Abstract Our learning objectives for the week are:
Describe various user research methods and explain why research is important in the UX design process.
Determine when contextual enquiry and user interviews are beneficial to the design process.
Explain the importance of synthesising research in the UX design process and develop problem statements from synthesis to inform design directions.
Develop problem statements from their synthesis to inform design directions.
When looking for a brief, client or topic to work with, I decided to pick a project that I touched upon in Week 4 (Choudhury, 2020c) of our Development Practice Module. However, instead of using 'Finding a Player' as the primary subject matter, I decided to create a rival app in the same space but with an optimised experience.
They also asked us to create a Problem statement to begin work on our UX Prototype. The brief assignment also states the module will guide us through the path of discovery, hypothesis, design and the creation of a prototype. We have to define the client's situation and use the modules to get from A-B.
Situation Loneliness isn't gendered, but men, in particular, tend to struggle to express deep feelings and maintain meaningful friendships as they get older. The average 25-year-old man contacts about 19 people per month; however, that figure continues to decline as the years go by. Men begin to switch their focus to careers, relationships and starting families.
Many of us find it easier to talk about football or politics than to admit to suffering from a low sex drive or feeling undervalued at work. We don't know who to tell these things to or how to say them, so we gloss over the heavy stuff. This can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and hamper the ability to form strong emotional connections with others.
Contemporary cultural figures such as Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson (Rogan, 2018) have filled the fraternal vacuum with rigorous examinations of the male psyche and spread their scripture through various platforms. They are attempting to start conversations that most men find difficult.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified male loneliness (Ismail, 2020), but we weren't good at talking to each other or asking for help even before lockdown. A loneliness pandemic is a simultaneous threat (Sweet, 2020).
A study by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar (David-Barrett et al., 2015) gives examples of how male friendships are more likely to flourish in groups, whereas women favour one-to-one interactions. Robin Dunbar asserts that "what held up [male] friendships was doing stuff together – going to a football match, going to the pub for a drink, playing five-a-side. They had to make an effort. It was a very striking sex difference." Male relationships seem to thrive in shared experiences
After years of neglecting male friendships, how do you make male friends in your thirties and forties? How can you find a new group of friends or even just one?
The best way I could think of to do this was to create an app that takes the awkwardness out of IRL friend requests based on the theory that it takes fifty hours of shared experiences with another person for a friendship to form. This app will help users instigate close friendships. It will allow users to generate the 50 hours (Hellman, 2018) of shared experiences, taking users from that first awkward 'hello" to a point where they will feel comfortable enough to discuss other things beyond girls and football.
Problem statement How might we prevent male loneliness and help men generate fifty hours of shared experiences to form close bonds?
Choudhury, N. (2020c). Module 1 - GDD710. [online] docs.akanoodles.com. Available at: https://docs.akanoodles.com/ux-playbook/gdd710#week-4-rapid-ideation-12-10-2020 [Accessed 6 Feb. 2021].
David-Barrett, T., Rotkirch, A., Carney, J., Behncke Izquierdo, I., Krems, J.A., Townley, D., McDaniell, E., Byrne-Smith, A. and Dunbar, R.I.M. (2015). Women Favour Dyadic Relationships, but Men Prefer Clubs: Cross-Cultural Evidence from Social Networking. PLOS ONE, 10(3), p.e0118329.
Hellman, R. (2018). How to make friends? Study reveals time it takes. [online] The University of Kansas. Available at: https://news.ku.edu/2018/03/06/study-reveals-number-hours-it-takes-make-friend [Accessed 22 Aug. 2019].
Ismail, A. (2020). COVID-19 Is Forcing Men to Confront Loneliness. [online] Slate Magazine. Available at: https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/04/coronavirus-male-loneliness-friendship-man-up.html [Accessed 6 Feb. 2021].
Rogan, J. (2018). Joe Rogan Experience #1208 - Jordan Peterson. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://youtu.be/vIeFt88Hm8s [Accessed 6 Feb. 2021].
Sweet, J. (2020). The Loneliness Pandemic. [online] Harvard Magazine. Available at: https://harvardmagazine.com/2021/01/feature-the-loneliness-pandemic [Accessed 6 Feb. 2021].
A decade ago, the buzz around data was picking up. The writing was on the wall: Data would transform how we all live and work. Big data was hailed as the new Gold Rush (Peters, 2012), and today there's no doubt that data, small, medium and Big Data has opened up new ways of doing business.
However, for most companies, data governance and management is an issue. Most lack standard practices to capture, extract, clean, and visualise data in ways that lead to useful insights. Cultural barriers prevent them from developing the right mind-set and capabilities to adopt new technologies or agree on an approach.
When confronted with a new dilemma or opportunity, their instinct is usually to dive in without familiarising with the problem first.
For example, BSI wanted me to help improve their assessment and testing processes by creating a Client Portal. The platform's creation would optimise client service operations by logging all communication, securely storing documents, and allowing multiple 'Safety Managers' to support clients rather than through a single point of contact. However, I wanted to make sure we were solving the right problem.
They understood that things weren't right, and they needed a platform, but they didn't know what features it should have, why and how this platform could be scaled to integrate different operations.
BSI was good at throwing money at projects but didn't throw the cash at projects that returned on that investment or became locked into solutions that didn't allow them to pivot.
We also only had three project supporters and one at board-level. So we needed to get buy-in and produce something that could be deployed company-wide.
I decided to survey around 155 executives using the Indeemo diary study platform. I chose the Indeemo platform as it was mobile, scalable, and remote and allowed data collection in a non-invasive manner.
Participants were invited to an introductory session to go over:
The project aims and reason for this research
Key dates for contact and follow up.
Contact details of the main researchers involved for any questions
An example entry to use as best practice
A list of questions that each diary entry should cover
A clear explanation of minimum entry expectations, e.g. at least two entries per week
The session was used to highlight the benefits of diary studies entries and to demonstrate how valuable the data was to us. We also didn't want it to seem like a chore that would impact their daily routine and remove the excuse of being too busy.
We also conducted consumer interviews with users at various parts of the service funnel. (Within compliance, 'awaiting assessment' and 'post-certification.)
With the user interview data and anecdotal diary data, we had enough information to create a service blueprint. Plotting the cases on a massive chart and connecting them to the supporting technology, touch-points, governance areas, and various departments.
By setting them up this way, we were able to guide policy and enhance operations. They were able to allocate time and resources to the areas that proved more profitable to the business, making the role of data in user experience design invaluable.
Regardless of what we did next, we set a framework to implement projects beyond this current project.
Peters, B. (2012). The Big Data Gold Rush. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bradpeters/2012/06/21/the-big-data-gold-rush/?sh=4531269eb247.