Experience chart as a research and presentation tool for user observations supporting design students at undergraduate level

Kulaksız, Mert
The data collected through user observations can remarkably inspire and inform the early stages of the design process. User observations have the power to reveal unarticulated needs and desires of people through focusing on “what they really do” in a given situation, instead of solely relying on “what they say they do”. Conducting user observations as part of exploratory research has become a valuable skill in design profession. As the design students of today will be the design practitioners of tomorrow, this study explores the potential ways to hone design students’ skills to conduct user observations. With this regard, it focuses on the development and the assessment of a user observations toolkit to be integrated into design education. First, the toolkit, namely the Experience Chart, has been developed based on the criteria gathered from the relevant literature. Then, it was integrated into an undergraduate level of design project at Middle East Technical University, Department of Industrial Design. Finally, the evaluation of the toolkit was completed through conducting semi-structured interviews with the design students who utilized it in design education project. Based on the findings from these evaluations, the toolkit was revised and diversified. The main output of the thesis is the suggestion of the Experience Chart as a toolkit to empower undergraduate design students in their user observations. This study also provides suggestions in general how to guide design students before, during and after their user observations. 


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Citation Formats
M. Kulaksız, “Experience chart as a research and presentation tool for user observations supporting design students at undergraduate level,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.