Design Studies with Lauren Currie

I attended my Design Studies lecture on Thursday with Lauren Currie of Red Jotter and director of Snook. She led us through an inspirational lecture where amongst other topics she spoke about the methods of design research she used in her business and the tools associated such as: creating a Persona, Storyboarding, Journey Map, Interview, Touchpoints and templates, Future Visioning and the Rubber Chicken! I was familiar with all of the tools but The Rubber Chicken was new to me. The Rubber Chicken is exactly that and it is used as a prop. As everyone uses tools in different ways the rubber chicken can be used to help keep focussed on the human experience.Rather than focussing on a problem with a phone (for example) the rubber chicken is put in its place and the human interaction can continue to find out the real issues. It can also be a good way to engage people in a project and attract attention.

Lauren also gave us Top Tips for interviewing people. In the main I was familiar with most of the tips but I was interested to find out that it was important to avoid taking notes to help make the interview seem less official. Using a suitable design tool to engage with the interviewees would help capture the whole process. finally the most important tip was to be positive at all times!

We were given the task over lunchtime to interview members of the public. What we needed to find out was: “Who do you know that makes a difference in your community?”.  We had to design a tool to help engage the people we interviewed and record the process.

Over lunchtime I got together with Hannah, Chloe and Vanessa to discuss how to tackle interviewing people! Chloe offered up her IPad as a resource and we chatted about how we could put it to use. After some discussion we came up with an idea how we could engage members of the public and record the process at the same time. We would start off by asking the given question “Who do you know that makes a difference in your community?”, gauge responses and offer up some examples e.g. school teacher, local MP, doctor, lollipop man etc. Once the person had decided who the person was we would ask them: “If you could give that person a prize or a gift, what would you give them?”.  (we would offer prompts if necessary) Once they had decided what that person deserved we would ask the interviewee to draw the prize or gift on the IPad. We were still discussing our idea when 3 senior citizens came over to us and commented on the IPad.(what a great opportunity to start the interview). They chatted together and decided that it was a local volunteer they all knew that made a difference in their community and they would give her a medal as an award. The male in group drew a medal on the IPad! We felt the tool we had designed was going to be successful.

Over all we managed to record 7 different responses from mixed ages and genders and they all seemed to feel comfortable drawing on the IPad. I wonder if a paper and pen would have been so successful?

Responses                                 Age

Bin Man                                        Male, 20s

Local policeman                           Male, 20s

Carer                                            Male, 40s

School bus driver                         Female, teenage

Social care worker                      Male, 50s

Volunteer fundraiser                    Female, 50s

We met up for our afternoon workshop and collated our results. We discussed them with another team and identified emerging themes.  It would have been interesting to find out what the most popular emerge from the interviews were. This activity  helped me understand how this form of research is really a powerful and meaningful way to identify issues that are important to people.

Lauren took us through other activities to help us practise using design tools. I found it a useful afternoon and will definitely feel a little less inhibited when I am conducting interviews for my next assignment.

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