A very interesting take on why it is important to observe and do design research
It is easy to miss something that you are not looking for.
Thumb texting, Covering the mouth and phone while talking (Baboon’s face), Digital Juggling are all gestural habits and rituals that we have developed with the rise of cellphones. Curious Rituals has done some interesting research on digital gestures and then imagined the evolution of these in a ‘design fiction’ video.
Thoughtless Acts – how people sub-consciously form habits and rituals.
A small clip from the amazing film ‘The social life of small urban spaces’ by William H Whyte, about the ritual of moving chairs around.
Given these five words, write down or say the first word that comes to your mind.
It is interesting how we make associations with visuals. A youngster now does not know what the floppy is, but associates it with ‘Save’.
The truck graphics and idol on dashboard are two very overt example of cultural markers seen on the street.
What do these visuals say about the culture of our times?
An interesting contrast between two navigation solutions – one for the US (by absolute directions) and the other for India (by landmarks).
The contents of the purse/bag of a person usually throws up interesting personal markers.
What does the belt tell you about its user? What does the keyboard tell you about its user? Wear patterns reveal a lot about the usage.
A reflection exercise - When was the last time a product made you go ‘Wow’? What about it made you go ‘wow’? Can we observe and identify such delight factors for other people?
Not really frustrating, but an endearing video of an elderly couple trying to figure out how the computer camera works.
In India, workarounds or instances of ‘jugaad’ are very easily found in various situations.
People used workarounds like bread-ties and binder-clips to manage the handling and identification of multiple cords. The visual at the bottom is that of Wi-jo (or Wire Jockey), which is a product created for this need.
The Embrace Baby Warmer was made keeping in view multiple constraints – financial (affordability), environmental (lack of good healthcare facilities nearby, lack of constant supply of electricity) and social (not having the necessary education or awareness about healthcare or related decision making)
Two photos of health camps conducted in rural areas. They are either conducted in primary schools or in somebody’s home. What possible constraints can you think of if you have to build a mobile/computer based app for these camps?
Making the leap from observation to understanding. Observation only shows you the tell-tale signs. But when you know the ‘why’ behind it, that understanding leads you to an insight. The insight can be an unspoken need (workarounds and pain points usually lead to unspoken needs), an opportunity, an understanding of mental models (how people think and behave) etc.
The 5-Why’s is a good way to make the leap from observation to insight.
Sometimes observations have to be put together to uncover an insight. What’s the insight here?
What’s the insight here? 2 cultural markers indicative of our times are put together.