CHI 2007 Advance Program: Session Details

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Qualitative Research Methods (Experience Reports)

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM


Pottering: A design-oriented investigation

Susan P. Wyche
Alex Taylor
Joseph "Jofish" Kaye

In this paper we examine a ubiquitous yet overlooked aspect of home-life, pottering. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pottering as “To occupy oneself in an ineffectual or trifling way; to work or act in a feeble or desultory manner; to trifle, to dabble.” It is thus a term used to describe a variety of activities but none in particular. Below we attempt to give shape to the practice of pottering, and in doing so aim to demonstrate its value in exploring how technology should manifest itself in the home. We also report on our experiences of using design sketching as an analytical resource.


Learning Observation Skills by Making Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Juan Pablo Hourcade
Olga Garcia
Keith Perry

In this report we describe our experience conducting a class activity where students learned and practiced observation skills. In the activity, students in small groups observed and were observed making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The groups then used their observations to sketch designs for a peanut butter and jelly maker that they presented to the class. We found that the activity helped students learn about the difficulties involved in observing and being observed. It also taught them about the value of observing users, even if they are performing tasks familiar to the observer. Having international students in the class brought an additional perspective to the activity which benefited everyone. These students discussed the difficulty of observing experts conduct tasks that are unfamiliar to the observer. In spite of the overall positive outcome, we discuss ways of improving the activity given our experience.


How to look beyond what users say they want

Younghee Jung
Akseli Anttila

This paper shares our experience with a strategic design project for defining the key user experience scenarios in utilizing location information available on mobile devices. While the domain area has been known both in industry and academia alike for many years, our stakeholders wanted to know what would be the most appealing user experiences in the coming years, particularly beyond what is expected and available in the market right now. Therefore the confidence in understanding user needs and desires was considered crucial in the project. We pursued two main tracks of design research activities to bring insights on the current users’ perceptions, needs and wants (contextual interviews) as well as implicit wishes and aspirations (exploration probes and creative workshop) we should fulfill when designing location aware solutions. We describe our rationales of how we designed the design research process, and compare the results of the two tracks.


Common & Particular Needs: A Challenge to Participatory Design

Rachel Bellamy
John Richards
John Thomas
Thomas Erickson
Wendy A. Kellogg
Rhonda Rosenbaum
Jonathan Brezin
Cal Swart

In this paper we argue that participatory design projects that appear to lead to a successful technical solution may appear less successful when viewed from the perspectives of: how well the solution will support evolving work practices, or how well the solution supports the particular and contextual tasks of individuals. We illustrate these issues with a design story in which a risk and compliance visualization is designed to support controllers who monitor IBM’s controls process. To address the issues we raise, we conclude by reframing the participatory design problem as the design, education and socialization of end-user programming.