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Design games for gathering customer insights

Donna Spencer
October 14, 2008

Design games for gathering customer insights

Would you like your design team to collaborate better? Are you looking to gather more valuable insights from your focus groups and interviews?

Design games are a fun, technology-neutral way of gathering design insights for your projects. In this presentation, Donna (Maurer) Spencer, an expert information architect, will show you how to take advantage of design games in many situations, with all types of people, including:

Design Your Ideal Page and Role Playing: Facilitates the brainstorming of design concepts and ideas
Divide-the Dollar: Prioritizes your site's features
Modified Card Sorting: Helps you create content categories and terminology

Donna Spencer

October 14, 2008
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  1. Design games Design games for Gathering Customer Insights

  2. Design games About me • Information architect & interaction designer

     Big, messy projects  Websites, intranets, business applications  9 years + • Mentor • Trainer • Writing a book about card sorting – due soon • I love having fun at work!
  3. Design games What is a design game?

  4. Design games What is a design game? A design game

    is a fun activity played by a small team and used to provide input to a design problem. Design games can involve users of a product, a project team, stakeholders, or even management. The most important aspect of design games is that they are fun! They involve play to promote creativity and idea generation. Design games are also hands-on. They are not about talking about an idea, but about creating it. As such, our insights and learning happen from the playing of the game, not talking about the issue. They provide something useful. I'm not talking about silly filling-in-time activities that you are made do at training or planning days. Design games should always provide something that you can use for a project. Design games may provide outputs like: – useful insights for a problem – prioritised lists of features – ideas for terminology – an understanding of how people think differently Design games are planned and structured. They are not just about getting people in one place to work on a design. They have a goal and are planned so that goal is met.
  5. Design games Why play design games?

  6. Design games Why play design games? Design games are fun.

    When we have fun we think better, think more practically, and can be more creative. I know that I'd rather play a design game than sit in another endless meeting talking about potential functionality or talking about a design rather than creating it. Guess what - our users & stakeholders would like to as well. Design games are a great way to get real involvement in, and commitment to, a project. When a team works together on something they create a shared space and a shared commitment. They are actively involved. When you compare that to a more common approach where one person creates something and demonstrates it to others to 'get their feedback' you can see the opportunity for dramatic difference in real involvement. Design games are also very good ways to communicate. Many of the games involve sketching, writing & drawing. These provide much clearer representations of an idea than talking about it. A team playing a design game as part of their process, or a researcher watching users playing a game, will have a clearer idea of what they actually agreed on.
  7. Design games The games

  8. Design games The games In the games that follow, there

    are three types games that have been around for a while as design games existing techniques that can easily work as a game made up for a particular purpose.
  9. Design games Games to play with users

  10. None
  11. Design games Design the box

  12. Design games Design the box Outcome Key features Who End

    users, stakeholders, design team Description Participants design the box for a new product (even one that will never be sold in a box), to identify key features and selling points for the product. On the front of the box, they should include: • The name of the product • A tagline describing the product On the back of the box, they should include: • Key features (3-5 features only) • Constraints or requirements (again, just a short list) Preparation A box (paper-covered cereal box is great) and thick markers References Using design games. Jess McMullin, Boxes and Arrows. http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/using-design-games
  13. Design games Design the home page

  14. Design games Design the home page Outcome Key features Who

    End users, stakeholders, design team Description Participants design the home page for a website, intranet or application. By doing so, they identify key features and content ideas. The idea isn’t to do the visual design or even have it look like a home page. The idea is for people to identify the main things they would like on a home page, and then make a ‘sketch’ representing the ideas. When they are finished, ask participants to explain what they have included and why. You can use the home pages to identify key content chunks and priority information – it’s surprising how easy it is to spot consistent issues and ideas. Preparation Coloured paper and markers
  15. Design games Divide the dollar Feature Amount Reason Feature 1

    Feature 2 Feature 3 Feature 4 Feature 5
  16. Design games Divide the dollar Outcome Prioritised list of features

    Who End users, stakeholders, design team Description Participants are provided with a list of features (they may have come up with them in a previous game) and $100 to ‘spend’. They distribute the money across the features according to how important those features are and explain why they have divided their money in this way. Preparation Feature list You can provide pretend money, or just tell them they have $100 points to split across the features. Reference Online version of this game: http://www.themindcanvas.com/how-it- works/research-methods/
  17. Design games Metasnap

  18. Design games Metasnap Outcome Keywords, awareness of metadata issues Who

    End users, authors, design team Description One person is the searcher and the rest are authors. Everyone describes an object with 3-5 terms. ‘Authors’ who match terms with the searcher ‘win’ points or get a prize. Preparation Cards: print run or perforated sheets Show the actual object or content instead of cards. Reference Metadata Games. Karen Loasby. http://www.slideshare.net/KarenLoasby/metadata-games
  19. Design games Metadata games

  20. Design games Metadata games Beer cooler Stubby holder Stubbie holder

    Coldie holder
  21. Design games Freelisting Dalmatian Chihuahua Miniature foxy Kelpie Great Dane

    Bulldog Sausage dog German shepherd Irish setter Greyhound Beagle Golden retriever Poodle Spoodle Cocker spaniel
  22. Design games Freelisting Outcome Keywords, terminology Who End users, design

    team Description For a particular topic, participants have to name as many of ‘x’ as they can. This is a fairly common brainstorming method. Make it fun by introducing competition between teams, a tight deadline and prizes for the most items. Very good for getting an understanding knowledge & experience of users. Preparation Almost none – just a topic you would like to explore Reference How to use free-listing to explore a domain. http://www.uzanto.com/2005/11/12/freelisting-explore-domain/
  23. Design games Freelisting Pilsener Stout Porter Lager Harvest Octoberfest Bitter

    Mild Lawnmower Heferweisen Kriek Lambic Trappist Double Tripel Russian imperial ale Ale Dark
  24. Design games Card sorting

  25. Design games Card sorting Outcome Categories and language Who Users,

    design team Description In a card sort participants create groups of content ideas in ways that make sense to them, and label the groups they generate. We can gain an idea of how they think about categories and ideas for labelling. Make this more game-like by: -Ensure the content is fun to work with -Impose a time limit or have teams compete to finish fastest Preparation Same as a normal card sort Reference Card sorting: http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/card_sorting_a_definitive_guide Photo from http://flickr.com/photos/lloydy/151733945/
  26. Design games Games for design teams

  27. Design games

  28. Design games Idea cards

  29. Design games Freelisting Audience Integrity Travel Difficult Risk Images Personality

    Impersonal Visibility Simple Identity Rigid Constraints Colour Pain Complex Repetition Listen Error Compelling Data Sunshine Quiet Familiar
  30. Design games Idea cards Outcome Generate ideas for products, features

    or a problem Who Design team Description Participants choose three cards from a deck and use the words on the cards to come generate ideas for a design issue. Cards contain a wide range of simple words such as: Audience Integrity Travel Difficult Risk Images Personality Impersonal Visibility Simplicity Identity Rigid Constraints Colour Pain Complex Repetition Listen Error Compelling Attitude Contrast Quiet Familiar The card deck can be a single deck or three separate decks (one with emotions, one with adjectives and one with challenging words) Preparation Cards: hand write index cards or print on perforated sheets.
  31. Design games Design Slam

  32. Design games Design slam Outcome Generate ideas for products, features

    or a problem Who Design team Description A design team is provided with a challenge that is similar to or identical to a current problem. They have to generate a creative solution to that problem. The tricky part – they only have a very, very small amount of time to do it. Preparation Prepare the scenario and any accompanying background material. You’ll usually need paper, markers, sticky notes etc Reference Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lopolis/434803643/
  33. Design games Reframing

  34. Design games Reframing Outcome Generate new ideas Who Design team

    Description Reframing is about looking at an existing problem in a new way. By reframing an idea, you can see new solutions for it. To make this a game rather than just an activity, the new frame could be fun or silly. e.g. You would like to sell twice the amount of product from your website. Some silly reframes: - What would Mulder & Scully do - What if we weren’t doing this on the web Preparation This is more likely to come up during a discussion than as a planned game
  35. Design games Reversal

  36. Design games Reversal Outcome Idea generation, looking at something in

    a new way Who Design team Description Ask the opposite of the question you want to ask (this can be in the form of a scenario). Use the ‘anti-answers’ to look at the problem in a different way. e.g. “How would we reduce sales?”, “how would we cause this problem?” Make this more game-like by: -make sure that the opposite questions are more extreme than you would otherwise do -Encourage fast responses & a volume of ideas Preparation Questions you want to answer, and a reversed version
  37. Design games 4Cs How can we increase sales of our

    product? Components Challenges Characteristics Characters
  38. Design games 4Cs Outcome Explore an idea Who Design team

    Description Describe the topic of interest or the question to be answered. Explore these 4 aspects of it: -Components: what are its parts -Characteristics: what does the outcome look like -Challenges: what are the key issues -Characters: who is involved You can use any letter and any 4 aspects – the idea is to look at different aspects of a problem Preparation Topic and 4 aspects to examine Reference http://www.thiagi.com/pfp/IE4H/march2004.html#StructuredSharing
  39. Design games Freaky Friday

  40. Design games Freaky Friday Outcome Empathise with team members, Generate

    new ideas Who Design team Description Instead of their usual roles, team members take on the perspective of each other to solve a design problem. To get into the role, work on a small, fun project first, then tackle the real design problem. For this to work, team members must remember to take on the role, not pick on the attributes of a particular person. Preparation Prepare the design scenario and prepare for different roles Reference ‘Freaky Friday’ is a 1976 movie where a mother and daughter switch bodies for a day.
  41. Design games Role plays

  42. Design games Role plays Outcome Explore ideas, Empathise Who Design

    team Description The design team ‘acts out’ a particular problem. They may take roles that they are comfortable with to illustrate an idea, or roles they do not know to empathise. They may do this in front of others to show how something happens now or in the future. Preparation Prepare the design scenario and prepare for different roles
  43. Design games Planning design games

  44. Design games

  45. Design games Planning

  46. Design games Planning design games Design games require careful planning

    – more than a brainstorming session, user feedback or other less creative method. The first, and most important element to planning, is to determine what outcome you want from the session, before choosing a game or activity to use. You can then select a game and approach that will help you learn what you need. Other aspects to think about before when you are thinking about how to run the game include: – How do you expect the game to run, end-to-end? – What will the rules, or constraints be? – What are the actual outputs you expect? – How will you ensure everyone is able to be involved? – Will the game be competitive? How & what happens to ‘winners’ & ‘losers’ – How will you make sure it doesn’t feel like a waste of time?
  47. Design games Planning

  48. Design games Creating new games Existing methods and activities that

    we can make more game-like include idea-generation, brainstorming and training games. To make an existing activity more game-like: - Introducing something fun or silly just to make it less serious - Add a deadline to put a bit of pressure on - Add an element of friendly competition - Award prizes You can also create games from scratch, thinking about what you would like to learn and using any of the approaches here, or something else you have done, to make up a game. The main thing is to keep it light-hearted and fun.
  49. Design games

  50. Design games Preparing instructions Then there are the practical logistics

    of getting ready for the game. A lot of this preparation involves making or assembling props, and writing instructions. Instructions should describe: – the purpose of the game – what steps people should take to work through the game – the outcome you expect (examples are great and really help participants to know what they are heading for)
  51. Design games Resources • Charette: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charrette • Game Changing: How

    You Can Transform Client Mindsets Through Play: http://www.iasummit.org/2006/conferencedescrip.htm#137 • Designing Exploratory Design Games - a framework for participation in participatory design? Eva Brandt. Proceedings Participatory Design Conference 2006. • Facilitating Collaboration through Design Games. Eva Brandt and Jörn Messeter. Proceedings Participatory Design Conference 2004. • Inspiration Card Workshops. Kim Halskov, Peter Dalsgård. DIS 2006. • Mind tools. http://www.mindtools.com/index.html • Product reaction cards. Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/usability/UEPostings/ProductReactionCards.doc • Training games: http://www.thiagi.com/games.html • http://del.icio.us/donnam/design_games
  52. Design games Questions & thanks http://maadmob.net/ +61 409-778-693 donna@maadmob.net Twitter

    etc: @maadonna New: http://designgames.com.au/