In the last months, I conducted a few usability studies and upon reflecting on these I decided to share my experience as it might be helpful to anyone starting on usability. This article attemps at summarizing my experience and thoughts on usability experiments.
When trying to start a usability study or experiment, the practitioner or researcher must answer some initial questions about their future work.
Regarding your research, in general, the most important question to answer is “What is my motivation or why I am doing it?”. In a few words, as a researcher, you must not only formulate your research question but also, its answer.
Research methods are here to help you create and solve a new question on usability, user experience and also, on human-computer interaction.
User experience (UX) is a field within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that studies the whole experience of a user with a product, system, or service. UX focuses on issues such as usability, ergonomics, cognitive load, and affective experiences. However, in the last years, there is a particular growing interest in understanding users’ motivation to use a product, system, or service. This interest is spawned by observable low engagement rates: it is not enough to have a useful system, one needs to also motivate and engage users in it. One possible solution to this comes from a field of study is called gamification or gameful design1, because its main inspiration comes from understanding the factors that make games fun and motivate people to play them voluntarily with so much engagement. Continue reading
Almost two decades ago I saw in the arcades the futuristic fighting game “Rise of the Robots”. As a youngster I was imagining what the future of computing and robotics could be. The game ended up not being that great, regardless of that it wasn’t visually very realistic, but instead, it relied on the gameplay and partly on the player’s imagination for the immersion. Hence, around this time, I was dreaming of tablets (from Star Trek) and completely autonomous robots that would help us with everyday tasks (like terminators, without the killing part of course and maybe the Jetson’s robots?).
Yet the future was not exactly what I was expecting. After all this experimentation and technological progress, it seems that people hyped with Chatbots (or chatterbots) instead! Continue reading
I recently received a set of Khandu cards after backing a Kickstarter. These cards are designed by a company called Seven Thinkers, their aim is to get kids thinking like designers early in life. I was interested immediately on reading about them, since part of my research focus is on the idea of design decks. I’ll have a paper published at CHI ’16 on the topic, and I’m working on another paper that will hopefully be accepted soon.
The fictional characters of Khandu
Design decks are decks of cards that help us work through a design process. These cards work well, because they mix up the lessons that a novice designer needs to learn in order to be a successful designer. In this post, I’ll discuss the format of the Khandu cards, and what I see as the value for novice designers.
The Khandu cards are based on a fictional world where the Khandus live. The Khandus are visible on cards, and some of their problems are described in the challenges. The cards are broken up into several decks. Each comes in a bag with names printed on them for storage. The decks are themed: challenges, people, tools, and actions. The Tool cards are further subdivided into 4 decks: prototyping – materials, prototyping, ideation, and inspiration.