Design insights from reframing your research question

Can’t believe my master’s program here at Georgia Tech is almost done! These two years have flown by. Been a busy week already too. The CHI Student Design and Research competitions were yesterday so I was working on those over winter break. Finally figured out my courses. Now updating my portfolio with recent projects.

I had an interesting insight this morning in regards to the WIC project. I still need to think about this more, but I have realized that the focus of my project should not be on technology itself. I did user research in the fall and learned about WIC parents’ familiarity with technology, their preferences for technology, and values (such as convenience, desire to learn, and trust in content) that affected these preferences.

The goal for this semester was to focus on testing technology (mobile app, text messaging, digital kiosk, website) to see which one is most effective for delivering information about children’s development. However, I was having difficulty envisioning how to address this question through user testing. I reframed the most basic question: “What is needed in technology to track milestones”? and listed different features. I realized there was a mismatch between some technologies. I also noticed some are much more critical than others in terms of delivering basic information (e.g., “View a list of milestones” is essential, as compared to “notifications”). Others still are more critical in terms of ACTUALLY getting parents to use whatever technology (e.g., seeing example pictures of each milestone may be extremely helpful)

I am going to use the Kano method, a tool that arose from market research in order to find what features most impacted customer loyalty, to determine which features are most important.

Sometimes it really is all about taking a step back and rethinking why you’re doing research in the first place. Great insights can arise 🙂


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