In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to conduct participatory research to explore and validate ideas for improving digital interfaces. Participants will research the library homepage of a CAVAL member institution. We will walk through the steps involved in low-fidelity idea generation, feature prioritisation, and presentation. Using digital tools to capture and analyse the ideas and artifacts as user data, participants will form insights they can report to stakeholders as interface improvement suggestions. Participants will learn when, why and how to conduct participatory research so that their design projects and organisation can benefit.
• Participants should bring a laptop for the analysis and connect to the Wi-Fi
• Participants should also bring a smartphone for data capture (audio and photo recording).
Hi! I’m Vernon. I work at Deakin University in the Digital Library and Repositories team. Welcome to the participatory research workshop. Participatory research has many syllables – henceforth I’ll say co-design! Slides are on SlideShare & DM me for a copy with notes. I’ll describe why you might use co-design, when it fits in a project lifecycle, and what it is. Then in groups you’ll create collages for a library homepage. We’ll analyse one collage, so you’ll know how to feed insights into the next phases of an improvement project. By the end, you’ll be able to use this research method with your own stakeholders, to improve your library homepage, or any digital interface.
First, why co-design? Well, designing digital library services needs an understanding of both, the demand from users needs, and the supply side’s technologies & processes. Mixing these different perspectives together in co-design can bring immediate benefits such as generating better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value; and longer-term benefits like better relationships between the library and their users.
In a project life-cycle, co-design fits in the before development stage, where the goal is exploration. What we learn from research at this early stage feeds into the next stage.
Co-design is a research method where “participants are given design elements or creative materials in order to construct their ideal experience in a concrete way that expresses what matters to them most and why.”
We’re about to start a co-design workshop so that in turn, you can try this at home. Our case for a re-design project is the library homepage. For today’s workshop, nominate a library from your group. In groups of 3, you’ll create collages to explore ideas for an awesome homepage.
It’s your library homepage. This is your opportunity to have a say in what should and shouldn’t be included.
I’ll step through 3 phases: You’ll gather elements from the stock & create any elements you want to include. We want to understand your priorities. To help with that, you’ll order your elements first to last. Briefly present your design so we understand what’s important for you.
Are you ready?
There are existing elements spread around the tables there and there [point at them]. Gather existing elements, annotate using sticky notes, pencils, sharpies, etc; and create any elements you like. Any questions before we start? … You’ve got 8 minutes. Go!
And stop! Don’t worry if you haven’t finished gathering & creating. Next, order your elements. Stick them to a backing sheet in order of importance for you. When you’re satisfied, number the elements. Any questions before we start? You’ve got 5 minutes. Go!
Okay stop! In the last phase, groups present their collage: Walk us through what you’ve included and why. [Ask permission to record the audio then start recording.] Any questions before we start? [Name], would your group go first please?
Thank you. When running your own workshops, you can now thank participants for their time. Next: Tell your participants: “A homepage beta will be created incorporating your input as much as possible.” Ask your participants: “Would you all like to be invited to beta test this new design once it’s ready?”
Now it’s time for you as the researcher to capture (the rest of) your data. I recorded your walk through presentations, and as good researchers you’ll do the same. What should you do with your audio recording? Store it; Refer to it to jog your memory – when analysing the visual; Only transcribe small parts if necessary to persuade stakeholders.
Take the collages back to your staff area and pin them up on the wall. Before that, take photos of the collages. What should you do with photos of the collages? Store it; Use it for analysing the collages.
Today I’ll ask you to share photos of your collages in our CRIG gallery. Go to this URL and submit a photo of your design. Then we can step through a demo of analysing the collages.
Let’s walk through a demo of the analysis, so you’ll be able to generate insights of user needs. For each element in your collages, you’ll need to create a digital element, and give it an Order value corresponding to the priority in the collage. You may need to adjust the Order values if your collages include compound elements. Here’s an example.
From this collage, I’ll need to create: a navigation bar element, with an Order value of 1st; a “Search tabs” element with an Order of 2nd; a search box element with an Order of 3rd.
If you haven’t already, create your Airtable account now. The Airtable views we’ll be using for analysis are only available on desktop/laptop.
The Airtable views we’ll be using for analysis are only available on desktop/laptop. You can use Airtable in your browser, or download the app.
Earlier you uploaded your photos to this template database. To follow along the analysis, you’ll need to copy this base. Go for it!
The tabs across the top are different tables in the database. Head to the Co-designs table, and browse to the record with your collage. Note the ID number for later – in this example, 31.
From the example collage, I need to create: a Navigation bar element, with an Order value of 1st. https://youtu.be/ZWsTkj3qYU0 demo video. [Click Link to a record from Elements; type a descriptive Name; click Add; choose an Order; close this box. Note: When creating elements, ignore existing ones that appear as you type a name. Always add a new one.
Next, I need to create: a “Search tabs” element with an Order of 2nd; a “Search box” element with an Order of 3rd. https://youtu.be/YZe9wYnx-Ro demo video. Repeat steps as above for all remaining elements.
Next, go to the Elements table, select the View named Co-designs – last 9 days, add another Filter where the Co-design contains [the number you noted earlier].
To classify your elements, simply drag them from the Uncategorized stack at the left to the relevant Type. Repeat for the other elements in your collage.
Switch the Filter from Co-design contains [the number you noted earlier] – to does not contain to hide the work you’ve done.
Switch back to the Co-designs table and note the ID of the next collage. Click it and add Elements [as before].
Switch to the Elements table, remove any filters except the last 9 days. Sort the View by Order First-Last.
Use the height of stacks to indicate popularity of each Element type. Read the number at the bottom of each stack to indicate Element popularity. Eg, Library Search has 15 records, whereas Link blocks has 5. To include a search box is a no-brainer, but with only 5 collages that included link blocks, consider whether these could be removed or rationalised. [Can also use the zoom setting [Ctrl +/-] to see the pattern of popular Elements types.]
Use the Order of Elements to indicate priority on page layout. If you haven’t thought about priority, your page has to work on a mobile device – linearising elements makes it easy for a designer to order them. Read the ordinals on each Element in a stack to guide the page hierarchy for wireframes and prototypes. Eg, Link blocks here ranked 4th and 6th, whereas My account was unanimously ranked 1st. People are familiar with a login function being positioned top on the page.
Share your research insights with all project stakeholders, particularly your design and development “team”, and anyone who has knowledge of previous page iterations, as well as a staff who understands the business value of each element. Use insights together with organisational knowledge, to develop wireframes, and clickable prototypes. When your new page is almost ready, publish a beta and invite your participants back to evaluate – record this feedback!
Essential tools for this co-design workshop.
Thank you for participating in my workshop. I hope it has encouraged you to use co-design in your next project.
At http://j.mp/dul2017homepagecodesignanalysis you’ll find my summarised analysis of Deakin University library homepage co-designs.
Participatory (Co-design) Workshop - CRIG 2017
TO EXPLORE AND VALIDATE A BETTER LIBRARY HOMEPAGE
DEAKIN UNIVERSITY CRICOS PROVIDER CODE: 00113B
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