Throughout methods this year, I have practiced and been taught many different methods, some I liked and will use again in the real world and next year, some I really did not like or thought were not useful at all. So I thought I’ll make this synthesis fun, and do a countdown of the top 14 methods I learned/Studied/Made-up-for-the-last-project this semester. The top 14 will be based off a few things, how useful they are/will I use them out of class, how much I enjoyed them, and if I liked the project we did in class on them or not. This is kind of for me to reflect on the methods, and think about if I will ever use them again.
Number 1: Interviews. This is number one because of how versatile it is, you can almost use it in combinations with any other method on this list, and I honestly did for a lot of them. Not only that, but Interviews in combination with other methods tended to make the other methods effectiveness double. For instance, on the diary studies, I probably got most of my information from the interview about the diary process and pages, not the diary itself. What really shows how awesome interviews are they are still number one even though the project with them was kind of a bust.
Number 2: Affinity Diagrams. These are also really useful, so useful in fact I have already used it again in the final project. I will probably use this again and again through my career, and its nice to get better at this method through this class.
Number 3: Ethnography/Field Observations. Ethnography itself is like many different methods, so this one is kind of cheating, but still, its really useful to understanding a culture. You just get so much information through this method, and learn a lot of different insights. Plus the use in the project was pretty fun actually.
Number 4: Artifact Analysis. This one got so high mainly because of how much I ended up liking this project. I’m not even completely sure why I liked it so much, I just did. The method itself I could see being useful in certain situations, but I do not really see myself personally using it in the real world unfortunately. Was one of the only artifact methods I really enjoyed.
Number 5: Body Storming. This was a really fun one as well, that I hope to get to do again sometime. The activity we did for this was awesome as well, and got me to get a better feel on the method as a whole. It’s just a neat alternative to brainstorming, and I liked it.
Number 6: Mapping. This one would have been higher on my list had we done more with it, but as it stands I don’t think I have enough of a grasp on it to put it this low. I like it because it is a really cool way to show information and find insights off them. I will probably use mapping sometime in the future even if I don’t have too, just for fun to map out a problem space or something.
Number 7: Diary studies. I was one of the few people that actually had a good subject for my project, and it made doing this method pretty fun. I also think its pretty useful for getting an account from someone’s experiences without having to follow them all day. Got a little higher due to uncertainty of getting back good data, but that’s a risk you have to take sometimes.
Number 8: Contextual Inquiry. This is a really good method and that I would use in the future if the right situation comes up, like I have to research a certain practice or something. The project was kind of fun too, I learned a lot. But as projects go, it was pretty middle of the road, not amazing, and not awful.
Number 9: Card sorting. This seems like a really interesting and very useful method. I can see me using it in the future when it comes to designing the flow/organization of a website. Reason it is so low is because the activity did not really get me connected to the method that much.
Number 10: Image Based Research. Method seemed decent, and doing the project was pretty fun. But the reason it got number 10 was because it seems to much like other ethnography that maybe more useful. To me just focusing on the picture side of it doesn’t make it a new method, its just contextual inquiry or field observations with a person focusing to much on the pictures. This is probably just me though. Again, fine method, just don’t think its for me.
Number 11: PARP, the Gopi method, and PARP 2.0. Feel a little weird putting my group’s methods before other actual methods that we learned, but I honestly had more fun doing these methods then the last three. In fact, this may be the most fun I had with a method. We also learned a lot, especially from the last method we made, which was PARP 2.0. We even devised a PARP 3.0, though we did not have time to test it. Got so low because I do not know if they will actually be good methods outside of our project, plus they are not professional methods, so they still have their problems.
Number 12: Elito. Elito, I dont hate it, but I did not like it either. Probably won’t use it again either. But I see the point I guess, plus if you don’t want to use Affinity diagrams, this is an alternative to them. Still, it was long and annoying dealing with them, and I would avoid doing them if I had the chance. Though thinking of Key metaphors was fun though.
Number 13: Genealogy and Landscape of Possessions. I just do not get why you would use this one, I just don’t. The project for this one was okay I guess, but it definitely was not one of my favorites. The method itself just kind of seems like a method that would work in so little situations that it seemed almost pointless to learn, at least to me. All the other methods I can see as building blocks to more methods, this one to me seems like a dead end.
Number 14: Probes. I do not know why I do not like probes so much. Like I understand why I don’t like them, but I really don’t know why I sometimes actually get made when thinking about them. I don’t like them because I feel like it is lost potential, it seems so awesome, just think it’s a missed opportunity just leaving the probe with them instead of staying and watching them interact with them. I also don’t like them because my team had a bad experience with them, we were all exceedingly busy over spring break, and barely got the project done. Plus our subject was exceedingly busy as well, making it even harder. It was very stressful and it felt out of our control.
Like I said, I have no clue why I do not like probes so much, I just kind of do. I may use probes in the future, but if I ever did, I would watch them interact with it. Diary studies work because they make sense to do throughout the day, because the stuff you want to see happens throughout the day. Probes just don’t need to be spread out like that.
So that was my list of the methods of this semester, and my strange probably undeserved dislike of probes. Overall, I think I learned a lot of great methods, and am glad I had to take this class. Really do think a lot of these methods are building blocks, and through the knowledge I learned in this class, I’ll mold them to fit my need the rest of my career as a designer.