Design research process is intended to help designers to make appropriate design solutions and innovations. As Sarah Doody, author of an American UX newsletter states:
“The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathise, synthesise, and glean insights that enable him or her to make the invisible visible. “ (Doody, 2016)
This means that designers use different approaches of research to create insights and furthermore implement it into design outcomes.
Our group, Green Tea Leaves went through several different research method to comes to our final solution – rebranding the UTS Underground marketplace.
How does research affect a brief?
From the start of the project, our group wasn’t certain about what we were focusing on. Until we talked to our tutor, our group chose the computer labs as our focus area, as that is the place we spent the most time in our university lifestyle as design students.
As a group, we were a bit lost on are we supposed to focus on waste in general or just food waste. As we were lost in building the brief, our tutor gave us clarification on the need to focus on food waste specifically.
We did some observation, and research then noticed that the area is not appropriate for the topic of food waste because although there are a lot of student eating food in the labs, food waste was not a major factor in the labs.
After discovering this, we then thought what area could be the best area to be focusing on and switch to an area that have the most food waste in UTS – Underground Marketplace.
Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple once said:
“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”(Young, 1988)
This quote shows that it is normal for designer to make mistakes, but it is the matter of you admitting the mistake and moving on to the better design solutions. The experience of using research in the early stages of the design can help us with admitting and realising our mistakes and avoiding wasting too much time on the mistakes.
How did research contribute with our design?
Research contributed about 50% of our project. We used a few research methods, such as shadowing, video ethnography, semi-structured interview, surveys and mapping. These research methods helped us to understand our user’s point of view and their problems with sorting waste in the rubbish sorting system.
We started with an interview to get some insight from an expert in the area, then went out to do some hands-on research. We handed out some physical surveys as well as sending them to our friends over the internet. In the end, we have total of 50 responses and about 30 responses are suggesting that there are no clear labelling and it can be confusing when they walk up to the bin. In fact, during the video ethnography, we did discovered that there were users that “froze” in front of the bin for a while to figure out where does the waste go. This gave us evidence to continue developing our project.
Bill gates, the co-founder of the Microsoft once said:
“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” (Akdeniz,2016)
This means that you must have a basic understanding of the area that you are working with and the people you are working for in order to make change and innovate. The tools of understanding this important factor are research.
Research help you understand users and their problem so you can design useful user-centred solution.
Akdeniz, C. 2106, Innovation explained, Can Akdeniz, 2016,viewed 15th June 2017, < https://books.google.com.au/books?id=1MZcCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT23&lpg=PT23&dq=%E2%80%9CI+believe+in+innovation+and+that+the+way+you+get+innovation+is+you+fund+research+and+you+learn+the+basic+facts.+%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=4NzNZLz0Ol&sig=-E8nOa3HFR3revez1lOiHqQY4Jo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj03f2V47_UAhUKUbwKHY2sBYs4ChDoAQgkMAE#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9CI%20believe%20in%20innovation%20and%20that%20the%20way%20you%20get%20innovation%20is%20you%20fund%20research%20and%20you%20learn%20the%20basic%20facts.%20%E2%80%9D&f=false>
Doody,S. 2016, UX Designer and Founder of The UX Notebook , online newsletter, viewed 15th June 2017, < http://www.theuxnotebook.com/>
Young, J., 1988, Steve jobs, The journey is the Reward, Lynx Books (November 1988), viewed 15th June 2017