Thursday, January 27, 2011

Response to Readings

The Changing Role of Research by Christopher Ireland describes the importance of knowing the audience that you are designing for. In the USA there highly diverse group of people with different desires, beliefs and diverse specific needs. As a designer is important to understand the people, their cultures, belief systems and therefore one must be an observant and identify. Christopher Ireland after working in various packaging, product launches and advertisements he discover that he love to hear from people that used his products he summarize "qualitative design research" by listening, watching and experiencing the user lives. When Christopher was placed in the task in redesigning audiotapes for Disney. He paid careful attention to each of the women, considered their lifestyle and personality by asking realistic and "what if" questions. This approach obtained a greater result than the traditional focus groups approach, which is a gathering of 10-12 consumers who are led in a tightly scripted discussion by a trained moderator usually for about 2 hours.

Ethnography and Critical Design Practice by Tim Plowman who is a trained anthropologist, someone that studies human behavior-how people experience and make sense of what they themselves and others do. Culture are the practices, artifacts, sensibilities and ideas that constitute and inform our everyday lives. We shape culture through behaviors, feelings, thoughts, ways of doing, communicating, and understanding all things. Situatedness multiple ways people consume and integrate designed artifacts into their lives through interaction (use and embodiment) and through their experience creates understanding. One way to engage with the artifact is through use. Designed artifacts are "materialized ideologies" and is through attracting attention (hailing), compelling individuals to generate meaning (interpretation) and behave in a specific relation to designed artifacts. Bronislaw Malinowski, phrase "the imponderabilia of actual life" he referred that one needs to know their audience or "ordinary people" and understand and study their behavior. Through ethnography involves studying and learning about a person or a relatively small group of people. Ethnographic accounts are both scientifically descriptive and interpretive. Descriptive because they are supposed to capture as much as detail as possible, crucial to testing and developing theories. Interpretative because an enthographer must determine the significance of the detail in a relative narrow scope she observes without necessarily gathering broad or statistical information. There was an illustration describe various research tools used when conducting academic ethnography. The primary tools that are used during commercial ethnography are : videotaping and photography, artifacts and material culture collection, local model and representation collection, passive observation and participant observation. The importance of studying beyond applies not only to graphic designers but also industrial design, companies are more willing to spend money in these areas of study because it will be more successful in targeting the audience.

Design for Interaction: Design Research

Dan Saffer explains that if more money and time will be spent in design research: observing, talking to and making artifacts with customers and users many products and services will greatly improved. Design research is the act of investigating, through various means. Design use various research methods like silent observation to an active play, through these activities the designer will obtain information about the subjects and their environment. Designer also understands the emotional, cultural and aesthetic context that the product or service will exist in. PD (participatory design) when the users are invited through the design process for research purposes.
Most of the design research is qualitative not quantitive, because qualitative research is concerned more with the how and why questions. Quantitive deals more with data and statistics.
Design research is important because it can be especially helpful if the product contains features and functionality that are for specific types of users and also it gives the designer empathy for the users.

Brenda Laurel explains that design research is essential for looking for patterns. Through the research the designer can also get inspired and creativity. The first step in design research is to identify one's own biases and beliefs about the subject of study and to "hang them at the door." Framing questions carefully identify the audiences, contexts and research methods.

Remember that knowledge is power, by identifying the deepest needs of our times.

Rick E. Robinson, anthropologist outlined three basic rules for design research:
1. You go to them, designers need observe the subject's environment where activities are performed.
2. Talk to them: designers ask their subjects to tell their own stories in their own manner.
3. You write stuff down. The human memory is faulty. What they hear and see they need to write immediately.

What not to do, in the reading it talks about creating a focus group. It is also not to rely on the research of others unless they are in your design team. Designers need to take their own research notes don't rely on a video tape or transcript to capture what needs to be remember.

Ethical research: 1. Designers should tell the subject that he or she is conducting research study and explain the purpose, preferably in writing. 2. Explain the risk and benefits: the designer may hear or see something that the subject doesn't want him to.3. Respect the subject's privacy: blur photographs and never use subject's real names. 4. Pay subject for their time: people's time is very valuable. 5. If asked to provide data than designers should respect these requests.

Patterns and Phenomena: the main things a designer looks for are patterns and unique phenomena.
Patterns: can be patterns of behavior, patterns in stories, patterns of responses, to questions any action or idea that keeps reoccurring.
Phenomena: unusual behaviors are also important and even methods of working, can suggest directions that will benefit large number of people in their work.

Field Notes
Writing down observations and key phrases is essential.
-Exact quotes with indications of emphasis and tone
-Sketches of the location, annotated with comments and detail.
-History, steps and context of any activities.

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