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Weekly vocabulary: Empathic research methods, guinea pig and finger toothbrush. October 5, 2009

Posted by isaraobba in week two.

Last week on MACE class I have learned two new words and tried to invent a new word/product.

Empathic research methods: is the way to understand how users’ feelings by observing and being experienced (a guinea pig) by ourselves through various approaches of the activity. By learning, seeing, asking and trying, this human-centered method provides designer a deeper understanding of the users and learn what are their motivations in order to uncover hidden needs ( Voss and Zomerdijk, 2007 ).

In the workshop, we were assigned to be an interviewer/observer for tooth brushing activity. As a guinea pig, Amna asked me to brush my teeth and having an interview at the same time. Some of the questions were about frequency and duration of brushing, brand conscious,¬† demanding of multifunctional task of toothbrush. It was difficult to answer the questions while having a toothpaste in my mouth but I felt good to express my using habit to the interviewer. As a researcher, when I first saw Matteo not having any toothbrush and toothpaste. I hadn’t got a clue how to start an interview. But when I saw him using his index finger for tooth brushing. Without having any questions, I had come up with an idea of “finger toothbrush“. We were very excited with this idea and discussed whether it could be our real business which might made us to be a millionnaire!. HOWEVER, we were not the Columbus of finger toothbrush,¬† this product’s already in the market!…..I have to say the same with Matt…DAMN!

Apart from not becoming a millionaire, I feel that an empathy tools we had experienced in the workshop helped me to discover latent needs of users. For my next billionaire project, I would use the empathy methods as one of my research tools rather than having only a quantitative research to rely on because these kind of qualitative methods provide valuable insights. Moreover, as we move into the twenty first century, culturally and geographically diverse  resulted into an increasing of market fragmentation. These changes have forced designers to realize the important of human centered methods to understanding a fragmented market (Silver, 2008). Therefore, this could be an important tool of research and design for my creative industry business in the future.