Reading Response for week 7

The readings this week focused more in on how you approach gathering data about the user experience.

There is a distinction between user and customer.  Cooper notes that often they are the same but a customer is the person who makes the decision to purchase the product.  A user is someone utilizing the product to accomplish a goal.

I also liked the description of the master-apprentice model of learning.  I love learning by teaching others the concept and I think I would love trying to guide a person in teaching me how to use the product while exploring its usability.

I also like the persona hypothesis.  It attempts to answer three questions: 1. What different sorts of people might use this product? 2. How might their needs and behaviors vary? 3. What ranges of behavior and types of environments need to be explored.  Essentially what is the persona of the user for this product? Who is this designed for?

The end of this chapter also notes the three phases of ethnographic interviews.  Early, Middle and Later.  While that seems rather vague, its actually quite helpful to categorize where you are in the interviewing process so you can focus your questions better.  Just another thing to remember when conducting interviews!

A final point that I hope to remember from this chapter is the ethnographic interviews are concerned first and foremost with the “why” of users and “how” they hope to achieve their goal.   The “what” is not as important.

The UX book chapter also agrees with Cooper that the best way to get information about how a user actually uses a product is to go to the user’s work place and observe them.

This chapter also gave theoretical examples which were quite nice.  I like the image of people following flashlight users around taking notes on clipboards.  (I don’t think they were that obtrusive but its possible)  I also like the image of the triumphant voting lady giving an earful of critique to the voting people. (Even if they weren’t interested in her comments)  The ticket kiosk idea was interesting as well, I wonder how much ticket sales would increase here on campus if there was a kiosk at all the major bus stops.

The UX book chapter also notes that you need to know your user, reinforcing Coopers claim as well.  It also has suggestions for preparing for your interviews similar to Cooper and reminds the interview to remain focused on their goals but also establish trust with the user.

Overall, I found Cooper to be a better run down of how to conduct an interview and the UX book was better at giving examples and scenarios.  They should write a book together.

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