couldn’t explain that unconscious knowledge. ne This method helps anyo eld prime themselves for fi w research. And helps sho t you your budget holder wha might find.@gilescolborne
  • What about luck? Canwe get over the riskof bad luck? Dr.Richard Wiseman hasstudied people whoappear to be ‘lucky’and noticed that theyhave some commontraits. Dr. Richard Wiseman @gilescolborne
  • Social connectionsListen to your inner voiceTake control They develop large, stro ng can networks of friends whoExpect mistakes help them. They listen to ow their inner voice and kn eling. when they have a bad fe e They take control of th ce. things they can influen ere And they accept that th wilL be mistakes due to . so things they can’t change lves they don’t beat themse d you up. follow this advice an . can make your own luck@gilescolborne
  • Prepare like crazy - so you can wing it. conan o’brien@gilescolborne
  • Magic... or structured analysis?• Prepare by acting out the experience and the context• Ask yourself where you’d find these points of leverage• Physical constraints - good for refining• Logical requirements - good for specing• Conceptual scope - good for scope But don’t mistake your preparation for g research. You’re primin not observing. don’t let your budget holder go away thinking you have the answers. you don’t. @gilescolborne
  • keep something up yoursleeve. Tell them: wefound 23 potential dleverage points. We nee eto validate them. Becausthe point of all thisplanning is to let you go out and do it all for real. @gilescolborne
  • giles.colborne@cxpartners.co.uk @gilescolborne follow cxpartners on Slideshare.net@gilescolborne