As well as being an idea for an approach to hackathons this is:A product to gather information from a group of users &present the collected data to hackathon attendees
NYCHack For: Hackathon OrganizersEating my own dog food:
Methods for gathering data:Free Form Interview Email List of QuestionsGive out form with paperand penStructured list of interviewquestions + notesTested with: Saha & Noelle Tested with: Ian Tested with: Noel Tested with: Noel & JeremyPros:-Natural & Conversational-Interviewer needsPros:-Structured-Digital Data-Flexible time demandsPros:-Structured-Flexible time demands-No technology needed foruserPros:-Structured-Can be ﬂexible with followup / new questions if neededCons:-Interviewer needs to be wellenough versed to ask theright questions-No StructureCons:-Burden of need to be concise-Can be put off indeﬁnitely-No interaction betweeninterviewer / intervieweeCons:-Burden of need to beconcise-Analog data-Can be put off indeﬁnitelyCons:-Taking notes on the computeris tricky and seems like you aredistractedResult:Good but labour intensiveand unstructured ;/Result:Still awaiting response :(Result:Refused by test subject!Result:Good but labour intensive ;/Some hastily A->B tested methods done on site at NYC Big Apps
Resulted in:Notes..I think the end form for this data is most likely to be a series of notes that could be assigned toa central list of questions.Cases where I tried to get people to write answers in their own words failed & transcribedconversations probably would have too much data.Notes are good because they are in summary form, but bad because not in persons voice.I kinda wanted to create a sense of the people being hacked for so there would be aconnection between hacker and personality of user.
Initial Conclusions:Further exploration is probably warranted, but it could be hard to make an effective ‘selfservice’ digital tool for gathering the data from peopleWould need to be quite compelling interface, or people clearly incentivized to participate.Still good if possible because can achieve more scale.So maybe coming up with a good digital interface for gathering the info is the main productchallenge.Interviews are going to gather more useful data but its going to be quite labour intensive anddependent on a central organizer.
Other Observations:Subject Matter Experts / Reps from Community OrganisationsFrom talking to Noelle from the EDC, Noel for Big Apps, and Jeremy for Code for America itbecame clear that information about people & their needs rarely comes directly from thepeople to the planners / organisers.Conclusions are typically presented by reps from organizations who work closely with thegroups in question, or subject matter experts.Practically speaking it seems important for this product to allow room for input from experts /reps as a way to summarise problems for user groups that have already been identiﬁed.Archetypal UsersJeremy mentioned the idea of ‘Archetypal Users’ - identifying people from the research group(or fabricating them by generalizing some observed trends) who are a good representation ofthe likely product user.Highlighting users like this in detail as a way to summarize bulk research might be a goodpractical way to present information.