Empathy Mapping: The First Step in Design Thinking
Summary: Visualizing user attitudes and behaviors in an empathy map helps UX teams align on a deep understanding of end users. The mapping process also reveals any holes in existing user data. As UX professionals, it is our job to advocate on behalf of the user. However, in order to do it, not only must we deeply understand our users, but we must also help our colleagues understand them and prioritize their needs. Empathy maps, widely used throughout agile and design communities, are a powerful, fundamental tool for accomplishing both. Definition: An empathy map is a collaborative visualization used to articulate what we know about a particular type of user. It externalizes knowledge about users in order to 1) create a shared understanding of user needs, and 2) aid in decision making.
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User Research & Psychology
Why you don't need a representative sample in your user research
Sooner or later when you present your design research findings, someone will question your sample’s demographic representativeness. "How can you possibly understand our audience of thousands by speaking with just 5, or even 25, people?", you'll be asked. "How can you ensure that such a small sample is representative of the larger population?" This question is based on the assumption that demographic representativeness is an important characteristic of design research. But this assumption is wrong for four reasons. The first two reasons are practical: Representative samples require lots of participants. Representative samples are difficult to achieve in an agile development environment. And the second two reasons are methodological: Representative samples stifle innovation. Representative samples reduce your chances of finding usability problems that affect a small number of users.
Cognitive Systems Engineering: Matching versus Shaping Expectations
This has typically meant that a fundamental role for human factors has been to make sure that system designers are aware of computational limitations (e.g., perceptual thresholds, working memory capacity, potential violations of classical logic due to reliance on heuristics) and expectations (e.g., population stereotypes, mental models) that bound human performance.
It is important to note that these limitations have generally been validated with a wealth of scientific research. Thus, it is important that these limitations be considered by designers. It is important to design information systems so that relevant information is perceptually salient, so that working memory is not over-taxed, and so that expectations and population stereotypes are not violated.
Long Term Memory: Touchscreen Interaction
As we have new experiences and learn new things, we store away information for recall at a later date. Information is first stored in our short-term memory for easy access and is then consolidated and stored in our long-term memory. It is used to store our knowledge, compare new information with old information, and keep track of the order in which things happen. Because of this, when a new product is introduced on the market, if it is designed in such a way that allows people to relate it to the way we use another product, it has a greater chance of being accepted.