The UX of conversation - FIRST PART​

Oct 7 – Oct 14

Brief: Design a conversation between a human user and a machine.
Partners: Sarah, Jialing

In this project, we were asked to design a conversation between a human user and a machine. As digital interfaces are becoming dematerialised, screens are no longer used in many digital experiences. The idea behind this brief was to gain an understanding of different qualities of digital products and learn about manipulating cultural signifiers through different research methods.

As we approached the idea, we were very focused on the actual machines and the way we communicate with them. Somehow we all immediately started thinking about the way interactions with machines annoy us. We decided to go with the checkout machines that are used in most supermarkets nowadays.

The first step of our assignment was the AEIOU process, which stands for activities, environments interactions, objects and users. This is an observation technique that provides a guideline which helps us categorize the collected observations. Our idea was to record communication between shoppers and the machines. So we observed people as they checked out their purchases. At the end of the process, we also asked them to review their experience.

Working on research.

From the answers we were able to come to the following conclusions:

  • Older people get angry with the digital aspect of the machine because it confuses them.
  • Younger people get aggravated when the process takes too much time.
  • International people can experience problems with the language and paying methods.
  • People in groups are calmer because their energy is focused on the people from the group.
  • Mothers with children are usually more nervous.
  • Mood and personal characteristics affect the patience level.
  • In the rush hour, people are usually tenser as they just want to go home, while during the weekend people are more relaxed.

The next step in the process was a research method called speed dating. With the help of storyboards (a sequential art where images are arrayed together to visualise the story), this method was going to help us learn how people react to new technology while also taking into account existing contextual and social factors.

Planing our storyboards.

Based on AEIOU, we categorized people into five groups and designed multiple storyboards, where each one would help us with a problem that people were experiencing.

  • Helping older people by calling for assistance.
  • Image oriented scanning machine that would help international shoppers.
  • A machine that would make funny comments and lighten the mood.
  • An app that would allow you to scan the checked shopping list from your phone, weigh the bag and pay without scanning singular objects.