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Drawing Out Your Users: Using Sketch Techniques for User Research

Workshop Presentation from UX Speakeasy's Sketchcamp San Diego on October 6th, 2012.

This presentation centers on using sketching techniques as another form of data collection for user research. The presentation covers the reasons for using sketching, some background behind origins in Psychology, and three activities which can be used during research.

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Drawing Out Your Users: Using Sketch Techniques for User Research

  1. 1. Drawing Out Your Users Using Sketch Techniques for User Research UX Speakeasy’s Sketchcamp San Diego October 6th, 2012
  2. 2. User Research… ¿Qué es eso
  3. 3. Ugly Graph Time…
  4. 4. users…pffft! User (you-zur) noun The word computer professionals use when they mean “idiot”.
  5. 5. Why I do research “ If only the people making technology actually understood those of us who use it! -- Jennifer, 31 Research Participant Qualcomm Advanced Technologies Group
  6. 6. Why Use Sketches?
  7. 7. Humans Like to Draw Stuff
  8. 8. Sketching has been a mainstay of human communication from the get go.
  9. 9. Cave Paintings – Petroglyphs – include the first recorded bad user experience…bad bird…no eat human.
  10. 10. Humans learn to communicate through drawing before they can write
  11. 11. Sketching is a form of unconscious and conscious expression; a form of social commentary
  12. 12. But Really … Why?
  13. 13. OK then… “ Drawings yield data uniquely free from many influences that distort verbal communications. The communication transmitted by them is not recognized by the subject and thus escapes the vigilance of the mind. -- G. Marian Klinget The Drawing Completion Test: A Projective Technique for the Investigation of Personality
  14. 14. Practically Speaking • Sketching during research is a rapid and straightforward way to gain deep insight into participants. • Sketching can reveal feelings, influences and interests – things that they may not come up in interview/conversational research. • Sketching provides another form of data collection that falls somewhere between asking users and watching users
  15. 15. Steal This Info: • Sketching provides emotional access • Sketching is less guarded than conversation • Sketching can narrow the participants focus to only important parts of their story • Sketching allows for a freedom of expression that may not come with conversation
  16. 16. Origins Of Sketch Research
  17. 17. Back to Psychology: • Sketch/drawing analysis is closely related to handwriting analysis. Many of the same principles are used. • Drawings are used in conjunction with handwriting analysis to develop a personality profile, or uncover information not necessarily available in handwriting alone. • Drawings when used for psychological evaluation can expose a person’s emotional state. • When used in conjunction with handwriting analysis they can either confirm a personality profile, or reveal traits not evident in the handwriting.
  18. 18. Psych 101: Introduction to Psychology Analysis of a person's drawings is a common practice used in child psychology. Tests like the House-Person-Tree test or the Draw a Person test help the psychologist gain an understanding of the child's mental and emotional state.
  19. 19. Psych 244a: Art Therapy & Research Art Therapy comes from research done in the 30s Much like Handwriting Analysis: • Thickness of lines; Curves vs. straight lines; types of strokes • Darkness and light • Aesthetic Quality • The way the page is filled • level of detail; accuracy • Proportions
  20. 20. but… “ Psychology in UX is a bunch of Horseshit. (Or something like that – I’m paraphrasing) -- Christopher Konrad Conversation on Psychology/UX September UX Speakeasy Meetup
  21. 21. Mein analysis of Davinci leads me to believe he spent hees virst years as a Fahderless Child Keep in Mind Uncle Siggy famously endeavored to analyze perhaps the greatest sketch artist of all times, Leonardo da Vinci.
  22. 22. Mein analysis of Davinci leads me to believe he spent hees virst years as a Fahderless Child Keep in Mind …he got it completely wrong. Lenny was a momma’s boy.
  23. 23. So… If Uncle Siggy can get it wrong you should: Focus on the key topics of the research rather than delving too much into interpretation. …but it doesn’t hurt to learn more about the methods!
  24. 24. Before You Start
  25. 25. Some stuff you should know: • Create a lighthearted environment • Participants have various levels of comfort with drawing • Sketching does not always bring insight • Sketching needs to be used in conjunction with other methods • Provide focus for the sketches • Provide examples before starting
  26. 26. Sketch Research Methods
  27. 27. Sketching Bad &Good • • Ask the user to draw out a bad experience for a single product/website/etc. Expand on this by having them draw a solution.
  28. 28. Now… Try It • • • • • • Exercise! Set a time limit. Draw a vertical line splitting the page. On the left draw a picture of one of your favorite experiences watching television. On the right draw one of the worst experiences watching television. Ask questions to explore emotion of events. Explore the problem and solution in conversation.
  29. 29. Sketching A Day in the Life • • • • Rapid way of gleaning some of the information you might get from journaling/diaries. Creates a quick view into a “Day in the Life”. Day in the life can be used with guerilla research like Man on the Street for rapid research. Helps to provide insight for persona creation.
  30. 30. Now… Try It Exercise! • Set a time limit. • Draw a line across the bottom and create a timeline for your average day: get up, go to work/school, lunch, sneak out of the office to watch movies, gym, go out, hang with family, go to bed. • Above the timeline draw icons for all of the tools you use to communicate with throughout the day: facebook, email, twitter, texting, calls, skype, etc. • Above that draw pictures of all of the connected devices you use to communicate. • Draw a picture of your favorite way (and how) to communicate during the day. • Ask questions for persona development.
  31. 31. Sketching Future Vision • • • • Asking users about the future can be tricky – just ask Henry Ford. This type of sketching allows for open-ended creativity. Don’t overwhelm participants with technobabble when describing the task. Be sure and set the task to the near future to make it more approachable.
  32. 32. Now… Try It Exercise! • Set a time limit. • Imagine 5 years in the future (insert your idea here) that everything in your house is connected. • (Develop the story) You are able to connect with not only your electronics, tvs, AC, oven, scale, but the house it self. • Sketch two pictures of how you see yourself interacting with (x) a connected smart house. • ProTip: When you ask for two pictures and set a time limit, you are guaranteeing that you will at least get on. If you only ask for one, they’ll spend the entire time thinking about it • Ask questions to understand the drawing
  33. 33. Takeaway giblets: • Sketching research is about the process not the actual image. • Sketching research requires you be a part of the process. • Sketching research should always be used with other research. • Start by analyzing primary focus rather than digging in.
  34. 34. Bennett King Principal UX Researcher Qualcomm R&D @skunkwUrX Bennett King
  35. 35. references • • • • • • • • • Christian Rohrer, When to Use Which User Research Methods, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox Erich Neumann, Art & the Creative Unconscious, Princeton University Press Shaun McNiff, Art-Based Research, Jessica Kingsly Publishers James Beebe, Rapid Assessment Process, Gonzaga University David R Millen, Rapid Ethnography: Time Deepening Strategies for HCI Field Research, AT&T Labs Research Alexandre Fluery, Drawing & Acting as User Experience Research Tools, Aalborg University Everglades: Family Communication User Research Project, Qualcomm Advanced Technologies Group (in conjunction with Sachs Insights) Atascadero: Ethnographic Research Project, Qualcomm Advanced Technologies Group (in conjunction with Human Centric) Shasta: Media User Research Project, Qualcomm Advanced Technologies Group (in conjunction with Spear Research)