This week for our assignment we focused on finding the problems. We searched for these problems through listening to the voice of others and through observation.
The IDEA Bootcamp Bootleg that we had to read laid out the steps to these processes and had some insightful information. One part I especially like was the section about focusing on human values by having empathy for the people you're designing for and getting feedback from them. Following are a few quotes I really liked:
"we need to see things with a 'new set of eyes' - tools for empathy, along with a human-centered mindset, is what gives us those new eyes."
"A deep engagement can surprise both the designer and the designee by the unanticipated insights that are revealed."
"Engage to:
• Uncover needs that people have which they may or may not be aware of
• Guide innovation efforts
• Identify the right users to design for
• Discover the emotions that guide behaviors "
We also had to read Ethnography Primer, which reiterated our focus for the week and said that "Good design always connects with people."

Next part of the assignment included 3 interviews about my subtopic, which is winter time colds.
A common theme I noticed from these interviews is that colds are annoying, especially when you have work to do. All you really want to do when you have a cold is do nothing, but sometimes life doesn't allow you to do that. Also, the lengthiness of a cold, which lasts for about 3-10 days, stretches out the symptoms and the feeling that you don't want to work or do the daily things that you need to.
I asked these 3 people what they do to treat their colds, and 2 out of the 3 referred to some sort of medicine like Nyquil or Dayquil. The other said he would rather not resort to cold medicines and so he just drinks water and tea, uses cough drops, rests, etc. This guy also said that most medicines make him drowsy and he doesn't like that. Immediately my mind went to a popular medication that focuses on helping people feel better during the day without making them drowsy:


And so I asked him if a medicine like this would work for him. He claimed it still made him drowsy. He also thinks it is expensive.
The other 2 that I interviewed said they usually used medicine. They liked the easiness of taking it. One said "It's what I've always done."

In interviewing these people, another thing came up. One girl talked about having a stuffy nose and the annoyance that it brings. She mentioned the toll her nose takes while using tissues over and over again. The guy I interviewed mentioned that when his nose is stuffy he has to breath out of his mouth and then his mouth get dry.
Adding to that, I know that when I've had a cold in the winter, I don't enjoy breathing through my mouth because then my lips get really chapped.

After these interviews I wanted to look further. The other part to this assignment is observation, and I tried to think of ways I could observe this common cold. While it isn't so easy to find people out in the world who have it that I can watch, it also isn't very wise of me to make myself have a cold. So I resorted to some posts found on Yahoo Ask. I searched "common cold" and found many entries of people asking about the common cold. Here are some phrases that seemed to come up:

..."i have had this now for 6 days......How long will it be now before i get better..
very annoying cold right now"...
"how to prevent them" ....
..."Will this strengthen my immune system? Does it shorten the length of colds?"....
...."If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for about a week. But that doesn't mean you have to be miserable".....
"doesn't want to get any of the kids sick but she wants to be
able to go take care of them"......
"I've taken 2 days to completely rest but I must return to work because I can't afford to miss anymore... how to unstuff my nose?.. "

This makes it seems that a lot of people are concerned about the length of time they will have this and their ability to function as they go to work or complete their daily tasks.

So from these insights and observations, I will say there are at least 2 needs:
1) Stuffy noses create a few problems - soreness of the nose, dryness of the mouth and lips. How can we remedy a stuffy nose without causing harm to other areas of our body? Is their an easier fix?
2)People want their colds to be over quickly. They can't wait around for 3-10 while feeling crappy. They want remedies and quick results. Because oftentimes we need to work while we have a cold, we want remedies that are also non-drowsy and that keep us awake and alert. The quicker we get our work done, the quicker we can truly rest.


"A designer should care about ethnography because it can help produce more compelling, innovative design that really connects with users - in a way that creates delight."
-Darrel Rhea, Ethnography Primer


I like that you are using citations for the things that you especially like in your blog post, I think you could make it in a bit more practical manner not just by saying “we need to see things with a 'new set of eyes'” but to see things with fresh eyes, I will try the following approach to my observations or interviews…

I think you did a good job interviewing people and asking them what they do to treat their colds, you could specify who you were interviewing and where. Did you ask any other questions? Did you ask any open-ended questions like “Could you walk me through your experience of winter time colds?”

Searching for product opportunities in Yahoo Ask website if a smart choice, it is relatively easy to do, and it is effective. One of the places I can think of in terms of making observations of people having cold might be Boyton health center, though I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to hang out there now when many students have flu.

I like the narrative you brought to this post. It flowed nicely and felt complete. And colds are a bitch.

I do like the way you explained the results of your interviews. However, as Masha said, you should have mentioned who you were interviewing. Aliases would be find, but having their background info is important to understanding their responses to the questions.

I like the idea of researching on Yahoo Ask. Perhaps Boynton would have been an interesting place to stake out. I don't know how many actually come in with their colds, but perhaps that info in itself would have been revealing.

Finally, your needs are excellent discussions of the issues raised by your research, but they aren't problem statements. I think Barry was going for the specific "XXX needs a way to _____ because _______" format. Nonetheless, I enjoyed your post and look forward to your results. It might be interesting to see if the solution isn't a medicine or way to treat the cold, but rather a way schools/workplaces can deal with ill students/workers.

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This page contains a single entry by bruex015 published on November 10, 2013 2:39 PM.

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