IXD302: Week 10 Reflect

This week was all about the importance of user research. For our pitch project, it will be essential to carry out research on potential users to get their insights. This will help us find out their needs and if the product really needs to exist.

Principles and Processes of Interaction Design

I decided to read this book as it had a chapter on user research, and it will give me a better understanding of it.

They begin by saying that user research gives a more detailed look into user needs and behaviors. They compared this to other research methods such as competitor analysis and said it is more beneficial as it investigates real users.

Focus groups

These can be valuable, sometimes even more than individual interviews. It consists of getting a small group together, preferably the target audience of the product. There is then a moderated discussion prompting them to share their opinions and preferences about different aspects of the product.

I think this is a great way to discover their needs and pain points when it comes to the design. I feel that in a group setting it is more likely for people to share their opinions more honestly as they are with people who relate to them. It’s good to get different perspectives from people at the same time. However, one thing to be wary of is preventing people from being influenced by others’ opinions.



User personas are imagined users a designer will come up with themselves. I think this is a good exercise to do as it doesn’t involve spending lots of time interviewing real people. Instead, they can be used to visualise your audience which will help you become more user-focused when designing.

You can create a few to represent different groups within your target audience so you provide for all their needs. Some things which are included are, names, personal details, skills, pain points, goals, etc. I have used this method in the past and find it very useful as it gets you into the mindset of your users. It also prevents you from making assumptions about how they will use your product.



These are usually created after user personas. It involves giving a fictional user a specific task and giving their experience step by step. This gives you an insight into how people may go about using your product. They can also include their background and why they would benefit from using your product. I think these can be valuable and again, improve user experience by making you to see from the user’s point of view.


Cultural Probes

From my understanding, these are like blogs a user will create. They are “Information gathering kits that allow users to self-document a design issue”. They are used to help with your design and solve and prevent issues. They last a certain period of time, during which users may receive some guidance. They can range from a simple paper diary or a smartphone. The second option allows users to take pictures, videos and write text as part of a blog. This was the first time I have heard of something like this, so I am very intrigued.


Overall, I found this book very informative. It is useful to get different methods to user research whilst working on my current and future projects. It was interesting as I learned things I had never heard of or considered such as the cultural probes and focus groups. These are something I may consider at some point in my design career.

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