Collaging: Getting Answers to the Questions You Don’t Know to Ask

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When conducting user research, we all know asking the right questions is just as important as how you ask them, but how do you even know what questions to ask? What if the discussion topic is extremely personal and private? How do you get a complete stranger to open up to you? There is a better way to conduct an in-depth interview and it doesn’t involve using a clipboard. Just imagine what you could discover if the participant’s answers weren’t limited to a predetermined set of questions.

Collaging is a needs-elicitation technique where users randomly select images to represent how they feel about a specific topic. Users then explain the reason they chose each image to the moderator. The collage becomes an instrument for participants to express the needs that they might not otherwise have been able to articulate. This information allows us to better understand the user's world and how to design for it.

This presentation will explain the history of collaging and other projective techniques, what you can learn from it, how to conduct it, and how to analyze the findings. A demonstration of a Collaging exercise will also be performed with participants from the audience!

Bio: Kyle Soucy is the founding principal of Usable Interface, an independent consulting company specializing in product usability and user-centered design. Her clients have ranged in industries from pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer to publishing powerhouses like McGraw-Hill. She has created intuitive interfaces for a variety of different products, everything from web sites to touch screen devices.

Kyle is the Founder and Past President of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association (NH UPA), she has served as the Chair of PhillyCHI, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI), and she was the local UXnet Ambassador for New Hampshire. She is very passionate about the continued growth of the usability and user experience design community.

Article: Kyle wrote an article on collaging for Smashing magazine: http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/02/06/collaging-getting-answers-questions-you-dont-know-ask/

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  • Thank you for attending. Introduce myself. Introduce Collaging. Do Demo.\n\nCollaging is a needs-elicitation technique where users randomly select images to represent how they feel about a specific topic. \n
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  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n
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  • Sometimes you don’t know the right question to ask? Sometimes you do, but don’t know how to ask it.\n\nThe images are vehicles for them to realize & articulate needs that may exist below their level of awareness. The collage is a catalyst for discussion. It’s an ice breaker.\n
  • Say nothing\n
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  • Interpretation of inkblots dates back to the 19th Century. \n\nThere are only 10 official inkblots. The test is named after its creator, Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. Method based on a book he wrote in 1921. He died the following year. Most popular projective technique in the 1960s.\n\n
  • Picture interpretation test... asked to tell as dramatic story as they can for each picture. 31 cards in the standard TAT.\n\nLearn repressed aspects of motives and personality. Developed by psychologists at Harvard in the 1930s.\n
  • Developed in 1970.\n
  • Started in 1897. Similar to Carl Jung’s word association test. Gained popularity in the 1980s.\n
  • Participants are asked to collect a set of pictures that represent their thoughts and feelings about a topic of interest.\n\nDeveloped in the 1990’s and patented in 1995 by Gerald Zaltman at the Harvard Business School.\n
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  • Provokes some strong responses.\n
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  • Zaltman began thinking about the power of using imagery in research while on vacation in Nepal in 1990. Zaltman initially planned to bring his camera but at the last minute opted to chronicle the trip by giving local residents disposable cameras and asking them to take pictures that would explain what life was like in their villages. After developing the pictures, Zaltman returned to the village to ask residents to explain, through an interpreter, the meaning of the photographs. The imagery tended to reveal ideas that would have been difficult or unacceptable to put into words. For example, the photographers often cut off people’s feet in the photographs. This was intentional. In Nepal, bare feet are a sign of poverty. Zaltman believed that because of the stigma associated with poverty, the topic likely would not have surfaced had the villages been asked to describe life in their villages using just words.\n
  • Ad agencies especially. My experience... razorfish, digitas, neiman group.\n
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  • Imagine having to talk to a complete stranger about a very sensitive topic. I have conducted card sorts with cancer patients, people dealing with chronic pain, and even with woman to discuss their menstrual cycles and birth control.\n
  • A topic that is controversial, sensitive, taboo, personal... any topic that makes it hard for someone to open up. \n
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  • It’s a very personal and revealing experience for participants.\n\nThere is so much we carry in thought that we never share.\n
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  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Create a story about how you would want the website to communicate with you... What qualities should it have? What qualities should it not have?\n\nBe aware of participants comfort level when probing.\n
  • Pictures should not be taken literally. The pictures don’t matter... it’s the discussion about the pictures that matter.\n
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  • Collaging: Getting Answers to the Questions You Don’t Know to Ask

    1. 1. ! laginng #colll a gi g #co ! ! ! ! Collaging ! ! ! Getting answers to the questions you don’t know to ask ! !Kyle Soucy ! @kylesoucyKyle Soucy | Usable Interface | @kylesoucy ! !IA Summit 2012Boston UPA Conference 2011 !
    2. 2. Facebook Users?
    3. 3. Select pictures that reflect YOURexperience with using facebook.
    4. 4. #collagingThe most valuablequestion can be theone thats notasked…it’s elicited.
    5. 5. #collaging e.li.cit: to draw or bring out or forth; educe; evokeSource: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/elicitation
    6. 6. #collaging
    7. 7. Projective Techniques
    8. 8. #collaging Rorschach TestImage source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_test
    9. 9. #collaging Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)Image source: http://www.dissentingview.net/TAT.htm
    10. 10. #collaging Kinetic Family DrawingImage source: http://www.beckbunch.com/
    11. 11. #collagingSentence Completion Tests “I like...” “I need...” “I regret...” “The future...” “I can’t...”“Sometimes...” “I secretly...” “What annoys me...”
    12. 12. #collaging Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET)Image source: http://www.ted.com/talks/morgan_spurlock_the_greatest_ted_talk_ever_sold.html
    13. 13. Common Uses in Other Fields #collaging
    14. 14. Marketing- Evaluate responses to advertisements- Identify associations between brand images and the emotions they may provoke Image source: http://ronnroxx.blogspot.com/2009/11/pepsi-twist-ad-campaign-pisses-in-your.html
    15. 15. Management- Assess achievement motivation and other drives in employees
    16. 16. Sociology- Assessing the adoption of innovation- Understanding a community’s perspective on new programs
    17. 17. CulturalAnthropology- Study cultural meaning
    18. 18. UserExperience- User requirements gathering- Better understand the user’s world and how to design for it
    19. 19. #collagingImage source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saturdave/504021983/sizes/l/in/set-72157600230137812/
    20. 20. When is this technique most useful?
    21. 21. Participant Collages
    22. 22. “That’s mydaughterconsolingme whenI’m in pain.”
    23. 23. “This is howI feel - haveto stopwork due topain.”
    24. 24. “Suicide”
    25. 25. “When I’min pain Ifeel like I’mbeingswallowedup.”
    26. 26. “Vomiting!”
    27. 27. #collaging“95% of our thoughtsand feelings areunconscious."- Gerald Zaltman
    28. 28. How to Conduct a Collaging Study
    29. 29. • Choose your topic of interest• Create a collage board and get pictures• Moderate the study (20 minutes) - Leave the room - Probe carefully• Conduct Analysis
    30. 30. #collaging Pitfall to avoid...“Disgusting” “Gross”
    31. 31. Remote Collaging
    32. 32. BuzzBack eCollageImage source: http://www.buzzback.com/how-buzzback-ecollage-works
    33. 33. Learn more...• Article: Collaging - Getting Answers To The Questions You Don’t Know To Ask by Kyle Soucy uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com• Book: How Customers Think by Gerald Zaltman• Book: Customer Intimacy by Fred Wiersema• Book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
    34. 34. Thank you.www.usableinterface.com @kylesoucy /usableinterface

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