// UX Studio Practices // Week 2 & 3 — The UX of Conversation
Brief: Design a conversation between a human user and machine
Members: Amber Lau, Felix Kirk, Tsz Hoi Lee, Lijun Li
The project is required to use 2 research methods: AEIOU and Speed Dating. AEIOU is an easy mnemonic for guiding and coding observations (Hanington and Martin, 2012). Speed Dating is a tool where designers illustrate initial ideas (scenarios) into storyboards, then test them with targeted people to get their instant feedback and comments. It is also a method to discover any unnoticed factors before moving to the next stage.
Observation Research — A.E.I.O.U
Location: Apple Store, Microsoft Store, Boots, Pub
Before the observation was conducted, our team had a discussion about the affective labour behaviour happened between staffs and customers. We highlighted two points where:
- Staffs is acting differently from their inner thoughts to customers; and
- There are difficulties in identifying customers’ needs and expectation (whether they want staff approach to them or not)
Based on the above points, we decided to go different retail stores to conduct our observation.
Findings (Interesting Point)
One of the interesting points our team discovered was the way people interact with the products during their shopping experience. In Apple Store and Microsoft Store, people tend to play around with the items that are near them, i.e. iPhone, laptops, other gadgets etc. In Boots, people would think and stand in front of the items, then collect multiple items to do comparisons.
All of us felt interested with the interaction between the customers and products happened in Boots, therefore we decided to follow this direction.
Each one of us thought of ways to optimise the in-store shopping experience in Boots, and drew the following storyboards:
In terms of the ones I drew (stickman), I got inspired by the article Design Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination (Costanza-Chock, 2018). When I was brainstorming, I thought about the minority and disability people, and include them as part of the target user.
Tutorial & Comments
Our team had a very good conversation with our tutors. We noticed we were being too limit on our design thinking when designing a conversation. Majority of our ideas were depend on the technology itself, i.e. device and scanner. We only focused on the word “machine”, without having a deep thought on what a machine can really be like.
Our tutor gave us a good reminder on not to make things more complicated than they need to be. The interesting point we found between people comparing products might not necessary a “problem” at all.
As soon as we realised that we had gone in the wrong direction, we went through our AEIOU sheets again. This time, we did some extending thinking based on customers’ behaviour occurred during the observations.
From the behaviour of “having comparison between products”, our team made a mind-map focus on the topic of Choice Making.
During the thinking process, we noticed people tend to have conversations within their mind before having a final decision. So instead of creating a conversation with the society, our team decided to change our focus to having conversation with ourselves.
Discovery from Daily Routine Exercise
With the new focus on making decision with ourselves, we tried to think back the decision we made in our daily lives. Each of us made a flow chart of our daily routine. We wrote down parts where we had to make decisions and added reasonings next to it.
As we went through our charts, we discovered that the decisions we made are depend on our emotional and rational thinking. Rationality is commonly believed as the key to decision making and should exclude emotion. (March, 1958; Kahneman and Tversky, 1979) However, on a research done by (Li, Ashkanasy and Ahlstrom, 2013), they claimed that emotion does impact decisions and is essential to decision making.
Based on the above factors, our team decided to do some speed dating with the general public, to see how they would react in different scenarios.
We first wrote down a list of choice making scenarios that people might encounter in their lives, then selected the most possibles ones and created storyboards. We had a clear aim on finding the most related situation in the speed dating section, then recreate that scene with the “machine”.
We tested these storyboards with more than 20 people, including 3 people from our class. (We didn’t take photos of other participants due to privacy reasons)
The feedback we received was a bit different from what we expected. We found that not everyone can related to certain situations, and when that happened, there was no conversation with themselves at all. They could only relate to situations they have experienced before.
After learning about the situation that would happen from speed dating, we decided not to focus on a specific scenario.
Our outcome is a machine that asks people questions (machine 1). From asking questions, this can encourage people to have a conversation with themselves and reflect (machine 2).
The questions raised will start off with some basic questions, such as “What time did you get up?”, “What did you have for breakfast?”. It will then follow by some corresponding questions according to people’s answer, for example “Why did you get up at 8 this morning?”.
The aim of this is machine is to let people reflect and get to know more about themselves on the reasonings they have when making decisions. On a deeper level, we would like them to know that sometimes emotion does take place on decision making when they are facing uncertainty.
We have tested this idea with 2 people, including one of our teammates. Below is a video that demonstrates how the machine works with human:
On presentation day, our team invited a volunteer and did a live demonstration. Although the answers weren’t given as smooth as the video shown above, the audience still got to see how the machine guided people to think (This was supposed to be a private conversation between the machine and human, but the volunteer had to do it in front of the crowd).
During the discussion, we heard several comments about how the machine did help people to reflect on things they decided without paying any attention. Sometimes questioning can also be a guide for people to rethink about whether the decisions they made were the best choice of all, and if not, what could have been done next?.
One of the interesting comments we heard was about how the machine reminded them the scene where kids constantly asking adults questions with “Why? Why? Why?”, and how those questions did let the adults reflect along the way. That‘s actually the same principle to our machine. For children who haven’t been to the society for that long, they don’t have the complex logical thinking as adults did, that’s why they would keep asking questions, and at certain point would let adults to reflect themselves.
This project allows me to experience two types of research methods — AEIOU, and speed dating.
Using the AEIOU method helped me to observe and record things with different aspects. It also allowed our teammates to gather points within the same format at different places. Not only it made it easier do comparison with several places, that was also a convenient format to review points at later times.
In terms of speed dating, I thought it is a useful tool to test out ideas quickly. The interaction of visualising our idea to target audience and receive their instant feedback has helped us to know what’s work, and what’s not. What’s more is that we got to hear their opinions directly. This part was very important to us, as it helped us revised some of the assumptions we thought that would happen. Although I had difficulty on illustrating ideas into storyboards, I still found everything worth it.
Costanza-Chock, S. (2018). Design Justice, A.I., and Escape from the Matrix of Domination. Journal of Design and Science.
Hanington, B. and Martin, B. (2012). Universal methods of design. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, pp.14, 366.
Kahneman, D. and Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Econometrica, 47(2), pp.263–292.
Li, Y., Ashkanasy, N. and Ahlstrom, D. (2013). The rationality of emotions: A hybrid process model of decision-making under uncertainty. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 31(1), pp.293–308.
March, J. G. (1958). A behavioral theory of decision making. Personnel Administration, 21(3), pp.8–10.