Wednesday 18th

THE PROJECT BEGINS

It has been a while since I blogged but so much has happened from The Small Society Lab, the NCR design competition 2011 and community workshops…

BUT now I am over in NID in Ahmedabad, India…so this is what this blog post is going to be about.

NCR have sponsored the MSc Product Design (MSc PD) team to gather insights into access to and use of mobile technology and the internet in India.

The use of mobile technologies and communications in India over the past 5/10 years has been prolific.  India has the world’s second largest number of mobile phone users with over 881 million as of October 2011.  Although the percentage of population that have access to the internet in any form is low there are still 40 million users who use their mobiles to access the internet.

In countries such as the UK use of the internet has started with fixed line access due to the nature of legacy copper cable infrastructure. Where in many Western countries the advent of mobile technologies was seen as an evolutionary step forward, in developing nations it could be seen as a mobile revolution, bypassing infrastructure investments other countries have made.

India does not have the same legacy issues as the UK; they can effectively leap-frog the UK and move to a much more mobile and inherently accessible mode of internet access. With countries such as India, China and those in Africa spearheading the mobile revolution companies, like NCR, are looking to them to understand how business and consumers are adopting mobile technologies and the opportunities this may create.

The team have had a day of just getting used to the environment and the have had some initial introductions with stage 4 NID product design students. It was a day of tuktuk rides, mad traffic, street life and indian culture!

The MSc PD team

 

Thursday 19th 

GETTING DATA AND INSIGHTS

Mobile insights questionnaire

One of the main aims of the trip is to gather not only insights but some tangle data on mobile habits and the internet. We want to understand who uses these service and how. One way of collecting this data is through a questionnaire. The key thing with the creation of the questionnaire is to do it collaboratively with the NID students. Doing it this way meant we were able to ask the right questions and target specific areas that we would otherwise have missed.

As ever the NID students have been great. We sent an hour in a focus group co-designing the  questionnaire. From there we were able to draft up an initial layout and test it in NID. That done we were confident we could get out on the street, speak to people, get data and insights!

The first 10 interviewees

 

Friday 20th

SERVICE JOURNEYS

The students have spent the day interviewing people about their mobile phone use and how they use the internet. It is interesting to see the cultural differences coming to light. We hope to build up some nice infographics from the data to clearly illustrate the breadth of people we connected with, consumer trends and insights.

Service Journeys

In parallel to this the team have been doing some service mapping. We have targeted areas relevant to NCR lines of business, from Banking, Retail and Travel. These help us understand the stages of a particular journey. Mapping this out not only shows us the current touch points in a particular transaction/service but also opportunities for design thinking, self-service, new interactions.

Document mapping

As a group we also need to consider the final document, we have spent time this evening developing the layout. The format is going to be in a news paper style so we have been doing some research into news papers in India to give the document some cultural founding and context. One thing is for sure is that we will not be struggling for content! The good thing with planning the layout now is that it will give me and the students focus to the insights we gather, photos we take and life we document.

Document Layout

 

Saturday 21st

STREET LIFE

Street life in Ahmedabad is LOUD, BUSY, INTENSE and DUSTY…It take some getting used to and can be quite overwhelming. I have send the day neck deep in it all. I wanted to experience first hand what it was all like as for too long on this trip I have been stuck in NID. I have been trying to document street services, self-service objects, graphics, signage and interactions.

Its can be hard to create order out of the chaos. Putting design filters on all the content out there on the street helps (well helps me anyway..)

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Anab Jain

November 18, 2010

Anab Jain at Product Design Research Dundee

The Product Design Research team met with Anab Jain yesterday. It was a good to get the opportunity to sit down with her individually and talk through our own research area and get her valued input.

Founder of Superflux and the instigator of The Power of 8 Anab has experience in interaction and service design, research, filmmaking and speculative design. Her experience in film making on various projects was particularly useful for me – thanks Anab!

Video Probes

November 12, 2010

Since my first post on Video Probes I have been developing the use of the design research method through a series of studies. The video probe is a specific time framed video response to a question. The first study was conducted with Dance Base (as previously posted). The participants were asked – “what are your perceptions of dance base?” The responses were then used to help inspire and inform the design of the connected Collection Boxes as well as gain a greater understanding of the people and place.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

The second study was conducted with MSc Ethnography students at Dundee University as part of a deeper study into self-service (more about that later). The student groups approached the probes in very different and interesting ways. Some using it more as a field work tool, others to strengthen their initial insights, others were able to communicate their insights through the probes in a very clear thought provoking way.

The groups were split to focus their field observations on different influencing factors of self-service – Interactions, Transactions, Environment, Consumers.

Their Video Probes can be viewed below

Interactions: 

Transactions: 

Environment: 

Consumers: 

We will now be using the insights from the Video Probes and other activities to inform a project that aims to gain a greater understanding of consumers in relation to self-serivce.

Video Probes

March 23, 2009

I have been developing a research technique to be used at the beginning of the design process to help understand and gain insights to users and aid in the generation of new concepts.

Video probe snap shot

Video probe snap shot

This method uses short 3 minute videos to record images, surroundings and people so the researcher can understand more about the participants perceptions of a product or space.

The Video Probe can be used on various levels.

Inspiration: Analyzing the videos to generate a range of different ideas specific to a particular design challenge. The videos help the researcher to pick out details that may otherwise have been missed.

Understanding of participant: As a designer I am engaging with people, places and communities I know nothing about. The 3 minute videos allow me to very quickly get a better understanding of the various stakeholders, the environment and challenges.

Understanding of community: As part of my research I am studying self-service products in a community environment – using the video in this way is a better method for capturing the wider community as opposed to a photograph as it shows the participants interaction in real time. The videos can be viewed through the eyes of the participant, as opposed to viewing the participant using a machine/in an environment.

Promotion: A surprising outcome of the method has been how it has also been useful for the participants. The quality was such that they have been able to use the videos created as promotional material for their business.

Use within Industry: This method is appropriate to my research as it allows me to quickly get an understanding of the people, place, and product. This method can be used within a large multi-national corporation to help us try and better understand various elements of a users experience, a users day to day activity or environment in which our product will be situated. It is a method that does not require a huge investment. The researchers time is not taken up actually recording as the video camera is left with the participant.

Some of the strengths of this activity are:

Involvement of the participant in the design process ensures a closer relationship with the researcher and therefore a better understanding and appreciation of the final solution.

Useful output: valid not just for one particular project. Ability to build up an audio and visual record of a community of people within an environment.

Ease of use: Allowing the participants to simply play with the video camera can be a fun and enlightening process. There is no pressure on the participant to suddenly become the next Steven Spielberg…a 3 minute limit (no strict restrictions on time) has been set to so they do not become overwhelmed by the thought of creating a movie.


It should be noted that the use of the probe is only as useful as the researchers ability to be able to pull out the information or ability to be inspired by what has been recorded.